What Causes ‘Critical_Process_Died’ Error in Windows 11? (Solved)

This error usually occurs when a critical system process fails or terminates unexpectedly, causing the blue screen of death (BSOD) to appear.


Did your computer crash or frequently restart with Blue screen of death (BSOD) message “Critical process died”? You are not alone, several users report, Unable to boot due to – the “CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED” error. This is a common error that indicates that a critical system process has terminated unexpectedly, causing the system to crash. This can be caused by various factors, including corrupted system files, incompatible drivers, or hardware issues or registry errors. This article explores how to troubleshoot and fix the “Critical process died” error on Windows 11 and get your PC back to normal.

Critical_Process_Died Error Windows 11

The “Critical Process Died” error in Windows 11 can be caused by various factors, and understanding these common reasons can help in troubleshooting and resolving the issue.

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Outdated or incompatible device drivers, especially those related to critical system components, are most common reason behind this blue screen error. Again Faulty hardware, such as RAM or hard drive issues to Memory corruption or disk errors can disrupt the normal operation of critical processes.

Incompatibilities between third-party software or recently installed applications can cause conflicts with system processes. And most importantly corruption or damage to essential system files necessary for the proper functioning of Windows can lead to this error.

Sometimes, Incorrect entries or corruption in the Windows registry or virus malware infection can disrupt the proper functioning of system processes, leading to errors.

Disconnect external Devices

This error is related to both hardware and software problems, and the first thing of all is to try starting the computer by disconnecting all the peripherals that are connected. if it doesn’t work you have to start your PC safe mode to Identify the specific process or component causing the problem and fix them.

External devices can sometimes contribute to system instability, and disconnecting them can help isolate the problem.

Disconnect any USB devices connected to your computer, such as external hard drives, USB flash drives, printers, or other peripherals.

If you have any additional hardware connected, such as secondary monitors, external graphics cards, or docking stations, consider disconnecting them.

Also, disconnect external storage devices (like external hard drives), and disconnect the internet cable temporarily. Now restart your computer and check if the “Critical process died” error persists.

Check with Safe Mode Boot

Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode in Windows that allows the operating system to start with only essential drivers and services. This helps isolate issues caused by third-party applications or drivers.

  • Press and hold the Shift key, click the start menu-> power button then restart.
  • Click on “Troubleshoot” and then on “Advanced options” again.

If due to this error PC restarts frequently or won’t start you need to access advanced options using installation media.

Startup setting on advanced options

  • Click on “Startup Settings” and then on “Restart”.

Safe mode restart

  • After your PC restarts, press the F4 key to enter safe mode or F5 key to Safe Mode with Networking.

We recommend Press F5 to enable internet access so you can update drivers, and perform DISM commands that need an internet connection to repair Windows images or system files.

Safe mode windows 11

Once you are in safe mode, you can try the following methods to fix the “Critical process died” error.

Repair Critical system files using SFC and DISM

Corrupted system files are a common reason behind system crashes. If for some reason, essential files integral to the operating system become damaged or compromised, it can lead to instability, crashes, or “Critical process died” error. Running System File Checker (SFC) tool scans and repairs corrupted or missing system files. In addition, the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool helps repair the Windows image file, which contains the system files. Running these two tools can help you fix any system file corruption that may cause the “Critical process died” error.

  • Press the Windows key + S, and type cmd. Right-click on the command prompt and select run as administrator.
  • Type sfc /scannow and press Enter. This will scan and repair any corrupted or missing system files.
  • Wait for the scan to complete and then type dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth and press Enter. This will scan and repair the Windows image file.
  • The scanning process may take some time, and it’s essential to let it finish and then restart your PC.

Check for Driver Issues

Drivers are software components that allow your hardware devices to communicate with your operating system. If your drivers are outdated, incompatible, or corrupted, they may cause the “Critical process died” error. Updating drivers ensures compatibility with the latest Windows updates, reducing the chances of conflicts that could trigger the BSOD error.

Outdated or incompatible drivers can cause system instability and errors.

  • Press the Windows key + X and select “Device Manager”.
  • look for devices with a yellow triangle (indicating driver issues).

If one appears with an exclamation mark next to it, it will mean that it is defective. In this case you can click on the secondary button to uninstall it, and when you start the computer again it can be installed.

To update any device driver:

  • Right-click on the device, choose Update driver, then click on “Search automatically for updated driver software” and follow the instructions to install the latest driver.

Update WiFi or Network Adapter Driver on Windows 11

If the problem started after a recent driver update, you have the option to roll back the driver.

  • Again open the device manager, locate the problematic driver, right-click on it select properties,
  • click on the “Driver” tab and then on “Roll Back Driver”  follow on screen instructions.
  • Repeat this process for any other device that may be causing the problem.  Restart your PC.

Rollback audio driver

Scan your PC for malware

Malware is malicious software that can infect your PC and cause various problems, including the “Critical process died” error. To scan your PC for malware, you can use Windows Security, which is the built-in antivirus program in Windows 11.

  • Press the Windows key + I and select “Privacy & security”.
  • Click on “Windows Security” and then on “Open Windows Security”.
  • Click on “Virus & threat protection” and then on “Scan options”.
  • Select “Full scan” and then click on “Scan now”.
  • Wait for the scan to complete and then remove any detected threats.

Windows security full scan

Also, you can prefer third-party antivirus to perform deep scan.

Check your hardware issues

Hardware failure or malfunction can also cause the Critical_Process_Died error. To check your hardware, Use the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to test your RAM for errors. In addition, Use the CHKDSK tool to check your hard disk for errors.

To repair RAM or Memory errors:

  • Open Start menu and type Windows Memory Diagnostic and press Enter.
  • Choose Restart now and check for problems. Your computer will reboot and perform the test.
  • If any errors are found, you may need to replace your RAM modules.

To repair Disk errors:

  • Open Command Prompt as administrator by typing cmd in the Start menu and selecting Run as administrator.
  • Type chkdsk /f /r and press Enter. This will start the scan and repair process for your hard disk.
  • Wait for the scan to complete and restart your computer.

Check for registry errors

The registry is a database that stores various settings and options for your operating system and applications. If the registry is corrupted or contains invalid entries, it may cause the “Critical process died” error. To fix registry errors, you can use reliable registry cleaner software that can scan and repair any registry issues. Alternatively, you can also manually edit the registry using the Registry Editor, but this is not recommended unless you are an advanced user and know what you are doing.

  • Press the Windows key + R and type regedit in the Run box. Click OK to open the Registry Editor.

Before you make any changes, it is advisable to back up the registry by clicking on “File” and then on “Export”. Choose a location and a name for the backup file and click “Save”.

  • Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

In the right pane, double-click on the value named ClearPageFileAtShutdown and change its data to 1. This will clear the page file, which is a temporary storage area for memory data when you shut down your PC.


Click OK and then close the Registry Editor and Restart your PC.

These are some of the methods that can help you fix the “Critical process died” error on Windows 11. If none of these methods work, you may need to reset or reinstall Windows 11, which will factory reset Windows settings and make Windows fresh.

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Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer
With over 7 years of experience in the IT industry, I have experience in IT support, helpdesk, sysadmin, network admin, and cloud computing. Certified in Microsoft Technologies (MCTS and MCSA) and also Cisco Certified Professional in Routing and Switching.

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