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Red Screen of Death

Red Screen of Death definition

The Red Screen of Death refers to a full-screen error message that mostly appears on certain versions of Microsoft Vista, PlayStation, and ATI graphics cards. It's similar to the more familiar 'Blue Screen of Death' that Windows users encounter when the system crashes due to critical errors.

See also: computer system

Systems that use the Red Screen of Death

  • Early Windows Vista builds. Red Screen of Death was seen in specific early builds of Windows Vista to signal critical hardware or bootloader errors.
  • PlayStation. Users of PlayStation consoles, including the PS2 and PS3, reported encountering the red screen under different conditions. On the PS2, it often indicated a problem reading the disc. On the PS3, it typically signaled a severe system error.
  • ATI graphics cards. Users of ATI (now AMD) graphics cards reported encountering red screens under certain crash conditions. This wasn't an official Red Screen of Death designation by the ATI/AMD but was colloquially termed as such by the user community.

The color of the error screen does not always indicate a standardized type of error across all platforms. A red screen in early Windows Vista builds indicated a specific kind of critical error, but a red screen on a PlayStation console signified a different sort of problem. The key is to refer to the platform's documentation or user community for guidance on error screens.