This Blue Screen of Death error occurs when a critical background process for Windows or hardware stops working. This critical process can be a driver or the system files on which Windows or hardware relies.
The most common cause of this issue is corrupted system files. When third-party programs are installed, they can make changes to your protected system files and registry files. As a result, they can terminate a critical background process, which can lead to this issue.
If you recently plugged in a new hardware device, it is possible that the Windows update utility installed an incompatible driver for that device, which has stopped the driver or device from functioning, leading to this issue.
1. Run System File Checker and CHDSK command
Most Windows processes rely on system files, so if they are corrupted, they cannot run the critical process, resulting in this BSOD error. To fix the corrupted files, you can run System File Checker (SFC), a command line utility that scans the system files and replaces them with the corrupted ones.
Following this, we recommend you run CHDSK, a command-line utility that scans and fixes disk errors.
Note: If your Windows is booting normally, you can apply the following instructions using the command prompt in Windows, but if it’s not booting, then you can use Windows Recovery Environment to access the command prompt.
- To do so, completely turn off your system and press the Power button to turn it on.
- Once you see a Windows logo or starting Windows logo on your screen, press the power button again.
- Repeat this process three times in a row to trigger the Automatic Repair.
- Once it is finished loading, click Advanced Options.
- Click Troubleshoot > Advanced Options.
- Select Command Prompt. Wait for your computer to restart.
- After restarting, the command prompt will open. Enter the following commands one by one.
sfc /scannow chkdsk c:
- Wait for the commands to execute.
- Then, close the command prompt and turn off your computer, then turn it on back to see if it helps. If it did not fix the issue, try the next method.
2. Boot Windows in Safe Mode
A Safe Mode is a troubleshooting method that enables users to boot Windows without third-party services and drivers. Safe Mode starts Windows with a minimum of drivers and services that Windows requires to run and boot properly. Hence, if there is an incompatible or corrupted driver causing this issue, it will get disabled when you boot Windows in safe mode.
To boot Windows in safe mode from the Window Recovery Environment:
- Turn off your computer if it’s on.
- Power on your computer and wait for the Windows logo.
- Once you see a Windows logo, turn off your computer.
- Repeat this process three times to get the Windows Recovery Environment Window.
- Click Advanced Options > Troubleshoot > Advanced Options.
- Select Startup Settings, then wait for your computer to restart.
- After restarting, press 4 or F4 to boot Windows in safe mode.
- Once your Windows is booted successfully, use your system for several minutes and check whether the BSOD error reappears.
- If it does not appear, then most probably there is a driver problem causing this issue.
3. Roll Back the drivers
If you didn’t encounter the BSOD error in safe mode, it would be a driver that is incompatible or corrupted causing this issue. Sometimes, we don’t update the driver manually, but the built-in Windows update utility does. So it is possible that Windows Update installed an incompatible or corrupted driver, causing this BSOD error.
To ensure that, you need to find out which driver gets updated or when. Once you find out the date and time, you can guess which driver is causing the issue.
If the date of your updated driver was around when you started to encounter this problem, then that driver is likely the culprit of this BSOD error.
Follow these steps to check the list of drivers updated through the Windows update utility. However, if you recently updated any device driver manually and you are facing this BSOD issue after updating that driver, you can roll back to the older version by skipping the following instructions to the 4th step.
Note: If you cannot boot in normal mode, access the safe mode as mentioned in 2nd method.
- Press the Windows key and type Check for updates.
- Open the Windows update settings and click Update History.
- Expand the Driver Updates and check which drivers got updated recently. Once you find out the driver, you can revert it. However, it is possible that the driver’s name is not mentioned in the update history. In this case, you can analyze the minidump file to find a corrupted driver causing this issue.
- To roll back the driver, right-click the Start Menu and select Device Manager to open it.
- Right-click the updated driver and go to Properties.
- Go to Driver from the top and click Roll Back Driver.
- Select any reason and click Yes to roll back to the older version.
- Once done, check if the Critical Process Died BSOD error is fixed.
4. Use a System Restore utility
The System Restore utility was created to avoid issues due to corrupted drivers and registry files. It creates a restore point and saves the current state into it so that users can restore that version whenever they want.
If your system has an incompatible driver or corrupted system files that have not been repaired when you used SFC or CHDSK, restoring Windows to a previous state will fix your issue.
Since the System Restore utility requires a restore point, you cannot use it without a restore point which should be created when everything was working fine. If you didn’t manually create a restore point, it is still worth it to check, as it can be created by Windows programs and third-party software automatically.
- Turn on your system and wait for the Windows logo.
- Once you see a Windows logo, press the power button to turn off your computer.
- Repeat this process until you see the preparing automatic repair Window.
- Once the automatic repair fails to repair it, click Advanced Options.
- Then, click Troubleshoot > Advanced Options.
- Select the System Restore option.
- Wait for the computer to restart.
- Once the System Restore is opened, tick Choose a different restore point if the recommended restore point is selected by default, then click Next. Otherwise, just click Next.
- Select a restore point and then click Next.
- Click Finish to start the restore process. Your computer will restart when it’s done.
5. Hardware Troubleshooting
Since we have tried all the methods from a software side and none of the methods worked, it means there is a hardware problem on your computer causing this BSOD error to occur. To verify, you can try a fresh install of Windows. However, many users have already tried it to no avail, so we recommend you do common hardware troubleshooting with your system before trying to reinstall Windows.
6. Disconnect Peripheral Devices
This BSOD error can also occur if any device that you have connected recently cannot communicate with the computer due to a driver problem. In this case, it is recommended to disconnect all peripheral devices except the mouse and keyboard. If the BSOD is fixed, that means the device that you disconnected had a faulty driver installed on Windows or it has a hardware problem causing this issue. If it is not fixed, move on to the next hardware troubleshooting method.
7. Check RAM and Hard drives
When it comes to hardware troubleshooting, it is always advisable to start with your RAM, as in most cases, faulty RAM causes most of the BSOD errors. Hence, try testing all of your RAM. To do so, remove all of your RAM and connect them one by one until you find a faulty one. If your all RAMs are properly working and not causing this issue, then remove all hard drives except for the Windows drive. If both RAM and hard drives are not causing this issue, then check the dedicated video card or graphics card.
8. Boot Windows without Video Card
If your CPU has an integrated Graphics card, you can test your Video Card. Simply remove your dedicated one and connect your graphics card cable to your motherboard. Then, power on your computer and use it for some time to check if the BSOD error occurs or not.
If the BSOD error occurs, then the Graphics card is not causing this issue. Now it’s time to test your Power supply.
9. Test the Power Supply
To test your power supply, you need a power supply tester tool which is available on Amazon at a very low price. If you don’t want to test it, then you should take your system to a computer repair shop. If the Power Supply is OK, that means the problem is either with the motherboard or CPU.