A Guide to the CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED Blue Screen of Death Error


Error Name: CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED

You’ve encountered a rare thing — a Windows 8-exclusive Blue Screen of Death. BSoDs are historically very intimidating, but despite the name and appearance, most BSoDs are only temporary. This means that whatever error you’ve encountered can usually be fixed, though the process can be a bit of a pain. Previous versions of Windows flashed you with lines of code around the error message needed to diagnose what happened, but fortunately, Windows 8 put the message dead center and you were kind enough to document.

CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED
The Critical Process Died error in Windows 8.

Now? Now you should just relax. You’ve done the hard part.

CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED occurs when a process needed for the operating to run properly, well, dies. Processes are like programs, but multiple processes can be used by a single program- and processes directly interact with your processor, hence their name. The bad thing about this error is that it could be just about anything critical to the operation of your computer: namely, your hard drive, your memory, or, if you’re especially unfortunate, your processor.

When you turn your computer on, enter Safe Mode.

To enter Safe Mode in Windows 8:

  • Restart your PC.
  • Press Shift + F8 before the Windows logo appears.
  • Click See Advanced Repair Options.
  • Click Troubleshoot.
  • Click Advanced Options.
  • Click Windows Startup Settings.
  • Click Restart.
  • You then see a list where you can choose Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking (depending on whether you think you’ll need the Internet).

Once you do get into safe mode, be sure to check all of your drivers for issues. To do that, press Windows Key + X and click Device Manager, and from that menu, get Windows to check all of your devices for updates. If driver updates are available, install them. Be sure to remove any programs you installed when this started, and if, even after this, you encounter the CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED error, then it’s time for you to do a full operating system re-install.

Well, not necessarily. You have two options to follow here.

The first option is a clean installation. You will lose all your data, but this is almost completely guaranteed to fix your problem. Press Windows Key + I, click Change PC Settings, click General, and click Remove Everything and Reinstall Windows.

The second option is a System Refresh. You will not lose your data, but your base operating system will still be re-installed. This is less likely to fix your problem, but may still work. To do this, follow the same instructions up until General — and select Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files.

Once you’ve followed either one of those instructions, your problems should cease.

Note: If you use a Crucial M4 Series Solid State Drive, you may need to install new firmware for it. Visit the Crucial website for SSD updates.

If you’ve exhausted the options given in this article, call Microsoft or your manufacturer for further assistance.

About

Steve Horton has been working with computers for over 20 years. He's dedicated to helping people get the most out of their PCs, and likes playing cards and writing comics.

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  • C.C. Nicholson

    Okay, so my problem is that I had this error out of nowhere and auto repair isn’t doing anything, but I can’t access system restore or refresh because I don’t remember my password. I set it once and forgot it, like an idiot. And everytime my laptop restarts, it just goes back to trying to do automatic repairs. Help?

  • ReviverSoft

    Hi C.C.,
    Your best bet is to boot from a Windows disc or Windows recovery disc and access system restore that way. You can then change your password afterward. Good luck!

  • ReviverSoft

    Franko,

    Pantallas azules a menudo puede ocurrir cuando un equipo sale de la hibernación. Usted puede tratar de hacer copias de seguridad de sus archivos y vuelve a instalar ventanas en este caso.

  • Aiman11

    Follow This Step !
    *Right Click
    *Properties
    *Compatibility
    *Run This Program In ( Windows XP ) – Service Pack 3
    *Tick Enable this program to work with SkyDrive File
    *OK
    DONE !

  • Danii

    I am recieving the same error code, I have only had this laptop (Lenovo Yoga Ideapad 11) for 3 days. There is nothing I can think of that I could have done to cause this.
    The problem is I have tried what you first recommended, (going into safe mode) and it had said “Starting up with Bitlock”, and then it had asked me for a recovery key (and it informed me how to access it) when I put it in and pressed continue it seemed to have turned off. Now it does not want to turn back on. I know it is completely charged for I haf not turn it on until it had completely charged, I have no idea what to do. I have Windows 8.1. I hope you may be able to get back to me soon. thanks!

  • Amir

    Thank so mushhhhhhhhhh

  • Vivien Ysabella Loui Singson

    So I followed all the steps until I picked Refresh & still keeping my files instead of completely reinstalling Windows. I used a hard drive to back up the data while they did a recovery but when I restarted my computer, everything was gone–all the files & all the programs. Is there any way to get them back? There’s a file in my hard drive called BACK UP & I’m guessing that’s it but the things inside are all codes & when I tried opening them in the computer, it wouldn’t let me. Is everything gone permanently?

  • luke the lawless

    u have nanely instead of mainly

  • Arsen

    When I Turning on Safe Mode in Windows 8, Showing Blue Screen again

  • Jonathan Isenberg

    Steve,

    I’ve encountered this problem twice. Both times, the BSOD was encountered on a completely fresh Win 8.1 Pro x64 install. Everything installs fine, I boot to desktop, install the first round of drivers. Once everything is updated, I can reboot as many times as I like. Then, once I check for updates again (via the Control Panel), there are 10 new updates. I install those, then go to restart and (like clockwork), Windows 8.1 refuses to boot, stating the aforementioned error.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone in advance.

  • Brian

    I reload Windows 8 about every 6 days to 2 weeks. It never repairs. System restore never works. Safe mode never works. This happens on fresh install, even if all drivers are updated. Turning sleep off helps sometimes.

  • Rudinei Henrique

    então shift + f8 não ta funfano agr fudel sapohaaa.

  • Fernandez Roneillus

    Mine, NEVER EVER OCCURS, except when I open this certain program, (It’s a game, online game to be exact) The game would check for updates, then patch up, then when the actual game window would start, the program would be stuck in a black screen for 3 seconds, THEN BAM, this BSoD will appear, any way to fix it? It was just my first time going to play the game, and this f***ing thing just f***s everything up. I’ll repeat, IT ONLY OCCURS WHEN I OPEN THE GAME, IT NEVER OCCURS FOR A DIFFERENT REASON. Help me! And, thank you to those you DID help. I’m using a Toshiba Laptop (Satellite P55-A5200).

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