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How to Fix Unknown Hard Error in Windows 10

The “Unknown Hard” error that keeps on appearing in Windows 10 can put users in an unpleasant situation. This kind of error leads to the freezing of the taskbar, blackening of the screen, and sudden disappearance of the icons on the Desktop. And each time you try to open Windows, the system will only give you an error message saying that it’s a critical error and some applications like Start and Cortana won’t work.

Upon analysis, it seems that the “sihost.exe” is not responding and that it is the one that’s causing the c000021a Unknown Hard error to pop up. Sihost.exe files represent the Shell Infrastructure Host which is an essential component in the Windows operating system. The Windows Shell Infrastructure Host is primarily responsible for handling some graphical elements of the operating system interface such as the Start menu and the taskbar transparency. And so if the Shell Infrastructure or Sihost.exe has stopped, has been removed, or corrupted, you will most likely have issues with the overall functionality of the Windows operating system and you’ll get the Unknown Hard error

In addition, the ctfmom.exe Unknown Hard error may also occur due to incompatible drivers installed on your PC. Ctfmom is a process that identifies inputs such as handwriting, languages, and many more. It’s the one that controls the functions of background behavior. To resolve this issue, you need to first try to identify which application is the one that’s running the sihost.exe file. And if needed, you need to either update or reinstall or completely uninstall the problematic application.

Option 1 – Try to run the System File Checker

The SFC Scan or System File Checker, us a built-in utility in Microsoft Windows that can be found in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. This tool allows users to scan and restore any corrupted system files in Windows that might be causing the Unknown Hard error to appear. Before you use this tool, make sure to find out whether the sihost.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you have to remove or if it’s a file that belongs to a trusted Windows application. Once you have that sorted out, follow the steps below.

  • Tap Win + R to launch Run.
  • Type in cmd in the field and tap Enter.
  • After opening Command Prompt, type in sfc /scannow

The command will start a system scan which will take a few whiles before it finishes. Once it’s done, you could get the following results:

  1. Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.
  2. Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.
  3. Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them.

Option 2 – Try to use System Restore

You can also try using System Restore. This is one of the ways you can use it to back up your PC. Since restore points are created automatically each week by System Restore, you can use System Restore to restore your computer back to an earlier good point in time.

Option 3 – Try to troubleshoot the error in a Clean Boot State

Putting your PC in a Clean Boot state can help you diagnose and troubleshoot the issues in your system. During this state, you can start the system with a minimum number of drivers and startup programs that will surely help you in isolating the root cause of the Unknown Hard Error.

  • Log onto your PC as an administrator.
  • Type in MSConfig in the Start Search to open the System Configuration utility.
  • From there, go to the General tab and click “Selective startup”.
  • Clear the “Load Startup items” checkbox and make sure that the “Load System Services” and “Use Original boot configuration” options are checked.
  • Next, click the Services tab and select the “Hide All Microsoft Services” checkbox.
  • Click Disable all.
  • Click on Apply/OK and restart your PC. (This will put your PC into a Clean Boot State. And configure Windows to use the usual startup, just simply undo the changes.)

After putting your PC in a Clean Boot State, try creating a system restore point and see if the problem still occurs. Clean Boot troubleshooting is designed to help you isolate the problem. For you to execute a clean boot troubleshooting, you must do a couple of actions (the steps are given above) and then restart your PC after every action. You might have to disable one third-party app after the other to really isolate the issue. And once you’ve narrowed down the problem, you can either disable the third-party app that’s causing the problem or remove it. Note that you must switch your PC back into the Normal Startup mode after you’re done troubleshooting the problem. Here’s how you can do it:

  • From the “Start” menu, go to System Configuration.
  • After that, switch to the General tab and click the option for “Normal Startup”.
  • Next, go to the Services tab and clear the checkbox for “Hide all Microsoft services”.
  • Then find and click “Enable all” and if prompted, you have to confirm.
  • Afterward, go to the Task Manager and enable all the Startup programs and confirm the action.
  • Restart your PC when prompted.

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Tip 1: Read Motherboard information

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Tip 14: Run commands as an administrator

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  • After opening Command Prompt, execute the following command and hit Enter:
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Option 4 – Try increasing the size of the Hibernation file

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Option 5 – Try to run the troubleshooters

Blue Screen Troubleshooter:

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Performance Troubleshooter:

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System Maintenance Troubleshooter:

  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type “msdt.exe /id MaintenanceDiagnostic” in the field and hit Enter to open the System Maintenance Troubleshooter.
  • After that, click on Next to start troubleshooting the problem and wait until it’s done then check if it fixes the problem or not.

Option 6 – Uninstall the programs you installed recently

Chances are, some programs that you just installed might be the one that’s causing the BSOD error. Thus, you need to uninstall the program to resolve the problem.
  • In the search box, type in “control” and then click on Control Panel (desktop app) among the search results.
  • After that, select Programs and Features from the list which will give you a list of all the programs installed on your computer.
  • From there, look for the concerned program and select it and then uninstall it.
Note: If you have downloaded the app from the Windows Store, you can simply right-click on it from the application list and then uninstall it.

Option 7 – Run Windows Defender offline

You also have the option to run Windows Defender offline and scan your computer to see if any malware has infected the computer and the one that’s causing the INTERNAL_POWER_ERROR Blue Screen Error.
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  • After that, click on Repair your computer and on the blue screen, select Troubleshoot and then select the Advanced options menu.
  • From there, select Command Prompt and once you open it, enter each one of the commands given below by sequence.
    • bootrec /FixMbr
    • bootrec /FixBoot
    • bootrec /ScanOS
    • bootrec /RebuildBcd
  • Once you’re done executing the commands given above, type “exit” to close the Command Prompt window and then restart your computer and see if it fixed error code 0xc000014c.
On the other hand, if rebuilding the BCD using the /RebuildBCD option didn’t help, you can try a crude way to rebuild the boot record from scratch. You can do that by following the given steps below which will export and delete/backup the BCD available in the system.
  • Go to the Advanced Recovery Mode.
  • From there, go to Command Prompt and execute the commands given below and make sure to enter them one after the other.
    • bcdedit /export C:BCD_Backup
    • c:
    • cd boot
    • attrib bcd -s -h –r
    • ren c:bootbcd bcd.old
    • bootrec /RebuildBcd
If it still didn’t help, then troubleshoot the problem further with the help of the following instructions.

Option 1 – Disable the Secure Boot in the BIOS

Disabling the Secure Boot in the BIOS settings is definitely recommended to resolve the error. To disable Secure Boot, here’s what you have to do:
  • First, boot your computer into Windows 10.
  • Next, go to Settings > Windows Update. From there, check if there is anything that you have to download and install if you see any available updates. Usually, OEMs send and update the list of trusted hardware, drivers, and operating systems for your computer.
  • After that, go to the BIOS of your computer.
  • Then go to Settings > Update & Security > Advanced Startup options. If you click on Restart Now, it will restart your computer and give you all the advanced options.
  • Next, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options. As you can see, this screen offers you further options including System restore, Startup repair, Go back to the previous version, Command Prompt, System Image Recovery, and UEFI Firmware Settings.
  • Select the UEFI Firmware Settings which will take you to the BIOS.
  • From there, go to the Security > Boot > Authentication tab where you should see Secure Boot. Note that every OEM has its own way of implementing the options so it varies.
  • Next, set Secure Boot to Disabled and set Legacy Support to On or Enabled.
  • Save the changes made and exit. Afterward, your computer will reboot.

Option 2 – Run System File Checker

You could also run a System File Checker or SFC scan. All you have to do is select Command Prompt from the Advanced Options. Once you’ve opened Command Prompt, type the “sfc /scannow” command and tap Enter to execute it.

Option 3 – Disable the Early Launch Anti-Malware Protection

  • You need to restart your computer in the Start Menu first while holding down the Shift key on your keyboard.
  • After that, it will restart your computer to Startup Settings.
  • Now ensure that the 8th option is labeled as “Disable early launch anti-malware protection.
  • Then tap the F8 key since the aforementioned option above is listed at number 8. This should launch and load Windows on your PC with the Early Anti-malware protection disabled for that session only when you try to carry out the same task and then check if the error related to the Winload.efi file is now fixed.

Option 4 – Try to run Automatic Startup Repair

In this option, you need to boot your computer into the Advanced Startup Options and from there, run the Automatic Startup Repair and then wait until the process is completed.

Option 5 – Try to reset the BIOS or the UEFI Settings

If updating the BIOS didn’t help in fixing the error, you can try to reset the BIOS instead.
  • Start your computer and tap the F10 key during the booting process to enter the BIOS. If it does not work, you can try tapping the F1 or F2 key as well as the Del key.
  • Once you’re already in the BIOS, tap the F9 key to get the prompt to RestoreLoad default configuration now for the BIOS.
  • Next, click on Yes and then follow the next on-screen instructions that appear to set the BIOS back to its default settings.
  • Once you’re done restoring the default settings of the BIOS, restart your computer and then check if it now boots properly.

Option 6 – Try to physically check the hardware

You should also check the physical status of the hardware in your computer. You can clean the dust off the hardware components like the Network Card of the computer. You might want to use a small blower or you could also use a soft cloth and run the components gently. Make sure that you don’t damage any parts with moisture or cause harm to any circuits while you carry out this task.
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