These things are a bit daunting the first few times that they happen - so don't be overly alarmed! The folks here can help you to work through many of them without any great fuss.
This is a very long post - so just take your time reading through it and jot down any questions that you might have. Then, when done with the entire thing, write back with any questions you have.
First tho' - was there any file name mentioned with the STOP error? (BTW - you did a very good job at getting the right info for the error message, must have some "geek" blood in you!
Here's a link to a page that has a picture of the Blue Screen and some notations to show you what I'm asking about: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/40108/how-to-use-event-viewer/
OK, so now let's address your issues:
1) Hard drive space - how much do you have free? It's recommended that you have 15 to 20% free space on all of your drives.
2) Update the BIOS - don't worry about this yet. It's one of the last things that I recommend doing - and it's usually noticeable because it'll happen the very next reboot after adding new hardware. But, we can walk you through this also - just not right now.
3) Video Adapter - it's what your monitor plugs into in the back of the computer. Typically, with Dells, this is built into the computer. It gets a bit complex changing it - but it's not that hard to do. Will require buying/borrowing a video adapter (aka video card, display adapter, etc)
4) Damaged RAM - a very real possibility - check out Dngrsone's link to MemTest, read the instructions carefully, then make the floppy disk and run the program according to the directions. The test should run for a minimum of 2 hours (but overnight is best). Let us know if you find any errors listed in the report.
This is most likely if you don't have a good surge suppressor on your computer (not just a power strip) or if it's not working correctly. Do you have a surge suppressor?
5) Damaged device driver - that's the little man that sits inside your computer and does all the IRQ steering
(a bit of geek humor here!) Did you hit him on the head with a hammer?
Seriously, here's a short lecture on system crashes. Nearly all of the crashes that result in the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) are cause by hardware issues (some say all of them are). But, not all the issues are broken hardware. Most often it's problems with the programs that tell the devices how to communicate with Windows and other devices. This program is called a "driver" because it tells the hardware which direction to send the signals.
This is also the easiest thing to fix - it just takes a bit of troubleshooting to figure out which one of the drivers to fix (and how to fix it). That's why I asked about the file name way back in the beginning - it'll give us more info on where we should be looking. The article that ThorXP cites gives a good example of a driver that's caused this error.
So, you've done very well in letting us know what's happened and have provided enough information to get started. A part of most BSOD's is a section that says something to the effect that "if this is the first time this has happened, shutdown and restart the system". That's because the system shut off "before" the damage could be done.
So, you can continue to run the computer without fear of damage. If it continues to occur - then we've gotta fix it! Let us know the results of the questions that were asked - and any questions that you might have - and we can proceed from there!
Edited by usasma, 26 July 2006 - 11:38 AM.