Lean Contingency Planning For Lean Operations – IT and the BSOD

Coincidentally, we are having a first hand experience with the Blue Screen of Death or BSOD with one of our laptops today.  The completely unexpected critical system error that renders Windows completely helpless.  If this isn’t on your list of IT concerns, it should be.

In our case the error appears to be video related – driver or card.  Most IT specialists know how to deal with these types of errors but for the average user, the message that appears is enough to make you sweat.  If the system can’t fix the error, you may very well end up staring at a Black Screen – just as we are.

How is it that we were still able to produce this POST?  Well, we are currently executing our contingency plan and using another system that is operated independently.  Most companies back up their data to prevent or minimize loss.  Another concern that is often overlooked is accessibility to that back up data in the event the system goes down.

What have we learned?

We are not the first to experience this problem.  We did a Google search using some brief terms such as “Computer Black Screen”, “Laptop Black Screen”, and we even Googled parts of the error message that appeared on the screen.  The result?  Thousands of people have experienced this same error.

The point of this post is to demonstrate that you do not have to re-invent the wheel to determine potential solutions or to discover problems that may occur.  Quite likely, they may already have happened and solutions are already developed and available.

There are two probable solutions to our video issue:

  1. Update the video device driver (Free)
  2. Replace the video card (Cost $)

Hopefully, the first solution is the answer to our problem.  Video cards are not sitting on our shelf and the downtime may be extended if we can’t find something locally.

It is noteworthy that we have not yet identified the root cause of this failure.  We haven’t loaded any new software or experienced problems in recent history.  This may be the topic for a future problem solving post.

Regardless of the outcome of our present dilemma, we have learned that it is a good idea to keep device drivers up to date.  As a planned activity, this may prevent some of you from having to experience the BSOD as we have today.

The loss incurred for this event is more than just the cost to repair.  This computer may be down for a few days.  How much is the down time worth?  Unless we play out the scenarios that may threaten or pose a risk to our business, we may never have the opportunity to prepare for the event until it actually happens.

Keep an open mind and use the resources available to you to help solve the problem.  In some cases a simple Google search could confirm your concern in a matter of seconds.

Until Next Time – STAY Lean!

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2 thoughts on “Lean Contingency Planning For Lean Operations – IT and the BSOD”

  1. a.) Google is the number one problem solution. There generally is no problem that you could have on your own. The best example is when using excel with vba. There is always someone who had a similar problem, all you have to do is adapt it to your cause.

    b.) a general problem with lean contingency planning is the urge to anticipate which can, in the case of IT-software, lead to further problems. Compatibility of new drivers with old ones is not always given and can lead to further complications. A root cause analysis of the problem should be to ask why has the blue screen of death appeard when it had? what were the last modifications? I always like the 5-why approach for lean problem solving.

    Interesting blog!!
    rgrds from Germany

    1. As a follow up, we determined that the video card was “cooked” and we replaced it with a new one. As these cards can be expensive, we even considered buying a new laptop altogether.

      We have learned that some laptops are prone to excessive heat build up. Considering that this card lives directly under the keyboard tray, it’s not surprising to learn that this could eventually happen.

      After replacing the video card, we also elevated the computer on a slight angle to assure that air could flow freely from the underside of the laptop.

      As John Doe pointed out, the real problem wasn’t the Blue Screen of Death, the real problem is deeper than the resulting effect.

      When we replaced the card, we noted the internal hardware was clean. The computer was not subject to any “upgrades” that would have affected or altered the performance of the hardware or software environment.

      As this laptop traveled a lot, the flow of air may have been impeded depending on the location of use. It is important to note where the computer ventilation ports are and to ensure that adequate clearance is provided so as to not restrict the flow of air through them.

      We have subsequently placed the computer on a slightly inclined frame that allows adequate air to flow around the computer itself. Oddly enough, we found this slight incline made typing easier as well.

      Although our mission wasn’t to address the ergonomics of using a laptop, it helps to offset the pain of the expense incurred to purchase the video card. One supplier, no third party substitutes or equivalents. This may be something to consider the next time we purchase a system.

      The laptop itself is running fine and remains cool to the touch.

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