The 'CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED' error is a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) crash that some Windows users might have had the unfortunate of running into. BSoD errors designate a serious issue that has stopped the system's OS from continuing to function. As a result, the entire computer system must be restarted leading to potential loss of information if any of the currently opened documents haven't been saved in a while. 

The 'CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED' error specifically indicates that a process vital for the OS to continue functioning has been suddenly terminated or failed to start. Pinpointing the exact process that caused the error could be extremely time-consuming but users still have some options to deal with this error. Explore the suggested solutions outlined below and try to see if any helps to fix this pesky error. 

Perform an SFC scan

SFC (System File Checker) is a rather useful utility that comes packaged with the Windows OS. It allows users to scan their computer systems for potentially corrupted Windows system files and then try to repair them. SFC can also replace any essential files that could be missing. To start the process, users need to open an elevated Command Prompt window.

  1. Type command prompt in the search field on the taskbar. Right-click the top result and choose the 'Run as administrator' option. 
  2. In the Command Prompt window, type sfc /scannow and press Enter on your keyboard. 
  3. SFC should initiate a scan that could take a while to complete. 
  4. If SFC detected any problems and managed to fix them, it will display the following message - 'Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.'
  5. Restart your computer.

Run DISM scan

If SFC failed to solve the issue, users could try another type of scan called DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management). This particular utility is designed to deal will problems related to Window images such as the Windows Recovery Environment, Windows PE, Windows Setup, and more. DISM also requires an elevated Command Prompt in order to be executed. 

  1. Type command prompt in the search field on the taskbar, right-click the top result, and select the 'Run as administrator' option. 
  2. Type the DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth command and press Enter on your keyboard. 
  3. Wait for the DISM scan to be completed. 

Run disk scan for errors

A corrupted sector on the hard drive could cause a whole host of different BSoD errors including 'CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED.' Windows comes with a helpful tool designed to check for and fix this type of hard disk problems. 

  1. Open an elevated Command Prompt window yet again.
  2. Type the chkdsk C: /f command and press Enter on your keyboard. 
  3. Replace 'C' with the letter of any particular disk volume you wish to scan. 
  4. Keep in mind that the 'chkdsk C: /f' command looks for and fixes logical errors. To fix potential physical issues, use the chkdsk C: /r command instead.

Try a clean boot

To make sure that the 'CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED' error isn't caused by any software conflicts, users could try to run a clean boot of their system and see if the issue will still appear. Doing a clean boot means starting your Windows with just the minimal drivers and startup programs to run the OS. 

  1. Type system configuration in the search field on the taskbar and click on the top result. 
  2. In the 'System Configuration' window, select the 'Services' tab.
  3. Select the 'Hide all Microsoft services' option by checking its checkbox.
  4. Click on 'Disable all.'
  5. Go to the 'Startup' tab and choose 'Open Task Manager.'
  6. Disable all applications under Task Manager's Startup tab one by one. 
  7. Close Task Manager and click the 'OK' button in 'System Configuration.'
  8. Restart your computer system. 

The system will start with only the default programs and services. If the 'CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED' error doesn't appear that would mean that one of the disabled applications is the real cause. Try to find it through the process of elimination even though it might take a while.