[Ads-l] Antedating of "blue screen of death"

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 10 13:18:45 UTC 2014

blue screen of death (OED: January 1994)

10 October 1993, Usenet, Dave Taylor, "NT Patch--doesn't fix Services for
Macintosh", comp.os.ms-windows.nt.setup:

After a successful installation, I proceeded to add TCP/IP, FTP server, and
Services for Macintosh. NTAS would reach the login dialog, then die the
blue screen death. After some experimentation, I determined that Services
for Macintosh was conflicting with the 3COM Elnk16 ethernet card.


The only remaining problem is--NT still locks up the machine at exactly the
same point. The only difference is that I don't get the blue screen of
death--NT just freezes.



BSoD (not in OED)

The blue screen of death is often abbreviated to BSoD (or BSOD).

But before Windows had the blue screen of death, BSoD referred to the black
screen of death. The earliest Windows BSoD I found is from 7 Sep 1993 in
bit.listserv.novell, by Douglas Scott (subject: Re: Windows and the "Black
Screen O' Death"):

Start Windows run a few windows apps, start a dos shell and Black Screen of
death often results. (Text mode screen with flashing cursor in top left.)
In particular if Word for Windows 2.0a is run and a file opened then
command.com run BSOD is guaranteed.



black screen of death (not in OED)

And black screen of death goes back to at least the 12 April 1993 issue of
Infoworld (p.102, Notes From the Field) by Robert X. Cringely (via Google

Headline: "If you ask nicely, Barney and Ray will cure your Black Screen of

The kids in Redmond last week finally acknowledged to me the existence of
the Black Screen of Death, which afflicts networked PCs runnig Windows 3.1.

So one company's panacea could be another's nightmare, causing more
problems even than the Black Screen.

With Win 3.1 so pervasive, Microsoft's problem has become everyone's
problem, which explains why at least one NetWare was able to get a Black
Screen of Death fix from Novell.



The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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