When you hit the power button on your computer tower or laptop, generally, you expect the computer to power on and load up without fault. Unfortunately, for those on Windows 10 computers who either do not know what device drivers are or are unaware of how to update device drivers, may be met with a blue screen of death instead. This blue screen of death may pop up immediately after you boot your computer up or it may take ten to fifteen seconds before the computer runs into the error that is causing the infamous blue screen of death. In the case of the error code, “system_thread_exception_not_handled” this error is commonly seen on boot up and can get your computer stuck in a reboot loop, making it impossible to use the computer at all. In this article, we are going to look at what this code means, when it occurs, why it happens, and we will outline 5 methods for fixing it.
What does the “System Thread Exception Not Handled” error mean?
The “system_thread_exception_not_handled” error indicates that a system thread in your computer has generated an exception for an error that the handler did not catch. Due to it not catching and fixing the error, a blue screen of death has resulted, causing the computer to try and collect information about the error. This stop code is often accompanied by the following numbers: 0x0000007E, 0x1000007E or, if you are lucky, is accompanied by the file name that is causing the error, such as: atikmdag.sys, nvlddmkm.sys, igdkmd64.sys, etc. Unfortunately, with this particular error, the computer almost always ends up in a reboot cycle which requires you to use safe mode to break.
When does this error occur and why does it happen?
The “system_thread_exception_not_handled” error primarily occurs when you boot the computer up from shutdown or on restart. However, it can occur sporadically and is known to pop up when the user is running a program that requires specific graphic drivers to work. This error happens when the computer has incompatible drivers installed (most commonly graphic drivers), which are either outdated, corrupted, or plain wrong. Graphic drivers can be manipulated by malware and can also be incorrectly installed, which are other reasons why you would get the “system_thread_exception_not_handled” on Windows 10.
There is a file name attached to the error code: What Does It Mean?
If you are lucky, the “system_thread_exception_not_handled” error code will have a file name attached to it, indicating which graphic driver is causing the problem. If you update or repair this graphic driver, you will be able to resolve the error completely. Common file names that accompany this BSOD error are the following.
- Atikmdag.sys – this graphic driver comes from the ATI Radeon Family which relates to your ATI video card. If you have an AMD installed graphics card in your computer, it means that the drivers for this card are out of date or incorrectly installed.
- Nvlddmkm.sys – this graphic driver is for the Nvidia Windows kernel driver and it is related to your Nvidia video card. If you have a Nvidia powered graphics card installed, it means that the drivers for this card are out of date or incorrectly installed.
- Dxgmms2.sys – this is associated with the DirectX drivers that you have installed.
- Ntfs.sys – this is for the Windows NT Server.
- Bcmwl63a.sys – this is for the Broadcom 802.11 Network Adaptor. This adaptor requires a wireless driver that is developed by Broadcom Corporation. If this is installed incorrectly or outdated, you are likely to get the “system_thread_exception_not_handled” error.
- CMUDA.sys – this is the driver that is associated with USB device audio.
If you have any of the above listed when the error pops up, it means that you need to uninstall it and reinstall it or update the driver. If you have a different system file attached with the error code, you will need to search up the driver file name online to find out which driver is having an issue. If no system file comes up with the error, you will need to update all major drivers on your computer which include any network, LAN, wireless drivers, sound and audio drivers, and display drivers (graphics).
How to Boot Into Safe Mode on Windows 10?
The first thing you are going to want to do is to boot into safe mode, as this is what will allow you to break the reboot loop that you are inevitably stuck in. Since it is likely that you cannot access your settings, we are going to get you to boot into Windows Recovery Environment (winRE) prior to safe mode.
- Hold down your computer’s power button for at least 10 seconds so that it turns off. Once it is completely off, press the power button again to turn it back on.
- As soon as you see any sign that Windows has started (like the logo), hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn it off again. Press the power button to turn it back on.
- Repeat this process until your device fully restarts and you enter winRE.
To get to safe mode from winRE, you will want to choose the “Troubleshoot” option from the list. Then choose “Advanced options,” “Startup settings,” and “restart”. After your computer restarts, you will be greeted with a list of options. You want to hit F5 for Safe Mode with Networking.
5 Methods for Fixing “System Thread Exception Not Handled” on Windows 10 Systems
1. Find out which driver is faulty
There are several ways you can do this, but the easiest way is checking the system log which tracks events. To do this, you will need to open up the event viewer.
- On your keyboard, hit the Windows key + R to pull up the “run” dialogue box.
- Enter in “eventvwr” into the box and hit okay.
- Head down to where it says “Windows logs” and click to have the menu drop-down.
- Click on “system” within this drop-down menu to view all recent events.
- Find the “system_thread_exception_not_handled” error and see which driver it is associated with.
2. Update, roll back, or reinstall your drivers
The easiest way to fix incompatible drivers is by updating them, rolling them back to the previous version, or if you have the most recent version, reinstalling them. To do this, you will need to open up your device manager by either typing “device manager” into your computer’s search or by hitting the Windows key + X and selecting “device manager”.
- To update your drivers, you will need to go through your device list and right-click on every piece of hardware that would have a driver and choose to update it. This includes your disk drives, audio devices, network adaptors, sound devices, and display adaptors. When you click “update driver” you can have it search automatically for the most recently updated version.
- To roll back your drivers, go through your device list and right-click on every piece of hardware that has a driver, and choose “properties”. You will then want to navigate to the “driver” tab and click on the “roll back” option. Make sure to click, yes!
- To reinstall a driver, you will need to uninstall the device first. You will then need to navigate to the device manufacturer’s website, find your device there, and download the most recent driver for that device and install manually.
3. Rename the faulty driver
If you have a file name associated with the “system_thread_exception_not_handled” error code, you can always rename the driver to something else and Windows will fetch a new copy of it and reinstall it. You will need to know what hard drive the driver is installed on first.
- Open up the command prompt app by searching “command prompt” or type “cmd“ in your computer’s search.
- Type into the command prompt box, C: (hit enter) cd windows\system32\drivers (hit enter) ren FILENAME.sys FILENAME.old (replace filename here with the faulty driver file listed with the error code).
- Then type “exit” and restart the computer.
4. Repair your system files
If you think that you have corrupted system files that are impacting your device drivers, you can repair them by running Windows repair programs, SFC and DISM.
- To run SFC, open up the command prompt as an administrator. If you are in safe mode, you will find the command prompt option under the “advanced options” in the list.
- Type in “sfc /scannow” and hit your Enter key. This will replace any damaged, lost or changed system files.
Note: If you run into an SFC /Scannow error when starting the scan, we have written a dedicated article on how to solve “Windows Resource Protection Could Not Perform The Requested Operation“.
If the problem persists after running SFC, you can run DISM to restore the “health” of your computer.
- Open up the command prompt as administrator and type in the following one by one.
- Exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
- Exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
5. Restore your PC to an earlier version
If you have made backups of your computer system, you can restore it to an earlier period of time when you were not getting the “system_thread_exception_not_handled” error code. To do this though, you will need either a system repair disc for Windows or a recovery drive.
- Insert the system repair disc into the computer and choose your language preference.
- Click on the repair option and choose to troubleshoot, advanced options.
- Then choose system restore and follow the instructions given.
While uninstalling, reinstalling and updating out of date drivers will fix the issue for the majority of people, those who still get the error after completing all five of the above methods may want to consider a clean reinstallation of the operating system. Doing a complete wipe and reinstall of the operating system will reset you back to factory settings so to speak and will require you to update your operating system and update the basic drivers to their newest versions.