Critical Process Died Error on Windows
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The “Critical Process Died” stop code is a common error that can occur on Windows operating systems. It often manifests as a blue screen with an error message, causing significant frustration as it crashes and restarts the computer.

This issue arises when vital system processes fail to operate correctly or crash, resulting in a total system shutdown. Various matters can trigger it, including faulty hardware, outdated drivers, corrupt system files, or malware. In this guide, we will explore possible methods to resolve the “Critical Process Died” stop code in Windows.

What is a Windows Stop Code

A Windows stop code, also known as a stop error or blue screen error, appears when your Windows computer encounters a problem that forces it to shut down or restart unexpectedly. When a serious system issue arises, Windows displays a blue screen with a message stating the device encountered a problem and needs to restart. This screen is often called the “blue screen of death” (BSOD). These stop codes help identify the issue, guiding users and technicians to possible solutions.

Primary Causes of the Error

  • Faulty hardware, for example a failing hard drive or memory.
  • Outdated or corrupted device drivers.
  • Malware or virus infections.
  • System file corruption.

The “Critical Process Died” stop code, identified by the code 0x000000EF, indicates a critical system process has unexpectedly ended, causing the system to crash. This error highlights serious issues that need immediate attention to restore system stability and functionality. In the following sections, we will outline different methods to troubleshoot and fix this challenging error.

How to Fix the Critical Process Died Error

There are several effective methods to resolve the “Critical Process Died” stop code in Windows. Here are eight strategies to try, one by one, until you find the solution that works for you.

  • Update Device Drivers

    Outdated or corrupted device drivers are common causes of the "Critical Process Died" stop code. To resolve this problem, attempt to update all your device drivers to their most recent versions. You can accomplish this manually by going to each manufacturer's website and obtaining the correct driver for your hardware.

  • Run System File Checker

    System file corruption is another common cause of the "Critical Process Died" Windows 10 error. To resolve this issue, you have the option to utilise the integrated System File Checker (SFC) utility in Windows. This program examines and rectifies any damaged system files that could be triggering problems on your PC. To execute SFC, adhere to these instructions:

    1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    2. Type the command sfc /scannow and press Enter.
    3. Wait for the scan to end and restart your computer.
    4. Restart Your Device in Safe Mode

  • Restart your device in Safe Mode

    Rebooting your device in Safe Mode can assist in identifying whether the "Critical Process Died" issue is triggered by third-party software. Safe Mode initiates your computer with a basic collection of drivers and services, simplifying the process of pinpointing problems. Follow these instructions to enter Safe Mode:

    1. Press the Windows key + R, enter msconfig, and hit Enter to access the System Configuration tool.
    2. Navigate to the Boot tab and tick the box beside Safe Boot.
    3. Choose Minimal and press OK, then reboot your PC.

    Once in Safe Mode, observe if the error persists. If it does not, a third-party application or driver may be the cause. You can then uninstall recently added software or perform a clean boot to determine the problematic programme.

    Run System File Checker (SFC)

  • Perform a Clean Boot

    Performing a clean boot is a troubleshooting method that involves starting your computer with only essential services and drivers. This technique can help pinpoint any software conflicts or third-party applications that may be triggering the "Critical Process Died" error. To execute a clean boot, follow these steps:

    1. Enter "msconfig" in the search bar on Windows and hit Enter.
    2. Navigate to the "Services" tab within the System Configuration window and tick the box beside "Hide all Microsoft services."
    3. Click "Disable all," then switch to the "Startup" tab.
    4. Select "Open Task Manager."
    5. In Task Manager, turn off any startup item by right-clicking and choosing "Disable."
    6. Close Task Manager and click "OK" in the System Configuration window.
    7. Resume your PC and check if the problem persists.

  • Perform a System Restore

    If you encounter the "Critical Process Died" issue following new software installation or system modifications, attempting a System Restore may help. This function enables you to revert your computer's settings to an earlier date when everything is working properly. To carry out a System Restore, follow these instructions:

    1. Enter "system restore" in the Windows search field and choose "Create a restore point."
    2. Click on "System Restore" in the System Properties window.
    3. Follow the on-screen instructions to click a restore point and start the procedure.

  • Examine for Malfunctioning Hardware

    Faulty hardware can also cause critical system processes to crash, resulting in the "Critical Process Died" error. To identify any defective hardware, you can run diagnostic tests on your computer's components, such as the hard drive, memory, and CPU. If any issues are found, you may need to replace the faulty hardware.

  • Run a Disk Check

    To address the "Critical Process Died" error, Windows users can utilise the disk check tool. This native feature scans the hard drive for errors and seeks to rectify them automatically. To complete a disk check, follow these steps:

    1. Launch File Explorer and right-click on the primary hard drive (typically labelled as C:).
    2. Choose "Properties."
    3. Navigate to the "Tools" tab and choose "Check" in the "Error-checking" category.
    4. Follow the on-screen instructions to commence the disk check process.

    Reinstall Windows if needed.

If troubleshooting doesn’t work, consider reinstalling Windows on your computer to resolve any underlying issues leading to the “Critical Process Died” error. This should be a last resort, as it will delete all your files and programs. Before doing this, back up all your important data to an external source. You can reinstall Windows using a USB or DVD installation media.


The “Critical Process Died” stop code is a severe issue that requires urgent action to recover system stability and operation. Utilise the troubleshooting techniques outlined in this manual to resolve the problem and avoid its repetition. If the problem continues, it might signal a more critical underlying issue that needs expert assistance. If data loss occurs due to the “Critical Process Died” error, reach out to PITS Global Data Recovery Services for a secure and assured data retrieval service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Various factors can cause the error, including corrupted system files, faulty hardware, outdated or incompatible drivers, malware infections, and software conflicts. Determining the root cause can be challenging, but following systematic troubleshooting steps can help isolate and resolve the issue.

If updating drivers doesn’t fix the issue, you can explore alternative fixes like using the System File Checker (SFC) tool, initiating a clean boot, rebooting in Safe Mode, or doing a System Restore. If none of these options help, investigate faulty hardware or contemplate reinstalling Windows.

Yes, malware infections can cause the “Critical Process Died” error by corrupting system files or interfering with essential processes. Running a thorough antivirus scan and removing any detected malware can help resolve the problem.

Yes, performing a System Restore is a secure method to revert your computer’s settings to a previous state when it was working correctly. This process does not affect your files, but it may uninstall recently installed programmes and drivers.

The “Critical Process Died” error is a severe problem that can cause system instability and crashes. Resolving this issue is vital to avoid data loss and maintain your computer’s proper functionality. If the troubleshooting methods in this manual do not fix the “Critical Process Died” error, it might suggest a deeper issue that needs expert help.