Blue screen of Death is one of the scariest things that can happen to your PC. It can just happen randomly without warning or any time window for you to save your work. If you’re seeing blue screen with the error code that reads CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED after Windows Update (particularly the Windows 10 April Update v1803), we’ve listed a few solution you can try to fix the issue.
It’s been reported that by simply clicking any built-in Windows app will trigger the Critical Process Died BSOD. When you’re in the blue screen, there’s nothing you can do except to restart your computer.
What causes Critical Process Died BSOD to happen in Windows 10?
The CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED blue screen error will happen when a critical Windows component detects any unauthorized modification of its data. It usually relates to buggy outdated drivers. If you are seeing the error immediately after Windows Update, it may indicates that one or more drivers are causing conflicts with the updates.
This is a common case in every major Windows Update. There will always be a small portion of people who have a specific set of hardware that will cause the BSOD error. Eventually, the error will be fixed in the coming patches or new drivers’ releases which made compatible with the new updates. So, the very first thing you should try after getting Critical Process Died BSOD error is to update all your hardware’s drivers.
If it’s already been awhile since you’ve run Windows Update, you can run it again to let it find and install latest drivers for your computer automatically. If the update was installed not long ago, and then the BSOD started to happen, you will have to check on your manufacturer’s website for latest drivers. Otherwise, you will just have to wait until Microsoft fixes the problem or when there is new driver releases to solve the issue. In the meanwhile, you can roll back to an earlier build or try the following solutions.
Clean boot your computer
A clean boot means to boot your computer in a clean state with only the core system files which Windows relies to boot, eliminating all other services and startup programs. A clean boot will allow you to perform any fix that takes time to complete before the blue screen kicks in.
To boot in clean boot, go to start and search for msconfig. Go to the Services tab then check the checkbox that reads Hide all Microsoft Services. Then, click on Disable all button. This will disable all other services except Microsoft services. Go to Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager. Sort the status and disable all the enabled startup programs. Restart your computer. It should now be booted clean. The blue screen should be temporary fixed.
Alternatively, you can try to re-enable these startup programs one by one until you find the problematic program which causes the Critical Process Died BSOD error.
Now that your PC stops giving you blue screen, you can proceed to try the solutions below.
Roll back to an earlier Windows 10 build
If you are in a rush and have no time to diagnose what actually causes the CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED BSOD to happen, you can choose to roll back to a previous state of your Windows prior to the update. Here’s how to do it.
- Hold and press the Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
- Click on Update & security.
- From the left pane, click on Recovery.
- Under Go back to the previous version of Windows, click on the Get started button.
- Simply select a reason, then click on Next.
- Click No thanks when you’re offer to download latest updates.
- Click a couple of Next again, then select Go back to earlier build.
It may take 30minutes to few hours for the rollback process to complete. Do not interrupt it as it may break your Windows. It will restart itself in the process and once it’s booted in Windows, you will be in your previous build prior to the problematic update.
Use System File Checker tool to fix BSOD
Blue screen error, especially the CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED error, is often caused by corrupted system file which Windows relies to run. The System File Checker tool will scan, locate and repair any found corrupted Windows system files. Here’s how to run it in Windows 10.
Go to Start and type cmd. Right-click command prompt and select Run as administrator. This is important as SFC will only work when you have admin privilege. In the command prompt, enter sfc /scannow. SFC will begin scanning now. It may take a while. Restart your computer when the process is done.
What else can you try when nothing works
If you can’t even boot into Windows to try any of the solutions, you can try to boot into safe mode and do the fixes. If you can’t boot into safe mode, the last thing you can do is to clear your CMOS. Keep in mind that this is an advanced fix that should only be done by those who know what they are doing, which involves touching your motherboard physically such as switching the CMOS jumper and reset the CMOS battery. Do a search to find a guide on how to do it.
Assuming you already have an antivirus software installed, run a scan on your computer to see if there is any malware causing conflicts with your system files and drivers which ultimately lead to blue screen error. It’s always a must for any computer user to have an antivirus software installed to protect your computer.
As we have already mentioned that the error relates to driver’s issue, if you have just updated your Windows not long ago, it may take sometime for the manufacturers of your hardware to come up with new drivers that are compatible with the current Windows Update.
So, I would advise you to temporary roll back to an earlier build and wait for a week or two until these manufacturers release new compatible drivers and most importantly until Microsoft fixes what should be fixed.