How to Fix ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ BSoD Error?

Pretty much everyone who has ever used Windows on a computer is familiar with the Blue Screen of Death, also known as BSoD. This is a STOP error and part of the operating system.

critical-process-died-error-fix

If a fatal system error occurs, you are likely to get a BSoD. The main reason behind this is to tell the user what caused the problem. In this way, they can try the correct fixes.

BSoD causes include bad drivers, poorly written software, corrupted storage, overclocking, or faulty memory.

What Exactly is CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED error?

The ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ error is a type of Window 10 BSoD. This means a program essential to Windows being able to run has something wrong with it.

Critical Process Died Error
Critical Process Died BSoD Error

In older Windows versions, the error was attached to the code 0x000000EF, which is one of more than five hundred different known Blue Screen of Death codes!

Getting the ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ error when using Windows 10 means a BSoD with an error message saying something like: the computer had a problem and must restart.

It will also say something like: we will collect information about the error then restart.

The problem with this is that the PC is more likely than not to restart with the same Blue Screen of Death!

WHAT CAUSES THE ‘CRITICAL PROCESS DIED’ ERROR?

This issue arises if unauthorized access is attempted to the data of a critical Windows component during startup.

If Windows has this type of modification, it will kill the process right away. This results in the Critical Process Died error and the blue screen.

Most of the time, perhaps 9 times out of 10, the error is a result of a bad driver. If you installed or updated one of your drivers recently (maybe for a printer, sound card, controller etc) then that might be the problem.

However, it’s not always that simple to find the culprit. This error can also happen on brand new computers.

Fortunately there are some methods you can try to resolve the ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ error. These are easy to implement, even if you are no tech expert.

Try each solution one by one; they are in order of how likely they are to give you a quick fix. Reboot your PC after each solution to see whether it worked.

SOLUTIONS FOR ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ ERROR

The first thing to do is start your PC in Safe Mode. This means Windows only starts the bare minimum of programs, drivers and files to open.

Different PCs open Safe Mode in different ways, although pressing either SHIFT + F8 or else F8 by itself is a common one.

This will open the Advanced Boot Options Menu.

Critical Process Died Error - Advanced Boot Options Menu
Advanced Boot Options Menu
  1. Restart your Windows 10 computer.
  2. Repeatedly press SHIFT + F8 (or F8 by itself) before the Windows 10 OS starts to load, to open Recovery Mode.
  3. Choose Advanced Boot Options using the arrow keys.
  4. Press Enter.
  5. Choose Safe Mode using the arrow keys.
  6. Press Enter.

Note: Although Safe Mode with Networking is another option, if the Wi-Fi chipset driver is causing the BSoD, this won’t fix your issue!

If you have a PC which doesn’t work with SHIFT + F8, or F8 by itself, try using the Windows installation disk.

Alternatively use the Windows Recovery USB and put it in just before the startup gets into WinRE.

No installation disk or USB? Just restart the computer a few times, and eventually it will boot into the WinRE.

WinRE is a repair tool that comes with Windows 10, and lets you troubleshoot if the OS is having an issue.

Once in WinRE, click Troubleshoot then Advanced Options then Startup Settings, and finally click Restart.

When the PC comes back on, go to Startup Settings and follow the steps listed above.

If this doesn’t work either, it means you’re going to have to reinstall Windows.

If the PC boots up and you can log in, you need to perform a Clean Boot. This is like Safe Mode but gives you more control about which programs and services run at Startup, so you can isolate the problem.

A clean boot is easy to do and you don’t have to keep going into Recovery Mode.

This is the first fix to try, once you have gone in:

HOW TO PERFORM A CLEAN BOOT

  1. Log into the PC as an administrator.
  2. Type ‘msconfig’ in the search button next to the Windows logo in your taskbar.
  3. Click System Configuration.
  4. Select Services in the top tab and choose Hide All Microsoft Devices.
  5. Click on Disable All.
  6. Now select Open Task Manager on the Startup tab.
  7. Choose each Startup item and click on Disable.
  8. Close the Task Manager.
  9. Click on OK where it says System Configuration.
  10. Restart the PC.

There are now various things you can try to discover the culprit of the ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ error.

If you got the error after a new driver installation or after a system update, the quickest fix is to restore the PC to a previous time.

Another fix would be to remove the driver or software manually, as long as you’re sure that’s what caused the error.

If you aren’t sure, you can go back to a backup Windows created automatically before its update by using System Restore.

Also read: Fix VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE Error

2 Easiest Ways To Fix ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ error

These are the easiest solutions to fix ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ error in Windows 10:

FIX #1: PERFORM A SYSTEM RESTORE

Not to be confused with a System Reset, a System Restore will return the computer to a previous state.

You won’t lose your files like music, documents, videos, photos, and so on.

Some apps that were installed after the system restore point won’t be there any more though.

A system restore basically takes your PC back to a previous time, before the BSoD error.

  1. Click the search icon by the Windows logo and type in ‘create a restore point’.
  2. Now open System Properties (should be the first result).
  3. Select System Restore.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Choose the restore point.
  6. Another option is to click on Scan to find out which apps might be affected.
  7. Click Next then click Finish.

The above steps will return your PC to a previous state. If successful you won’t get the ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ error again.

If unsuccessful, you can either try Safe Mode and a Clean Boot and then another System Restore (to an older point), or do a System Reset.

FIX #2: FIX CORRUPTED SYSTEM FILES WITH THE SYSTEM FILE CHECKER

The System File Checker, or SFC, is included with Windows 10. This tool lets you scan for any corrupted system files and the restore them.

SFC looks for all Windows Resource Protection (WRP) files.

This stops folders, registers and files essential to Windows 10 from being altered.

  1. Type Command Prompt in the search bar.
  2. Right-click it and choose Run as Administrator.
  3. In the new command window, type the following, then press Enter: sfc/scannow
  4. The scan will take some time to complete.
  5. If the scan finds any problem files, it will give you a message to say it located corrupted files and fixed them.
  6. Restart the PC.

Conclusion

The above fixes solve almost all ‘CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ errors. It is important to boot into Safe Mode and do a Clean Boot before trying the fixes.

If you have a BSoD but a different error message with it, the above steps might also solve that.