Windows 10 Kernel ntoskrnl.exe is missing or contains errors, Error code 0xc0000221

Windows 10 Kernel ntoskrnl.exe is missing or contains errors, Error code 0xc0000221

the 0xc0000221 the error code is met by some Windows 10 users, just after the computer fails to start. Several users report being stuck in an auto repair loop with this error code. In this article, we will demystify the possible causes, then propose solutions to remedy the problem.

The full error message for this error code is shown below.

Your PC device needs to be repaired.

The operating system could not be loaded because the kernel is missing or contains errors.

File: WINDOWS system32 ntoskrnl.exe

Error Code: 0xc0000221.

Possible causes

After studying the problem and experiencing different symptoms of this error, we reduced it to four causes that could trigger the error code 0xc0000221, as shown below:

  1. Hardware problem created by a new RAM or a new hard disk: There are a few reported cases where users started receiving this error after installing a second USB flash drive or connecting a new slave hard drive.
  2. Secondary GPU: The problem is sometimes reported on computers with an SLI or CrossFire configuration. As a result, the power supply is not able to provide enough power to support all connected devices.
  3. System file corruption: The error code points to a system-level problem related to file corruption.
  4. A third party service is interrupting startup: There are reported cases where the error was triggered by an unauthorized third party service.

The Windows 10 kernel is missing – Error 0xc0000221

We have provided some troubleshooting steps to help you fix error code 0xc0000221. Below you will find a set of potential solutions that can help you solve the problem. We recommend that you try the patches in the order in which they were presented.

  1. Start in safe mode.
  2. Perform SFC, CHKDSK, and DISM analysis in this order.
  3. Check the RAM for problems.
  4. Remove the secondary GPU and external hard drives / SSDs.
  5. Perform a system restore.
  6. Perform a repair installation of the Windows 10 operating system.

Let's explore the practical aspect of applying these solutions.

IMPORTANT: Whatever the reason, your priority should be to try to go into safe mode. If you can enter safe mode, it's perfect; otherwise, you will need to use your Windows installation media.

1) Start in safe mode.

In safe mode, your computer will start in a limited state with only the basic files and drivers needed for the boot process. If your computer boots very well in safe mode, it is likely that the problem is caused by software that you previously installed.

The following is what you need to do to resolve this error once you have successfully started in safe mode:

If you are unable to get through the startup screen, you can force the Advanced boot options screen by interrupting start (Turn on the PC, turn it off when the Windows logo appears Repeat the operation 2 or 3 times and always turn off when the Windows logo appears) the boot process.

If you manage to complete the startup process, you can also open the Retrieving the parameters tab by opening a Run dialogue (Windows key + R) And typing ms-settings: recovery, press Enter. Then just click on Restart now button under Advanced start.

Once arrived at Advanced boot options screen, select help then click Advanced options.

Inside Advanced options, click on Startup parameters, then click on the To restart button.

When you arrive at Startup parameters again, press F4, F5, or F6 to start with one of three available safe modes.

If your computer starts successfully in safe mode, the diagnosis is sure, it is a service of an application that you recently installed that causes the error. In this case, you can start uninstalling recently installed programs that may be causing the problem or try to systematically exclude programs and services from the boot process until you reach to find the culprit.

But if you get the same error 0xc0000221 when booting in safe mode, go to the next fix below.

2) Perform an SFC, CHKDSK and DISM scan in this order.

By running these three built-in utilities designed to correct Windows file corruption, you can eliminate the risk that the 0xc0000221 error code does not occur due to a file system or file system corruption. .

You will find below how to use these utilities to resolve this error:

You start by running the system file checker. If you are unable to skip the startup screen, follow the steps above to access the screen. Advanced boot options menu and then go to Troubleshoot> Advanced Options> Command Prompt. Then, type the command below and press Enter to run the System File Checker.

sfc /scannow

Once sfc / scannow process is complete, restart your computer and see if the error persists. If this is the case, return to a command prompt with elevated privileges, as shown above, type the following command, and press ENTER to run CHKDSK:

chkdsk /f C:

Note: In the command above, if your installation of Windows 10 does not reside on the C player, change the letter accordingly.

Once the procedure is complete, restart your computer and see if you can go beyond the startup screen. If the same error repeats, return to the high value Command Prompt as described above, copy and paste the following command and press Enter to begin the DISM analysis:

dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

Once this process is complete, restart your PC and see if it starts without error. Still not resolved, you can try the next fix.

3) Check the RAM for problems.

You can check if your installed RAM modules trigger this error. To do this, simply open your computer and remove one of the modules (if you use two RAM keys). If your computer starts with a single RAM key, try swapping the position of these two keys. Problems sometimes occur when the fastest memory is placed behind the slowest memory.

In addition, you can run a MemTest on both RAM keys. If you confirm that your RAM modules do not trigger this error, you can proceed to the next fix.

4) Remove the secondary GPU and external hard drives / SSDs.

Here, simply disconnect all unnecessary devices – secondary hard drive, external hard drive, DVD optical drive, second SLI GPU (or CrossFire configuration), non-critical devices. Once you have stripped your computer to a minimum, turn it on and check it is starting correctly. If it starts without the 0xc0000221 error code, always reconnect the non-essential components until you can identify the culprit.

If this hotfix does not resolve the problem, go to the next fix.

5) Perform a system restore.

You can start to experience this problem right after you install Windows Update. In this case, performing a system restore might solve the problem.

If you do not have an appropriate system recovery point or if the procedure failed, you can proceed to the next fix.

6) Perform a repair installation of the Windows 10 operating system.

If at this point you still can not resolve error 0xc0000221, you can repair the installation of Windows 10; your files, settings and personal apps will be kept.

That's all. Good luck!

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