How to make a fake blue screen

Written by sherry snider
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How to make a fake blue screen
(Screenshots by Sherry Snider)

The dreaded "Blue Screen of Death" happens to the best of us, usually at the worst of times. At the best of times, though, it can be a great practical joke or special effect. With simple image editing software, making a fake blue screen is quick and easy.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Create a new image with standard screen dimensions. For an accurate use as a practical joke, check the computer's display settings for full screen dimensions. Standard dimensions are 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x720, 1280x768 or 1440x900.

    How to make a fake blue screen
  2. 2

    Set the background colour to blue screen blue. If you want to use RGB settings, use R-0, G-0, B-192 as a good estimate. If you want to experiment with other shades, search Google Images for blue-screen examples. You can then sample the blue colour with the eyedropper tool to set the background colour. Examples may range from R-4, G-2, B-172 to R-0, G-0, B-132.

    How to make a fake blue screen
  3. 3

    Use an ASCII text font in white to add text to your fake blue screen. Depending on the size of your background, you'll want to adjust the font size to correlate. If you don't already have an ASCII text font, free downloads are available online. (See "Additional Resources," below.) A short, generic blue-screen message, like those used in Microsoft Windows operating systems, may read: "A fatal exception 0E has occurred at 0048:C00688F8 in VxD VMM(01) + 000029F8. The current application will be terminated. * Press any key to terminate the application. * Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart your computer. You will lose any unsaved information in all applications. Press any key to continue." Longer messages can include much more technical jargon. Search online for sample blue-screen images for additional text ideas.

    How to make a fake blue screen
  4. 4

    Save your fake blue screen as a .jpg or .bmp for a broad spectrum of use in practical jokes.

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