BlSoD), is one of three things:
The black screen of death has been present in all versions of OS/2.
In Windows 3.x the black screen of death is the behaviour that occurred when a DOS application failed to execute properly. It was often known to occur in connection with attempting certain operations while networking drivers were resident in memory. (Most commonly, but not exclusively, it was seen while the Novell NetWare client for DOS, NETX, was loaded.)
The system would switch the display to text mode, but would display nothing, leaving the user looking at an entirely black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper left corner. At this point, the user could do nothing but perform a cold reboot to get the system running normally again.
According to Wallace McClure of ASP.net, the phrase was originally coined in the summer of 1991 by Ed Brown, a technician with Coca-Cola Company's IT department in Atlanta, GA. He reports that the company was rolling out Windows 3.0 within the Global Marketing group and when the users would attempt to run WordPerfect, they would randomly receive a BlSOD.
Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP, and the official release of Windows Vista also display a Black Screen of Death when the operating system cannot boot. This is usually due to a missing file. Often the user must reinstall Windows. If the missing file is critical to the boot process, however, more often than not the boot screen will inform the user of the missing file.
In other cases, the black screen of death was replaced with the Blue Screen of Death.
A black screen can also be caused by display driver problems, or selecting a mode that the monitor cannot display, though this may result in a warning on the monitor, or even in damage to a CRT monitor if it is not protected against excessive scan rate.
The "TRAP screen" contains a dump of the processor registers and stack, and information about the version of the operating system and the actual processor exception that was triggered.
The screen is displayed by the "hard error daemon" process, which handles hard errors from all other processes. Technically, the screen is a "VIO pop-up" screen. All processes (except the one that has incurred the error, any that also incur hard errors whilst the first error is being displayed, and any that themselves wish to display a "VIO pop-up" screen) continue to run, and the system continues to operate as normal. The hard error daemon uses a VIO pop-up when either the system has been booted into text mode or the hard error has occurred in a process running in a full-screen session.
The "pop-up screen" contains information about the processor exception that was triggered and the identity of the process.
The user is prompted for the action to be taken, and may choose
When a game crashes while it is loading, a black screen with text such as "An error has occurred, the disc may be dirty or damaged" may appear. This can be seen in Need For Speed Underground 2 if a race fails to load or Madden NFL 06 fails to load a match.