We all have encountered one or the other BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) errors on Windows 10. Most of them are easily fixable but in some cases, identifying the underlying cause is intricate which makes the fixing part a lot more complicated. ‘Critical_Process_Died’ is one of the BSOD errors that fall under the latter category. Before we move to the fixes, it’s important that you understand the error and the issues that lead to it.
What is Critical Process Died Error?
The Critical Process Died error is encountered when one of the processes that Windows relies upon has either stopped working or has been misconfigured. Since the issues that lead to the error are endless, identifying them can be a tedious task. The error can be encountered while working on a particular app, playing a game, or simply when you turn on the computer and try to sign in.
Some of the common causes of the error are:
- Bad system update
- Outdated or corrupt drivers
- Memory issues
- Corrupt Files
- Compatibility issues
Now that you are aware of the error and the various underlying causes, it’s time we walk you through the fixes.
Boot the Windows in Safe Mode
If you encounter the ‘Critical Process Died’ error frequently, you would be unable to execute the fixes in the ‘Normal Mode’. If that’s the case, enter the Windows in ‘Safe Mode’ and then execute the fixes mentioned in the following sections.
To boot the Windows in Safe Mode, press
WINDOWS + R to launch the ‘Run’ command, enter ‘msconfig’ in the relevant section and then click on ‘OK’ at the bottom.
Next, navigate to the ‘Boot’ tab from the top, tick the checkbox for ‘Safe boot’ under ‘Boot option’, and then select the ‘Network’ option. Once done, click on ‘OK’ at the bottom.
Next, click on ‘Restart’ on the pop up that appears to reboot the system in ‘Safe Mode’.
Once you are in the ‘Safe Mode’, execute the fixes one at a time.
1. Run Troubleshooter
The first fix you should go for when you encounter the ‘Critical Process Died’ error is to run the troubleshooter. Since you wouldn’t have identified the particular issue leading to the error, about the hit and trial method and run various troubleshooters.
To run the troubleshooter, press
WINDOWS + I to launch system ‘Settings’ and then select ‘Update & Security’ from the list of options.
Next, navigate to the ‘Troubleshoot’ tab and then click on the ‘Additional troubleshooters’ option at the right side of the screen.
You will now find various troubleshooters listed on the screen. Run the troubleshooters that feel might fix the error. Run several of them until the error is fixed.
Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process. Once the troubleshooting is done, check if the error is resolved. If not, move to the next fix.
2. Update System Drivers
Outdated or corrupt drivers are one of the common reasons behind the ‘Critical Process Died’ error. To fix the error, update the drivers that might be corrupted. A corrupted driver will have a yellow exclamation mark alongside it.
To update the drivers, search for ‘Device Manager’ in the ‘Start Menu’ and then launch it from the search results.
In the ‘Device Manager’, look for the drivers with a yellow exclamation mark next to their icon. Now, double-click on that particular option and right-click on the driver name under it. Next, click on the ‘Update driver’ option from the context menu.
You will now have two options, either to let Windows search for the best driver or browse the computer for it and manually install it. You can search the driver online, download it, and then install them manually. However, it is recommended that you let Windows search for it.
If you have updated the driver, check whether the error is fixed or not.
3. Reinstall the Drivers
If updating the drivers didn’t fix the error, try reinstalling them altogether.
To reinstall the driver, right-click on the malfunctioning driver and then select the ‘Uninstall device’ option from the context menu.
Next, restart your computer and Windows will automatically reinstall the driver. Now, check if the error is fixed.
4. Uninstall Recent Windows Update
In many cases, users start encountering the error after updating Windows. If that’s the case, try uninstalling the recent Windows updates. This has fixed the ‘Critical Process Died’ error for many users.
You can easily roll back to the previous one or uninstall the recent updates on Windows 10. After you have uninstalled the Windows updates, the error should be fixed. In case it persists, Windows updates had nothing to do with it, therefore move to the next fix.
5. Run a Full System Scan
If malware or antivirus is causing the error, running an antivirus scan would fix the error. Also, ensure that you run the ‘Full Scan’ and not the ‘Quick Scan’ to check more files and programs. It will take longer to complete but will deliver effective results.
Search for ‘Windows Security’ in the ‘Start Menu’ and then click on the search result to launch the app.
In ‘Windows Security’, select ‘Virus & threat protection’ from the list of options on the screen.
You will only find the option to start a ‘Quick scan’. To explore the other options, click on ‘Scan options’ under it.
Next, select the ‘Full scan’ option by ticking the checkbox before it, and then click on the ‘Scan now’ at the bottom.
The scan will start instantly and the progress and estimated time of completion will be displayed.
Also, you can continue working on the system while the scan is in progress. Once the scan is completed, you will be informed if any threats have been discovered and the action taken.
6. Run SFC Scan
The SFC Scan is another fix that can be employed to fix the ‘Critical Process Died’ error. SFC scan repairs the Windows System files that might be corrupted and leading to the error.
To run an SFC scan, search for ‘Command Prompt’ in the ‘Start Menu’, right-click on it, and then select ‘Run as administrator’ from the menu. Next, click on ‘Yes’ on the prompt that pops up.
In the ‘Command Prompt’ window, enter the following command, and then press
The scan will start right away and will take a few minutes to complete.
Once the scan completes, the error should be fixed. If not, move to the next fix.
7. Run DISM Tool
If the SFC scan didn’t fix the ‘Critical Process Died’ error, you can try running the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool. It is an administrator-level command that will check the health and repair Windows image.
To execute the DISM tool, launch the ‘Command Prompt’ as administrator and then enter the following commands one at a time and wait for them to complete.
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
After you have run the tool, restart the computer and check if the error is fixed.
8. Perform a Clean Boot
A clean boot starts your system with minimum drivers, programs, and services. If one of them is leading to the error, you would be able to identify it when you run those processes individually later on.
To perform a clean boot, search for ‘System Configuration’ in the ‘Start Menu’ and then launch the app from the search results.
In the ‘System Configuration’ window, navigate to the ‘Services’ tab, tick the checkbox for ‘Hide all Microsoft services’, and then click on ‘Disable all’ to disable the selected services.
Next, go to the ‘Startup’ tab and click on the ‘Open Task Manager’ option.
Now, identify the problematic programs in your experience, select them individually and then click on ‘Disable’ at the bottom.
After you have selected the problematic programs, move back to the ‘System Configuration’ window and click on ‘OK’ at the bottom.
Now, restart the computer and start the individual services only when the need arises. Your system will run fine and you will also be able to identify the underlying cause that’s leading to the error after you enable it.
9. Uninstall Recent Apps
If you have been encountering the error ever since you installed an app, it’s time you remove it. Many third-party apps affect the system and lead to the ‘Critical Process Died’ error.
To uninstall a program or app, search for ‘Control Panel’ in the ‘Start Menu’ and then launch the app from the search results.
Next, click on ‘Uninstall a program’ under the ‘Programs’ section.
Next, select the program that you want to uninstall and then click on the ‘Uninstall option at the top. Click on ‘Yes’ if any confirmation box pops up.
After you have unistalled the porgram, check if the ‘Critical Process Died’ error is fixed. If not, move to the last fix.
10. Reset Windows
If none of the above methods have fixed the error, resetting the Windows is the last option. Also, it’s a sure-shot method but you should go for it at the last since you will lose programs and settings.
Resetting Windows 10 is a fairly easy process but it will consume some time. Once the system restarts after reset, the ‘Critical Process Died’ error would be fixed.
Fixing BSOD errors requires a little technical acumen and a lot of patience on your part. You will have to execute various fixes until one works out but it’s worth the effort.