How to Fix a Reference By Pointer BSOD on Windows:
The adage that “nothing is perfect” is certainly true for software development, where bugs can affect the user experience. Unfortunately, if your PC is a . crashes with Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) ErrorOf course, a serious PC fault is occurring, and it is usually (though not always) caused by a bug in some code.
One of the most unusual BSOD errors to appear is the “reference by pointer” BSOD (reference_by_pointer). Trying to pinpoint the cause of this BSoD is difficult, but it usually points to problems that you can easily fix. So, if you are trying to troubleshoot a reference_by_pointer BSOD error, this guide should help you.
What causes reference by pointer BSOD error in Windows 10?
A reference by pointer BSOD error (also known as a reference_by_pointer or 0x00000018 error) usually points to a problem with your system files or device driver.
To help prioritize system resources, Windows internally refers to running elements (such as an open window) as “objects” that identify how often the elements are referenced (or used) is done elsewhere.
This value decreases until the object is deallocated, freeing up your system memory for other running services.
When a Reference_by_pointer message appears, Windows is looking up an incorrect reference count for the running object. Since this can be a serious security issue, Windows will shut down and display a BSOD, forcing your system to restart and clear all active memory in the process.
However, in almost every case, it is usually caused by a small piece of software. Hardware drivers are the most common cause, with graphics cards and other components such as network devices often causing the message. However, it can also be caused by other issues, such as corrupt system files or even failing hardware.
Before you try anything else, you should Check Your BSOD Memory Dump Files for more information. You’ll find important clues behind the cause of the reference by pointer BSOD, such as a driver file (with the .sys file extension) or a system process (such as ntosknrl.exe)
Once you have figured out a possible cause (such as a bad driver), you can follow the steps below to resolve the issue.
Switch to Safe Mode to Troubleshoot
After BSOD, your PC is forced to reboot. If a reference_by_pointer is stuck in a BSOD loop (another BSOD message is generated with each reboot), you will need boot in safe mode To start the troubleshooting process.
Safe Mode runs Windows with the most basic set of drivers and system processes needed to function properly, allowing you to troubleshoot driver issues without risking another BSOD.
You can also use Safe Mode to analyze your BSOD dump files before starting any other efforts to fix the problem.
- To boot into Safe Mode, you must interrupt the Windows boot-up sequence at least three times. To do so, power on your PC and wait until the Windows logo appears. Press your PC’s reset button (or press and hold your PC’s power button) to reboot, then repeat this at least twice.
- Windows will boot into automatic repair mode to try and solve boot loop After three failed boot attempts. once you reach automatic repair menu, select Advanced Options > Troubleshooting > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart To access your boot-up options.
- After a few moments (and a quick reboot), select your preferred Safe Mode boot-up option using your keyboard’s number keys. For example, choose 4 for standard safe mode, 5 with networking features enabled for Safe Mode, or 6 only a. for safe mode with command prompt terminal visible.
Windows will proceed to boot up using your chosen Safe Mode option, where you can continue with the troubleshooting steps outlined below.
Update system files and device drivers
A bug in windows or device driver can cause reference_by_pointer BSOD. To overcome this problem, you need to make sure that your system files and drivers are up-to-date by using Windows Update system.
- To start, right-click on the Start menu and select Adjustment To open Windows Settings.
- In the Settings menu, choose Updates and Security > Windows Update. Windows should automatically check for updates, but if it doesn’t, select check for updates. Choose install updates If there is an update available for you to install manually.
- Give Windows time to download and install new updates for your system. Once this is done, restart your PC for the new updates and drivers to load and complete the process. You can do this quickly by right-clicking on the Start menu and selecting shut down or sign out > restart.
Roll back the most recently installed driver or system update
While system updates go through a rigorous testing process, bugs and problems can still occur.
If a reference_by_pointer BSOD error only appears after you’ve recently updated your system files or device drivers, you may have introduced a bug set of files. Thankfully, Windows allows you to roll back the driver on windows and Uninstall any recent Windows Updates which are causing problems.
How to roll back device drivers
- To roll back a recently installed device driver, right-click on the Start menu and select device Manager.
- In device Manager Window, Detect device with recently updated drivers. Right-click on the device and select a quality.
- In Driver tab of a quality window, select roll back Driver the option. This will remove the most recently installed driver and reinstall the previously used version. after selecting roll back DriverFollow any additional on-screen instructions to complete the process.
- Once you have your driver back, restart your PC to complete the process by right-clicking on the Start menu and selecting shut down or sign out > restart.
how to remove system update
- To uninstall recent system updates, right-click on the Start menu and select Adjustment.
- In Adjustment menu, select Updates and Security > view Update history > uninstall updates.
- An old-fashioned Control Panel menu will appear. To sort the updates by date, select Foundation Day Category title to sort them. Locate the update you want to remove, then select uninstall to remove it. if uninstall Option not available, system update is considered necessary and cannot be removed.
- Follow any additional on-screen instructions to remove the update. Once it is uninstalled, restart your PC by right-clicking on the Start menu and selecting shut down or sign out > restart.
Check your system files for errors
Windows files are constantly changing, settings and files are updated regularly. Unfortunately, your Windows installation will suffer more devastating changes from time to time. malware infection For hard drive sector failures.
If you find that your Windows installation is somehow failing and it is causing the BSOD error, you can check for errors using SFC and DISM equipment.
- To run these tools, you need to open a new Windows PowerShell window. Right-click on the Start menu and select Windows PowerShell (Admin) To do this.
- In the PowerShell window, type dism.exe /online /cleanup-images /restorehealth choose more recorded on your keyboard. This will check your Windows system image (used to reset your installation files) for integrity issues. If there are missing or corrupted files, DISM will replace them.
- After the DISM tool is complete, type sfc / scannow To use the System File Checker tool to scan your Windows installation for errors. If it detects them, it will try to replace them using the new DISM-generated system image files to make sure your installation is working properly.
Restart your PC after SFC Tool completes the scan of your Windows installation files. If it can’t update or repair your files, you may need to look at more drastic options, such as reset windows 10 With a new installation.
Test Your Hardware (And Replace If Necessary)
Corrupt or small files not only cause system instability. For example, if your hardware is overheating, overworking, or just plain failing, system errors such as a reference by pointer BSOD are the next step before complete PC failure.
If heat is a problem, you’ll need clean your pc And consider upgrading your cooling to help solve the problem. Your next step is to thoroughly test your hardware, using CPU stress test and memory test tool, As well as checking your hard drive for errors.
If your hardware is the problem, your only answer is to replace it. You can replace individual components (such as your motherboard or CPU), but if the PC is too old to be repaired, you may need to consider a complete upgrade, replacing your PC entirely with a new one. replace with pre-built PC or build your new pc Instead.
Recovering from BSOD Errors on Windows
A reference by pointer BSOD error is usually not a concern, but without regular system maintenance, it could point to a serious problem with your PC. make sure to Keep your important files backed up elsewhere So that when your PC crashes you don’t lose your files and make sure system restore is enabled.
If you cannot fix the problem using the above steps, you may need to consider more drastic alternatives. If your hardware is faulty, you will need to Consider upgrading your PC Or changing it completely. Otherwise, it may be time erase and reset windows To restore stability, though you’ll need to do restore your files Later from backup.