Many Windows 10 users are recently experiencing an issue with their computer. What actually happens is they get a blue screen of death with an error message that says “CRITICAL_SERVICE_FAILED”. A lot of the time, they’re stuck in this error and can’t get to the login screen.

If you’re also experiencing this error, you’re no doubt very frustrated. But don’t worry! This blue screen error is fixable…

Try these fixes

You may not have to try them all; just work your way down the list until you find the one that works for you.

  1. Run Startup Repair
  2. Disable drivers signature enforcement
  3. Update your device drivers
  4. Reset your Windows Update components
  5. Run System Restore

Fix 1: Run Startup Repair

This is the first thing you should try when you see the CRITICAL SERVICE FAILED blue screen error. To run Startup Repair:

  1. Turn on your computer, and then when your Windows starts loading, turn it off immediately. Do this until you see a message that says “Preparing Automatic Repair“. 
  2. Click Advanced Options.
    If you don’t the Advanced Startup Options menu, read this post (the “Case 2” instructions) for other ways to get to it. You can’t perform the rest of the steps below until you can access the Advanced Startup Options
  3. Click Troubleshoot.
  4. Select Advanced options.
  5. Select Startup Repair.
  6. Choose your account name and enter your password.
  7. Wait for the process to be complete.

Hopefully this fixed your blue screen error. But if not, then move on to Fix 2, below…

Fix 2: Disable drivers signature enforcement

You can bypass this error with the “Disable drivers signature enforcement” startup option. To do so:

  1. Turn on your computer, and then when your Windows starts loading, turn it off immediately. Do this until you see a message that says “Preparing Automatic Repair“. 
  2. Click Advanced options.
    If you don’t the Advanced Startup Options menu, read this post (the “Case 2” instructions) for other ways to get to it. You can’t perform the rest of the steps below until you can access the Advanced Startup Options
  3. Click Troubleshoot.
  4. Select Advanced options.
  5. Select Startup Settings.
  6. Click the Restart button.
  7. Press the 7 or F7 key on your keyboard.

This should help you get through this error. But it may occur again after restarting your computer. To fix it permanently, you should try the fixes below…

Fix 3: Update your device drivers

Perhaps you’re having this CRITICAL SERVICE FAILED blue screen error because the drivers on your computer are wrong or out of date. To fix this issue, you should update your device drivers

Before updating your drivers, you should either get into your Windows 10 system with the fixes above, or the instructions below to get into safe mode:

  1. Turn on your computer, and then when your Windows starts loading, turn it off immediately. Do this until you see a message that says “Preparing Automatic Repair“. 
  2. Click Advanced options.
    If you don’t the Advanced Startup Options menu, read this post (the “Case 2” instructions) for other ways to get to it. You can’t perform the rest of the steps below until you can access the Advanced Startup Options
  3. Click Troubleshoot.
  4. Select Advanced options.
  5. Select Startup Settings.
  6. Click the Restart button.
  7. Press the 5 or F5 key on your keyboard.

Now you should be able to update your drivers.

You can update your drivers manually. But if you don’t have the time, patience or skills, you can do it automatically with Driver Easy.

You don’t need to know exactly what system your computer is running, you don’t need to risk downloading and installing the wrong driver, and you don’t need to worry about making a mistake when installing. Driver Easy handles it all.

  1. Download and install Driver Easy.
  2. Run Driver Easy and click the Scan Now button. Driver Easy will then scan your computer and detect any problem drivers.
  3. Click the Update button next to your device to download the correct version of its driver, then you can manually install it. Or click the Update All button at the bottom right to automatically update all the drivers. (This requires the Pro version — you will be prompted to upgrade when you click Update All. You get full support and a 30-day money back guarantee.)
    You can do it for free if you like, but it’s partly manual.
If you need assistance, please contact Driver Easy’s support team at support@drivereasy.com.

Fix 4: Reset your Windows Update components

You may also be having issues with Windows Update so you get this blue screen error. To repair Windows Update, you should reset its components.

Before resetting the Windows Update components, you should either get into your Windows 10 system with the fixes above, or the instructions below to get into safe mode:

  1. Turn on your computer, and then when your Windows starts loading, turn it off immediately. Do this until you see a message that says “Preparing Automatic Repair“. 
  2. Click Advanced options.
    If you don’t the Advanced Startup Options menu, read this post (the “Case 2” instructions) for other ways to get to it. You can’t perform the rest of the steps below until you can access the Advanced Startup Options
  3. Click Troubleshoot.
  4. Select Advanced options.
  5. Select Startup Settings.
  6. Click the Restart button.
  7. Press the 4 or F4 key on your keyboard.

Now you should reset your Windows Update components.

  1. Click the Start button in the lower left corner of your screen, then type “cmd“. In the list of results, right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  2. In Command Prompt, type the following lines of command and press Enter on your keyboard after typing each:
    • ren %systemroot%\softwaredistribution softwaredistribution.old
    • ren %systemroot%\system32\catroot2 catroot2.old
  3. Restart your computer

If the blue screen error is gone, great! But if not, then you may need to…

Fix 5: Run System Restore

If none of the fixes above worked for you, then you should try running System Restore to revert your system to a previous state.

In order for System Restore to fix your blue screen error, you should have a system restore point created before the error occurs.
  1. Turn on your computer, and then when your Windows starts loading, turn it off immediately. Do this until you see a message that says “Preparing Automatic Repair“. 
  2. Click Advanced Options.
    If you don’t the Advanced Startup Options menu, read this post (the “Case 2” instructions) for other ways to get to it. You can’t perform the rest of the steps below until you can access the Advanced Startup Options
  3. Click Troubleshoot.
  4. Select Advanced options.
  5. Select System Restore.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to restore your Windows 10 system to a restore point.

Hopefully, one of the fixes above helped you get rid of your CRITICAL SERVICE FAILED blue screen error. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave us a comment below.

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