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A Guide to the FATAL SYSTEM ERROR Blue Screen of Death Error

The “FATAL SYSTEM ERROR” BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) error may appear during the initialization process for Windows XP. This error normally occurs when the operating system is unable to locate a device driver (SYS File), or if the existing file is corrupted or damaged. This error is referred to in many instances as a system crash, wherein the system stops due to unsafe operating conditions. This means that installing the required device driver or replacing the corrupted file may resolve this BSOD error.

In some situations, this BSOD error may be caused by a corrupted or missing User32.dll file, which is the core process in the Windows XP operating system that builds the user interface with installed devices. The functionalities of this DLL file include window management controls for standard processes, processing user inputs from the mouse and keyboard, display and management of the mouse pointer cursor, and other processes that relate to user inputs and standard controls.

This BSOD error is also known as “FATAL SYSTEM ERROR” and “Windows STOP0xC000026C” or “Windows STOP0xc0000221[Unable to load device driver] Driver_Name”, wherein the Driver_Name is the device driver file that caused the error message. Some users of Windows XP have reported this BSOD error, which normally appears on the screen during the initialization of the system as:


To fix the “FATAL SYSTEM ERROR” BSOD error, identify which of the two probable situations may have caused the error. If the error is due to a missing or damaged device driver file, install or replace the file by opening the Windows XP Recovery Console. You can do this by inserting the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD- or DVD-ROM drive to restart the computer, then pressing R after the appearance of the “Welcome to Setup” screen. When the command prompt appears, type CD windows\system32\drivers, and then follow the prompts for renaming the damaged driver file. In case of a missing driver file, follow the prompts for copying the device driver from the Windows XP CD-ROM to the folder for Drivers.

If the error is caused by corrupted or missing User32.dll file, follow the procedures for opening the Windows XP Recovery Console, and then type CD windows\system32 when the command prompt appears, press ENTER, then type ren user32.dll user32.bak and press ENTER to rename the DLL file.

After executing any of the two procedures, type exit, then press ENTER. Remove the Windows XP CD-ROM from the drive and restart the computer. If the procedure fails to correct the error, you may need to perform a repair install or an in-place upgrade of the system.

If these two solutions do not fix the problem then you can also try hitting the F8 key while your computer is starting and select Advanced Options and then Last Known Good Configuration. This will boot your computer using the last good known configuration (effectively this is a system restore, but it should not affect your files).

As always please leave any comments or questions below in the comments section or ask us a questions at ReviverSoft Answers.

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