Top 5 Ways to Fix “Unknown Hard Error” on Windows 10

Jun. 24, 2022 / Updated by Bessie Shaw to Windows 10

You may get stuck on “Unknown Hard Error” when you’re playing a game on your Windows 10 laptop or desktop. The error pops up and kicks you out of the game every few minutes unless you close the annoying “Unknown Hard Error” box. Some Windows 10 users also receive the popup or the BSoD of “Unknown Hard Error”, like the explorer.exe Unknown Hard Error, the sihost.exe Unknown Hard Error, the ctfmon.exe Unknown Hard Error, etc.

What Causes the Unknown Hard Error on Windows 10

Many factors can result in the Unknown Hard Error:

  • Corrupted or incorrectly configured system files

  • Registry error due to a recent software change

  • Damaged hard disk

  • Faulty device drivers

  • Virus or malware

How to Fix “Unknown Hard Error” on Windows 10 Laptop or Desktop

The “Unknown Hard Error” may not only pop up on the Windows desktop or show on the blue screen but also cause other system problems, like 100% disk usage, a slow boot of the Windows, a slow running computer, etc. So to prevent your PC from further damage, we’ve had top 5 methods below to troubleshoot the Windows error.


Note: It is recommended to finish the checks in the Safe Mode of Windows 10. If you don’t know how to enter the Safe Mode, click here.

Method 1. Perform a Clean Boot on the Windows 10 Computer

A clean boot is helpful to diagnose startups or services that cause the “Unknown Hard Error” on Windows 10. You can perform a clean boot to determine the culprits that cause the errors. Note: Make sure you log in Windows 10 as an Administrator before you perform the clean boot.

1. Use Windows shortcut keys Win + R to open the Run.

2. Type msconfig into the box.

3. Press Enter key.

4. Go to the General tab on the System Configuration box.

5. Choose the Selective Startup option.

6. Uncheck the Load startup items.

7. Choose the Services tab.

8. Check the Hide all Microsoft services.

9. Click Disable all button.

10. Click OK.


Then Restart the computer and follow the tutorial in the article How to Use Windows 10 Clean Boot to Fix PC Errors to check the faulty programs or services that cause the error.

Methos 2. Check the Recent Software Changes to Fix the Unknown Hard Error on Windows 10

If you’re sure which software, application or program you’ve installed or uninstalled recently causes the “Unknown Hard Error”, you can try removing or reinstalling the program to see if the error popup or the blue screen still persists.

Method 3. Perform an SFC/Scannow Command to Detect Corrupted System Files

Damage or corrupted Windows system files can cause the “Unknown Hard Error” on Windows 10. You can follow the steps below to repair the damaged system files with the SFC/scannow command.

1. Use Windows shortcut keysWin + X to launch the Jump List.

2. Select the Command Prompt (Admin). (Note: Windows 10 Creators Update users may need to open the Command Prompt (Admin) via the W category in the Start menu.)

3. Type sfc /scannow into the dialog box.

4. Press the Enter key.

Windows 10 will automatically scan the system and fix the corrupted system files.


Method 4. Use CHKDSK Command to Fix the “Unknown Hard Error”

If the hard disk is damaged, it will also cause the “Unknown Hard Error” and other blue screen of death errors. You can use the CHKDSK command to check disk error:

1. Open the Command Prompt (Admin).

2. Type chkdsk /f /r into the dialog box.

3. Hit the Enter key.

Then the Check Disk utility will automatically scan through the hard disk to detect and fix errors.


Note: You can change the format of the CHKDSK /? command line to fix the Unknown Hard Error on Windows 10. For more information about the command, see: How to Use CHKDSK Command to Check Disk Error in Windows.

Method 5. Repair Drivers to Troubleshoot “Unknown Hard Error” on Windows 10

Windows 10 also shows this “Unknown Hard Error” when faulty drivers are installed. Outdated, missing or incompatible Windows drivers often cause some common PC issues (ghost touch screen problem, no WiFi available, Bluetooth not working, etc.) and some serious system problems, such as blue screen errors.

In this case, you need to use some professional driver troubleshooters, like Driver Talent, to help to fix the Windows 10 “Unknown Hard Error”. Reviewed as the “Safest and Fastest Way to Update Drivers”, Driver Talent offers the official and WHQL drivers for Windows PC. You can click the button below to get the driver repair utility and troubleshoot the error instantly.

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Here are 3 easy steps to fix the problem:

1. Click the Scan to detect all the faulty drivers that cause the “Unknown Hard Error”.

2. Click the Repair to fix driver issues. Or click Update to download and install proper drivers.

3. Perform a restart to make the driver changes take effect.


Note: Don’t forget to back up important drivers and create a system restore point before any changes so that you can restore the system and the drivers once the PC runs into problems.

Last but not the least, it is better to conduct a malware or virus scan on Windows 10 to see if any culprit leads to the error. If all of the methods above don’t work, you may need to restore the system or do a clean install of Windows 10 on your computer to fix the problem.

Do drop a line in the comment section below or click the LEFT MENU on this page for more help if you have any questions or solutions about fixing the "Unknown Hard Error" on Windows 10. Any other Windows 10-related issues, see Windows 10 section on this site.


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