Perform this simple modification, which works in both 9x and NT, 2000 and XP, and you'll never see a blue-screen-of-death again.

  1. Open $windir/system.ini in notepad
    (notepad %windir%/system.ini)
  2. To the section [386Enh], add the lines
  3. Save and reboot
  4. Enjoy your new green-screen-of-death

Valid entries for both MessageBackColor and MessageTextColor are:

Colour  : Dark/Bright
Black   :    0/8 (Black/Dark Gray)
Blue    :    1/9
Green   :    2/A
Cyan    :    3/B
Red     :    4/C
Magenta :    5/D
Yellow  :    6/E
White   :    7/F (Light Gray/White)
Depending on your graphics card, the 'bright' colours, when used as backgrounds, may instead appear as 'dark' colours, with blinking text.

While this feature is often joked about, it actually serves a purpose: people with certain forms of visual impairment are able to use Windows only when it is set to high contrast mode. This setting allows the blue-screens to be set to high contrast colours as well, making it easier for the visually impaired to read. Microsoft operating systems since windows 3.x have supported this modification, and it's likely that this feature will remain in Windows as long as it displays blue screens.

I cite:
'Customising windows 95 for people with disabilities', Microsoft (
'Color Values for MessageBackColor and MessageTextColor Setting', Microsoft (;en-us;90740)