The error code 0xc000000f is a common sight on Windows PCs. Usually accompanied by messages like "Windows failed to start" or "Your PC needs to be repaired," it's a Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) that no user wants to see. Fortunately, there are a few easy fixes that can get your system up and running in no time.
Tip: dealing with the "Critical Process Died" error in Windows instead? Don't worry, as we have this BSOD covered as well.
What Is Error Code 0xc000000f?
The error code 0xc000000f is mostly seen after a failed boot cycle on your Windows machine. It can occur because of corrupted system files, damaged Boot Configuration Data, or even internal hardware issues.
Most of these reasons can be traced to recent Windows updates or newly-installed applications. Hence, diagnosing the issue revolves around identifying the root cause and restoring the system to its previous state.
1. Disconnect All External Drives
Start with this basic fix, as it has been shown to rectify error code 0xc000000f on some occasions.
- Turn off your system and remove any external drives connected to it. It's better to remove the external devices one by one and turn on your system each time so that you can identify which one was the culprit.
- If the error is fixed, you can try to repair the faulty drive that was preventing the system from booting up. If not, you can proceed to the next fix.
2. Run Disk and File System Checks
Disk errors and file system issues can also be behind an 0xc000000f error. To scan and fix these issues, you need to launch a Command Prompt (Terminal) in the Windows environment or from a Windows recovery drive.
- If you're able to boot to the desktop after a few tries, right-click on the Start button and select Command Prompt (Terminal). Windows 10 users can open a "Command Prompt" window by choosing the "Run as administrator" option.
- Run the Chkdsk and SFC scans, as demonstrated in our earlier guide.
- If you're not able to reach the desktop, you'll need to create a Windows recovery drive using the Windows Media Creation Tool.
- To boot from the recovery drive, restart your system and open your BIOS by pressing Del, F12 or another key displayed on the screen. You need to change the boot drive to the USB recovery drive in the boot priority settings. These settings can be found in the "Boot" tab or a related section, depending on your motherboard model.
- Boot into the USB drive created in step #3. Select "Repair your computer" from the options shown.
- Navigate to "Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Command Prompt."
- Enter the same commands described in step #2.
3. Run Windows Startup Repair
If the above fix did not resolve the issue, you should move to the Startup Repair method. This method attempts to fix the files required to successfully boot into your Windows installation. You can access Startup Repair using the Windows recovery drive you created in the previous fix.
- Boot into the recovery drive you created in the previous section and navigate to "Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Repair."
- Windows will restart your computer and try to fix any damaged files preventing your system from booting normally. If you still can't boot to the desktop, move to the next fix in the list.
4. Use System Restore
Another way to revert your system to the last stable state is by using a System Restore point. This rolls back any driver changes, application installations, or Windows Updates that may have messed with your system.
Follow our System Restore guide to learn how to restore your computer to a previous restore point. If this tool doesn't resolve the 0xc000000f error, or if you don't have a restore point to return to, try the following fixes.
5. Rebuild Boot Configuration Data
One of the most effective ways to fix the 0xc000000f error is to rebuild the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) entirely. The BCD file in Windows stores the boot order files that might develop some conflicts and prevent the system from booting normally.
A faulty BCD file can also cause several other issues like the "Bad System Config Info" error, so fixing it will prevent additional problems from showing up.
6. Disable Secure Boot in BIOS
If none of the fixes above worked for you, you can try tweaking your BIOS to resolve the persistent 0xc000000f error. One of the settings you should target is "Secure Boot," which is meant to ensure that your computer boots only if it detects hardware trusted by your original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
Secure Boot can sometimes prevent your computer from booting, displaying the 0xc000000f error. Before heading into the BIOS, check whether Secure Boot is supported by your system.
- Type "msinfo32" into Windows Search and click on "System Information."
- The "BIOS Mode" entry should say "UEFI" and "Secure Boot State" should say "On" or "Off," if your system supports Secure Boot. You can convert your legacy BIOS into UEFI if you want to use the Secure Boot functionality.
- If your computer doesn't support Secure Boot, you can move on to the next fixes. If it does, you should disable it, if it isn't already "Off." Restart your system and enter the BIOS.
- Look for the "Secure Boot" option in the "Boot," "Security," or the "Authentication" tab.
- Set "Secure Boot" to "Disabled." Press F10 to save your changes and restart the computer.
7. Reset Your BIOS
Resetting or updating your BIOS is one of the last resorts when other fixes didn't work for you. It's a risky process that can sometimes brick your system if done incorrectly or if there's a power outage during the update process.
It's recommended that you have a reliable power backup, like a UPS or an inverter, before attempting this fix. Make sure you follow the steps carefully that are outlined in our guide on how to upgrade your PC's BIOS.
8. Check Internal Cables
Finally, if your computer supports it, you can check its internals for any faulty cables that could be causing the 0xc000000f error. Some laptops or prebuilt desktops can lose their warranties if opened. Even for a PC you built yourself, making any drastic physical changes to the internals can cause additional issues. Hence, it's better to check your product manual before opening your desktop or laptop.
Once you're confident, turn off your computer and access the internal cables and make sure they're plugged in all the way. If you find any damaged or burnt cables, replace them with new ones. Once you're sure you've checked everything, close your computer and check whether the issue persists.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a faulty hard disk cause boot errors?
Yes, a faulty hard drive can often be the reason for frequent boot and file system errors. Over time, hard disks develop physical faults or corrupted file sectors that can not only lead to annoying Windows errors but can also damage your data beyond recovery. It's best to back up your most important hard drive data to a cloud storage location or replace your hard drive when it starts making unusual sounds or showing random "corrupted" or "not accessible" errors.
How can I maintain hard disk health?
If you're not in the habit of regularly backing up your hard drive, it's a good practice to assess your hard disk's health now and then. Windows provides built-in tools you can use to do so. Alternatively, you can use decent third-party tools to both check hard drive health and repair several common issues. Check out the best ways to check hard disk health in Windows for a detailed guide on monitoring your hard disk.
Should I disable Windows updates to avoid errors?
Windows Update usually protects your computer from security threats and keeps your system up to date with the latest features. But it can also create unexplained problems after a new update and force users to install updates they don't want to. In this case, you can choose to disable Windows updates permanently with the added risk of potential security incidents in the future. Although many users disable Windows Update without facing any problems later, it's still not completely safe to do so.
Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Tanveer Singh.
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