New tool lets you crash from Windows into Linux via a Blue Screen of Death

Penguin flying a plane holding placard with BSoD

The Blue Screen of Death is so-called because it means that a critical error has occurred andy our current session in Windows has died. Ordinarily, this would necessitate -- at the very least -- a restart, but a new project highlighted by the makers of tiny11 could means that you have the option of crashing into Linux instead.

The project is known as BugCheck2Linux and it is a neat little software hack. It makes use of a software driver that can bee used to fire up RISC V emulator running Linux using a BugCheck callback. Could this be the solution to all of your Windows problems?

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The short answer is, sadly, no. At least for now. While the project is an extremely interesting on, and demonstrates a fabulous way to manipulate a feature -- in this case the bug check that follows a crash -- to do something that goes far beyond what was originally intended.  

The developer behind BugCheck2Linux, NSG650, offers up a very brief description of the project: "Windows crashed? Dropping you into a linux shell!".

Going on to explain a little about how it all works, they say:

We simply register a BugCheck callback. The callback function runs a tiny RISC V emulator running linux.

For the video output we use bootvid.dll and for input we have a horrible simple polling based PS/2 keyboard driver.

NTDEV, best known for the ultra-lightweight tiny11, shared the project on X:

At the moment there are numerous limitations that make the BugCheck2Linux project a curiosity (albeit an extremely interesting one with some potential) rather than a silver bullet for crashes. The developers share this list:

  • No ANSI escape sequences supported.
  • Runs at 640x480 with 16 colors.
  • Only works on BIOS systems.
  • Is really slow at times.
  • Keyboard support is poor. You will have to use CapsLock instead of Shift if you want to access special letters or capital letters. Oh also Backspace does not work.

You can find out more about the BugCheck2Linux project here.

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