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Solved: Unknown Hard Error on Windows 10 / 8 / 7 (5 Working Solutions)

Windows Stuck on “Unknown Hard Error” while you’re playing a game on your Windows 10 laptop or desktop? A number of users report System Warning dialog box with Unknown Hard Error message suddenly appears and Windows 10 Screen goes black while playing a game, running any application, or performing other tasks. Corrupted system files, incorrect Windows registry (due to some software changes), hard disk problems, or hardware device driver conflict etc mostly cause this Unknown Hard Error and stop running activities on your PC.


Fix “Unknown Hard Error” on Windows 10

First of all, if you notice the problem started recent Hardware or Software installation, Temporarily remove them, And check this will fix “Unknown Hard Error” if the device driver confliction causing the issue.

Also, disable the security software (antivirus) if installed, To check and make sure the security application not blocking the application to run with Unknown Hard Error.

Uninstall recently installed third party applications to check compatibility issues not causing the error.

Microsoft regularly releases windows updates with bug fixes to patch the security hole created by third-party software. Install the latest Windows Cumulative Updates some times fix the problem for you.

  1. Open Settings app,

  2. Click on update & Security then windows update

  3. Next click check updates to download windows update from Microsoft server.

  4. Restart your PC to apply them and check if this fixes the unknown hard error on Windows 10.

Perform Clean Boot

This is the most important step to diagnose the problem, if any third party application, startup service causing Windows 10 Unknown Hard Error. Once you know the main culprit leading to this issue, you can easily resolve it.

Let’s perform Clean boot in Windows 10/8.1/7 and start your computer by using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs:

  1. Type msconfig in the Start search and then hit the Enter key

  2. This will open the System Configuration utility.

  3. Now on the System Configuration dialog box, go to the Services tab

  4. select Hide all Microsoft services checkbox, and then click on the Disable all button.

Hide all Microsoft services
  1. Next, got to the Startup tab and click on the Open Task Manager link.

  2. On the Startup tab of the Task Manager, select each startup item one by one and then click on the Disable button.

  3. That’s all click apply and restart windows check if the error still persists.

If performing clean boot fixed the explorer.exe Unknown Hard Error in Windows 10 then you should enable all the services one by one to identify which one is the real culprit.

Run DISM command

As discussed before corrupt or malfunctioning system files on windows cause different errors to include “Unknown Hard Error“We recommend running DISM command with System File Checker utility that helps to scan, repairing, and restoring these corrupted files.

To run the DISM command and SFC utility open command prompt with administrative privileges.

Type command dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth and press enter key to execute the command.

DISM restore health command

This will check the system image for component store corruption, perform repair operations automatically, and records that corruption to the log file. This can take around 10-15 minutes up to a few hours to finish depending on the level of corruption.

Run system file checker

After complete the Scanning process, again on the same command prompt window type sfc /scannow and press enter to run the system file checker utility.

system file checker utility Windows 10

This will start scanning windows 10 for corrupted system files if found any the sfc utility automatically restore them from a compressed folder located   %WinDir%\System32\dllcache. Wait until 100% complete the scanning process, after that restart windows and check there is no more Unknown Hard Error.

Run Check Disk to detect Disk Errors

Again run chkdsk command to check and make sure it’s not due to hard disk error. This is especially common for sihost.exe and ctfmon.exe unknown hard error. Let’s run chkdsk with add extra parameters to force chkdsk check disk drive errors and fix them.

  1. Type cmd on start menu search,

  2. Right-click on the command prompt and select run as administrator.

  3. Here type command chkdsk C: /f /r and press enter key.

Here chkdsk command stands for check disk errors. C is the drive letter where the windows installed. The “/f” parameter tells CHKDSK to fix any errors it finds; “/r” tells it to locate the bad sectors on the drive and recover readable information

check disk for errors windows 10

When the command returns a response that tells you chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process.

  1. Type Y key to schedule this volume to be checked on the next reboot.

  2. Restart your computer to let the chkdsk run.

  3. Now the Check Disk utility will scan the hard disk to detect any possible errors and then it will automatically repair any errors it finds.

Update Video Driver

If installed device drivers are outdated, corrupted or not compatible with the current windows version this will cause Unknown Hard Error. Especially if you are getting this error while playing games this mostly causes due to an Outdated display driver.

Open device manager using devmgmt.msc,

this will display all installed device driver list.

Here look if any driver with yellow exclamation mark

Try to update or reinstall the driver. specially reinstall the display driver, to do this uninstall the currently installed driver from the device manager. Visit your device manufacturer website (for laptop users, dell, hp, Lenovo, Asus etc and if you are using desktop pc visit the motherboard manufacturer website) download and install the latest display driver. Restart windows and check there is no more unknown hard error.

Also if the problem started after recent windows 10 version 21H1 upgrade, try Rollback windows to the previous version option. If there is no Rollback option use the System Restore feature to revert back changes to the previous working state. Which mostly fixes the problem.

Did these solutions help to fix ” sihost.exe unknown hard error on Windows 10 / 8 / 7″? Let us know which option worked for you.

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