Official term for blue screen of death
Wikipedia gives the official name in the Windows NT family as a Stop error, and as "bug checks" in development documentation, and that:
BSoDs have been present in all Windows-based operating systems since Windows 3.1.
Wikipedia also claims without citation:
The term "Blue Screen of Death" originated during OS/2 pre-release development activities at Lattice Inc, the makers of an early Windows and OS/2 C compiler. During porting of Lattice's other tools, developers encountered the stop screen when null pointers were dereferenced either in application code or when unexpectedly passed into system API calls. During reviews of progress and feedback to IBM Austin, the developers described the stop screen as the Blue Screen of Death to denote the screen and the finality of the experience.
blue screen of death
The OED has the phrase "blue screen of death" from 1994, but I found an example from 10 October 1993 in Usenet:
After a successful installation, I proceeded to add TCP/IP, FTP server,
and Services for Macintosh. NTAS would reach the login dialog, then
die the blue screen death. After some experimentation, I determined
that Services for Macintosh was conflicting with the 3COM Elnk16
The only remaining problem is--NT still locks up the machine at exactly
the same point. The only difference is that I don't get the blue screen
of death--NT just freezes.
Dave Taylor, "NT Patch--doesn't fix Services for Macintosh", comp.os.ms-windows.nt.setup
The first version of Windows NT was released in July 1993.
The blue screen of death is often abbreviated to BSoD (or BSOD).
But before Windows had the blue screen of death, BSoD referred to the black screen of death. The earliest Windows BSoD I found is from 7 Sep 1993 in bit.listserv.novell, by Douglas Scott
Subject: Re: Windows and the "Black Screen O' Death":
Start Windows run a few windows apps, start a dos shell and Black Screen
of death often results. (Text mode screen with flashing cursor in top
left.) In particular if Word for Windows 2.0a is run and a file opened
then command.com run BSOD is guaranteed.
black screen of death
And black screen of death goes back to at least the 12 April 1993 issue of Infoworld (p.102, Notes From the Field) by Robert X. Cringely:
Headline: "If you ask nicely, Barney and Ray will cure your Black Screen of Death"
The kids in Redmond last week finally acknowledged to me the existence of the Black Screen of Death, which afflicts networked PCs runnig Windows 3.1.
So one company's panacea could be another's nightmare, causing more problems even than the Black Screen.
With Win 3.1 so pervasive, Microsoft's problem has become everyone's problem, which explains why at least one NetWare was able to get a Black Screen of Death fix from Novell.