This manual contains details about what might be causing the problem and how to fix the CRITICAL PROCESS DIED error in Windows 10 (the error may also appear as CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED on the blue screen in versions of Windows 10 to 1703).
The dreaded blue screen of death, infamous as BSOD, can ruin your day. There are more than 500 BSOD error codes, but the Critical Process Died Stop code is causing the most attention. BSODs are much less common in Windows 10 than in previous versions of the OS, but when they happen it is annoying, especially on the day off when you decide to play. The Critical Process ERROR, which stops unexpectedly, is responsible for most BSODs. You will recognize this by seeing the error code 0x000000EF on the blue crash screen.
Reasons for the error
In most cases, the cause of the CRITICAL PROCESS DIED error is device drivers – in cases where Windows 10 uses the drivers from the Update Center and original manufacturer drivers are required, as well as other incorrect drivers.
Other options also happen with everyone – for example, show the CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED blue screen can be encountered after running programs to clean up unnecessary files and the Windows registry, if there are malicious programs on the computer and if the OS system files are damaged.
How to fix CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED error
If you receive an error message immediately when you turn on the computer or log into Windows 10, first go into safe mode. You can do this in various ways, including when the system does not boot, for more on this in the Windows 10 Safe Mode manual . Also, using a clean boot of Windows 10 can temporarily help get rid of the CRITICAL PROCESS DIED error and take steps to completely resolve it.
Fixes if you can log in to Windows 10 in normal or safe mode
First of all, we’ll look at ways that can help in a situation where Windows login is possible. I recommend you starting by viewing the saved memory dumps option the system automatically creates during critical failures (unfortunately, this is not happen always, sometimes the automatic creation of memory dumps is disabled.
For analysis, it is convenient to use the free BlueScreenView program, available for download on the developer page http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html (download links are at the bottom of the page).
In a very simplified version, for novice users, the analysis may look like this:
- Launch BlueScreenView
- Look at the .sys files (usually they are needed, although hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe may be on the list), which will appear at the top of the table in the bottom panel of the program with a non-empty second column “Address In Stack”.
- Using an Internet search, find out what the .sys file is and what driver it represents.
Note: you can also try using the free program WhoCrashed, which can provide the exact name of the driver that caused the error.
If steps 1-3 were successful, then all that remains is to solve the problem with the identified driver, usually this is one of the following options:
- Download the driver file from the official website of the manufacturer of the laptop or motherboard (for PC) and install it.
- Roll back the driver if it was recently updated (in the device manager, right-click on the device – “Properties” – “Driver” tab – “Roll back” button).
- Disable the device in the device manager, if it is not critical to work.
Additional repair methods that may help in this scenario:
- Manual installation of all official drivers (important: some users mistakenly believe that if the device manager reports that the driver does not need to be updated and “the device is working fine”, then everything is in order. This is often not the case. Official drivers are taken from the site of the manufacturer of your equipment : for example, we don’t download Realtek audio drivers from Realtek, but from the site of the motherboard manufacturer for your model or from the site of the laptop manufacturer if you have a laptop).
- Use recovery points if they are available and if the error has not been felt recently. See Windows 10 recovery points .
- Scan your computer for malware (even if you have a good antivirus), for example, using AdwCleaner or other malware removal tools.
- Perform a Windows 10 system file integrity check .
How to fix CRITICAL PROCESS DIED error if Windows 10 does not start
A more complicated option is when a blue screen with an error appears even before entering Windows 10 without the ability to run special boot options and safe mode (if this is possible, then you can use the previous solution methods in safe mode).
Note: if after several unsuccessful downloads you open the recovery environment menu, then you do not need to create a bootable USB flash drive or disk, as described below. You can use the recovery tools from this menu, including – resetting the system in the “Advanced Settings” section.
Here you will need to create a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10 (or a recovery disk) on another computer (the bit capacity of the system on the drive must match the bit capacity of the installed system on the problem computer) and boot from it, for example, using the Boot Menu. Further, the procedure will be as follows (example for downloading from the installation flash drive):
- On the first screen of the installer, click “Next”, and on the second, lower left – “System Restore”
- Now click “Select action” menu that show up, go to “Troubleshooting” (may be called “Advanced Settings”).
- If available, try using system restore points (System Restore).
- If they are missing, try opening the command prompt and checking the integrity of system files using sfc / scannow (how to do this from the recovery environment, see the article How to check the integrity of Windows 10 system files for details ).
Perform a clean boot
A clean boot is a startup mode that uses a minimal number of drivers, processes, and programs. After starting your computer, you can start loading the missing processes in an attempt to isolate the problem. To start a clean boot of Windows, follow the step-by-step instructions below or refer to the complete guide .
- Open the Windows search bar.
- Type System Configuration and press Enter.
- Click the Services tab.
- Check the box next to Do not display Microsoft services.
- Click Disable All .
- Select the ” Startup” tab .
- Click Open Task Manager.
- In the Startup tab, turn off all items.
- Reboot the computer.
You can try to updating the BIOS version of your computer. Unfortunately, there is no standardized method for this; it depends on the manufacturer of your computer. See your motherboard or laptop manufacturer’s manual for recommendations. You can also see an example of how I updated the BIOS of the computer motherboard .
Reinstalling the Windows system: If none of the above tips corrected your problem, then reinstalling Windows 10 is, as always, the best solution.
Additional solutions to the problem
If at the moment no methods help to fix the error, among the remaining options:
- Reset Windows 10 (you can save data). If the error appears after entering the system, then the reset can be performed by pressing the power button shown on the lock screen, then holding Shift – Restart. The recovery environment menu will open, select “Troubleshooting” – “Restore the computer to its original state.” Additional options – How to reset Windows 10 or automatically reinstall the OS .
- If the problem occurs after using programs to clean the registry or the like, try restoring the Windows 10 registry .
In the absence of a solution, I can only recommend trying to recall what preceded the error, identify patterns and try to somehow undo the actions that led to the problem, and if this is not possible, install the system again. Here the instruction Installing Windows 10 from a USB flash drive can help
Hopefully now the blue screen of How to fix Critical Process Died Error in Windows 10 death won’t reappear on your Windows10 computer. If you encounter a problem, please ask in the comments.