CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED is one of the most common Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) errors faced by Windows users. If this is the first time you are greeted by this infamous Windows error, and wondering what went wrong with your PC, here is your answer:
CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED shows up when some critical process responsible for Windows operation has ended abruptly and unexpectedly. It could be corrupted or missing system files, inappropriate changes in the Windows registry, rogue updates, incompatible device drivers, virus attack that has invoked the issue.
Fortunately, it’s not a big of an issue and can be fixed with a little bit of work. In the following article, we have investigated potential reasons for the error and their associated fixes. The methods we have shared below, if applied correctly, should make the error go.
What Causes CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED Error?
It’s almost impossible to pinpoint a reason for the said BSOD error. However, it’s not out of the blue that the error pops up on your screen. Most of the time, it’s associated with the recent changes you have made to your computer. So, if you can remember the settings you have tweaked or the installations you have made before you stumble across the ‘Stop code: CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED’ error, you can figure out the possible reason.
Below are some of the potential causes likely to invoke CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED for Windows users.
Rogue Update: in case you aren’t familiar with the term, it refers to a Windows update installed recently that has caused issues on your PC as opposed to what updates usually do – fixing issues. It could be a cumulative update, a security update, or any OS related updates. Blue screen death errors, like CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED, are prevalent with installing rogue updates.
Corrupt System Files: corruption in system files mainly occurs when a computer suddenly crashes down during power outages, face update errors, or undergoes hardware issues. Since system files are crucial and play an important role in operating Windows, corrupted or damaged entries, tend to cause errors to the user, such as the one we are discussing in this article.
Broken Registry Items: Windows registry containing broken or corrupt keys is one of the significant reasons for various BSOD errors. There is a whole list of factors such as power failure, abrupt shutdown, faulty hardware, malware and viruses that can mess up your registry.
Incompatible Device Driver: if you have recently updated your device driver, it can be suspected to be a potential reason for the error. In such cases, all you have to do is, roll back the driver, and if it fixes the problem for you, that means it was the culprit behind the CRITICAL PROCESS DIED error.
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Windows BSOD Error: How to Fix CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED
Now, since you know the various reasons that could be held responsible for the mentioned error, it’s time to troubleshoot them.
Run SFC Scan
System File Checker (SFC) is a fantastic Windows utility that helps repair registry and system files for broken or corrupted items.
- To run an SFC scan on your PC, type ‘cmd’ in the Windows search bar, and click on “Run as administrator” for the Command Prompt app.
- Enter the following command and hit Enter.
Wait till the process get completed, then close the CMD window and restart your device.
Uninstall Windows Updates
If you have recently installed any Windows updates on your PC, it stands a chance of being a rogue update and causing a BSOD error. In Windows 10, it usually gets automatically updated in the background without the user’s knowledge. To check if there have been any recent OS updates to your system, follow the steps given below.
- Type “updates” in the Windows search bar and open Windows update settings.
- Click on View update history and find the recent entries based on the installation date mentioned next to an update.
- Now, on the same View update history page, click on Uninstall updates.
- Right-click on the recently installed update from the given list, and hit the Uninstall button. Repeat this step for every new update with a date closer to the day the CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED error appeared on your screen.
Uninstalling the updates will restore your Windows to the previous version. And if it helped you get rid of the error, that means it was the Windows updates causing inconvenience. In case the issue persists, you can also try to roll back your system driver to see if that makes any changes.
Rollback Device Driver
First, you have to go to the “View update history” page (refer to the steps mentioned above) and see if you can find an entry for “Driver Updates” in the list. If it’s not there, you can feel free to skip this step. But if you did find it, click on it to expand, and take a note of those specific device drivers that have been recently updated on your computer.
These are the ones that you will require to roll back. Below is how to do that:
- First, using the Windows search feature, look for “device manager” and click on Open as a result appears.
- Click on the hardware device you want to roll back the driver for.
- Right-click on the driver that got updated lately and select Properties.
- Click on the Driver tab on the top, select Roll Back Driver and hit OK to confirm the changes.
NOTE: If you can’t identify the specific updated drivers due to the lack of information presented in the ‘Update history’ page, the alternative for that is to roll back or restore the Windows to the previous version using System Restore. Head over to the last method to know how to get it done.
Scan for Virus
If your system is infected by malicious programs such as viruses, malware or trojan, it can make unauthorised modifications to Windows system files or registry items and cause serious damage. So, if you don’t have any antivirus on your PC, installing one and scanning your system is recommended.
If you are a Windows 10 user, you can scan your device for viruses using Windows Defender’s deep scan and full scan feature. It will help remove any malicious program that might have found a way to get into your PC.
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Perform Clean Boot
Clean Boot allows Windows to start with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs to help users identify whether it is a background program messing up with your computer. It is similar to running Windows in Safe Mode. However, Clean Boot offers you more flexibility and control over which particular services and programs run at startup to help catch the issue.
- In the Windows search bar, type “system configuration” and open the app.
- Click on the “Services” tab, and at the bottom checkmark the “Hide all Microsoft services” box.
- Hit the “Disable all” button.
- Next, click on the “Startup” tab and select “Open Task Manager.”
- Select any startup item in the Task Manager Window and click on “Disable.” Repeat the process for every entry until there is no more to disable. Once you are done with it, close the Window.
- In the Startup tab in the System Configuration window, click on OK.
That is pretty much it. This will provide your computer with a clean boot environment upon restarting Windows.
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Roll Back Windows Using System Restore
If you have tried all the methods given above, but the CRITICAL_PROCESS_ DIED still lingers on, restoring your Windows to the previous version will most likely fix the problem.
- In the Windows search bar, type “restore” and select the “Recovery” option.
- Click on “Open System Restore” and wait while it loads.
- Now, in the System Restore Window, click on Next to continue.
- You should see two automatic system restore points of different dates and times.
NOTE: Before you select any restore point, make sure you know that it will delete all the third-party programs and drivers installed since the last restore point. To know which one will be particularly removed, click on “Scan for the affected program.” Now, if you are cool with it, continue with the steps below.
- Preferably, you should select the recently created restore point, but it must be created before the BSOD error pops up on your computer.
- Once you have selected a restore point you want to roll back your Windows, click on Next.
- Follow the on-screen instructions, and before you even know, you will be done restoring your Windows to a previous point.
If not anything, this should kick off the CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED error for you.
We hope this troubleshooting guide helped you fix the annoying BSOD error, and if it did, let us know which method worked for you in the comment section below.