Full Guide: PANIC STACK SWITCH error in Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Downloading Windows 10 updates is mandatory if you wish your PC to run without any problems.
  • An outdated graphics card, network card, or audio drivers can cause the PANIC STACK SWITCH error, so we urge you to update these drivers as soon as you can.
  • Come to our BSoD troubleshooting section if you need assistance with another such error.
  • Big or small, the problems with your OS must be resolved eventually. Visit our Windows 10 errors Hub for help.
How to fix PANIC STACK SWITCH error in Windows 10
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BSoD errors are a major concern since they are usually caused by a hardware problem.

A number of Windows 10 users reported PANIC STACK SWITCH BSoD error on their computers.

And since these types of errors can be such a problem, today we’re going to show you how to fix this particular error.

How can I fix PANIC STACK SWITCH BSoD in Windows 10

Table of contents:

  1. Check for Windows updates and update your drivers
  2. Run the BSOD Troubleshooter
  3. Run the SFC scan
  4. Run DISM
  5. Check the hard drive
  6. Check your screensaver
  7. Remove your antivirus / problematic software
  8. Check your hardware
  9. Reset your PC

How to fix the PANIC STACK SWITCH error in Windows 10

Solution 1 – Check for Windows updates and update your drivers

Downloading Windows 10 updates is mandatory if you wish your PC to run without any problems.

Many updates bring new features, but most importantly Windows updates often fix many hardware and software problems that can cause a wide range of errors, such as PANIC STACK SWITCH.

If you wish to prevent these types of errors from occurring, we strongly advise you to download system updates regularly and keep Windows 10 up to date.

In addition to downloading updates, it’s also important to keep your drivers up to date.

Outdated or incompatible drivers can often cause BSoD error, therefore it’s crucial to update your drivers as often as you can.

According to users, outdated graphics cards, network card or audio drivers can cause PANIC STACK SWITCH error, so we urge you to update these drivers as soon as you can.

Another good practice is to update all the drivers on your PC, but that can sometimes be a long and tedious process.

If you wish to update a specific driver, you can do that simply by visiting your hardware manufacturer’s website and downloading the latest drivers for your device.

Alternatively, you can also download all the necessary files right from the Device Manager simply by following these steps:

  1. Open Power User Menu by pressing Windows Key + X and select Device Manager from the list.
  2. Find the driver you wish to update, right-click it and choose Update driver software from the menu.
  3. Click on Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Follow the instructions on screen and Windows 10 should automatically download the appropriate driver.

Update drivers automatically

Searching for drivers on your own can be time-consuming. So, we advise you to use a tool that will do this for you automatically.

Using an automatic driver updater will certainly save you from the hassle of searching for drivers manually, and it will always keep your system up to date with the latest drivers.

Tweakbit’s Driver Updater (approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus) will help you update drivers automatically and prevent PC damage caused by installing the wrong driver versions. 

After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best-automatized solution.

Here is a quick guide on how to use it:

  1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updaterdriver updater starting window
  2. Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
    scanning proccess of Tweakbit driver updater
  3. Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the Update driver link next to the driver name. Or simply click the Update all button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
    Automatically Update complete
    Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Solution 2 – Run the BSOD Troubleshooter 

The next thing we’re going to try is Windows 10’s built-in troubleshooter. This is a collection of troubleshooting tools for various issues within the system.

And it also includes a BSOD troubleshooter. So, running this tool is perhaps the easiest way to resolve the PANIC STACK SWITCH error.

Here’s how to run Windows 10’s troubleshooter:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to Update & Security section.
  2. Select Troubleshoot from the menu on the left.
  3. Select BSOD from the right pane and click Run the troubleshooter.Troubleshooting BSOD
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the troubleshooter.

Solution 3 – Run the SFC scan

If the built-in troubleshooter failed to resolve the problem, let’s try the SFC scan. This command-line tool scans your system and searches for potential problems.

The SFC scan will automatically resolve any issue, if the solution is possible.

Here’s how to run the SFC scan in Windows 10:

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu button, and open Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. Enter the following line and press Enter: sfc/scannow
  3. Wait until the process is done (it may take a while).
  4. If the solution is found, it will automatically be applied.
  5. Now, close the Command Prompt and restart your computer.

Solution 4 – Run DISM

And the final troubleshooting tool we’re going to try is DISM. This is perhaps the most powerful troubleshooter, as it deploys the system image all over again.

We’ll walk you through both standard and the procedure that utilizes the installation media below:

  • Standard way
  1. Right-click Start and open Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. Paste the following command and press Enter:
      • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  3. Wait until the scan is finished.
  4. Restart your computer and try updating again.
  • With the Windows installation media
  1. Insert your Windows installation media.
  2. Right-click the Start menu and, from the menu, choose the Command Prompt (Admin).
  3. In the command line, type the following commands and press Enter after each:
    • dism /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth
    • dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
  4. Now, type the following command and press Enter:
    • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /source:WIM:X:SourcesInstall.wim:1 /LimitAccess
  5. Make sure to change an X value with the letter of the mounted drive with Windows 10 installation.
  6. After the procedure is finished, restart your computer.

Solution 5 – Check the hard drive

If there’s a problem with your hard drive, BSOD issues are quite possible. To check if that’s the case, run the chkdsk command.

This command will scan all your partitions for potential problems. If the solution is available, this tool will also apply it.

Here’s how to run the chkdsk command in Windows 10:

  1. Enter the Advanced Startup (Restart your computer while holding the Shift key).
  2. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options.
  3. Select Command Prompt from the list of options.
  4. When Command Prompt appears, enter the following lines and press Enter after each line in order to run it:
    • bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd
    • bootrec.exe /fixmbr
    • bootrec.exe /fixboot
  5. Some users are also suggesting that you need to run additional chkdsk commands as well. To perform these commands, you need to know drive letters for all your hard drive partitions. In Command Prompt you should enter the following (but remember to use the letters that match your hard drive partitions on your PC):
    • chkdsk /r c:
    • chkdsk /r d:

    This is just our example, so keep in mind that you have to perform chkdsk command for every hard drive partition that you have.

  6. Restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved.

Solution 6 – Check your screensaver

Certain malware sometimes replaces your screensaver with a fake BSoD, so in order to fix this problem, we advise you to check your screensaver and change it to default.

To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter screen saver. Choose Change screen saver from the list of options.
  2. When Screen Saver Settings window opens, check your screen saver. Choose the screen saver that you want to use from the list and click on Apply and OK to save changes.

It’s uncommon for malware to change your screensaver, but a number of users confirmed that malware is the cause for PANIC STACK SWITCH error message, so we urge you to check your screensaver just in case.

In addition to checking your screensaver manually, many users are suggesting to use tools such as Malwarebytes to completely delete the malware.

Solution 7 – Remove your antivirus / problematic software

Certain software, such as VPN clients, for example, isn’t fully compatible with Windows 10.

And if you installed any new software in the last few days before the PANIC STACK SWITCH error started appearing, we advise you to remove that software.

It’s worth mentioning that antivirus software can also be the cause of many BSoD errors, so you might want to temporarily uninstall your antivirus.

Common antivirus tools that can cause BSoD errors are Norton, Avast, AVG, and in some cases Kaspersky.

Therefore if you’re using any of these tools, we advise you to temporarily uninstall them and check if that fixes the problem.

It’s also worth mentioning that almost any antivirus software can cause PANIC STACK SWITCH error.

So even if you don’t use any of the aforementioned antivirus tools, we still urge you to uninstall any antivirus program that you have installed.

When removing antivirus software you should know that certain files and registry keys are left on your computer, and even those files can cause BSoD error to manifest.

To completely remove antivirus program from your PC, we advise you to use the dedicated uninstaller tool.

Many security companies have these tools available on their websites and you can download them for free.

Solution 8 – Check your hardware

Sometimes recently installed hardware can cause BSoD error to appear, especially if it’s not compatible with your PC.

If PANIC STACK SWITCH error started appearing recently, we advise you to replace or remove any recently installed hardware and check if your PC works well without it.

If the problem still persists, it’s most likely that the issue is caused by faulty hardware.

BSoD errors are commonly caused by a faulty RAM, so in order to test your RAM, we suggest that you download and run MemTest86+ for a couple of hours.

If there are no memory errors, BSoD is probably caused by your motherboard or any other faulty hardware.

Solution 9 – Reset your PC

We have to mention that this solution only works if PANIC STACK SWITCH error is caused by a certain software problem.

Before you reset your PC, you should back up all your files from your C drive. Resetting your PC isn’t hard, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Restart your computer while it boots. Repeat this step until you enter Automatic Repair mode.
  2. Choose Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.
  3. Select Remove everything > Only the drive where Windows is installed. Keep in mind that choosing this option will delete all files and folders from your C drive.
  4. Follow the instructions and wait for the process to finish.

BSoD errors such as PANIC STACK SWITCH can be troublesome, but we hope that you managed to fix this problem by following one of our solutions.

FAQ: Read more about the PANIC STACK SWITCH error

  • What is the PANIC STACK SWITCH error?

The PANIC STACK SWITCH error is a BSoD error often caused by an outdated graphic card, or network card and audio drivers.

  • How can I fix the PANIC STACK SWITCH error?

Check for Windows updates and update your drivers, then run the BSOD Troubleshooter. If you want to is this problem for good, follow our step-by-step guide.

  • What is a BSoD error code?
A blue screen of death, a BSoD, or a stop error indicates a system crash, in which the operating system has reached a condition where it can no longer operate safely. Read more about what can cause a BSoD error.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in June 2016 and was revamped and updated in August 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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