Full Fix: Reference_by_pointer error on Windows 10, 8.1, 7
Blue Screen of Death errors shouldn’t be taken lightly since they are often caused by a hardware problem. REFERENCE_BY_POINTER BSOD error can be a nuisance on Windows 10, but fortunately, there are few ways to solve this problem.
Fix REFERENCE_BY_POINTER BSOD error on Windows 10
Reference_by_pointer error can be problematic because it will crash your PC whenever it appears. Speaking of this error, users reported the following problems:
- Reference by pointer Windows 7 64 bit, Windows 8 64 bit – Many users reported this error on both Windows 7 and Windows 8. Even if you don’t use Windows 10, feel free to try all of our solutions since they also work with both Windows 7 and Windows 8.
- Reference_by_pointer wdf01000 sys, ntoskrnl.exe, atikmdag.sys, tcpip.sys, ntkrnlpa.exe, win32k.sys – Sometimes this error is followed by the name of the file that caused it. If this happens, you need to do a bit of research before you find the application or driver that is responsible for this error.
- Reference_by_pointer BSOD – This is a blue screen error, and just like any other error it will forcibly restart your PC in order to prevent damage to your system. However, you might be able to fix the problem by using some of our solutions.
- Reference by pointer overclock – Several users reported this issue after overclocking their PC. If any of your hardware components is overclocked, be sure to remove overclock settings and check if that solves the issue.
- Reference by pointer blue screen of death, crash – This is a blue screen of death error and as such it will cause your PC to crash whenever it appears. To fix the issue, be sure that third-party applications aren’t interfering with your Windows installation.
Solution 1 – Check your antivirus
Your antivirus is quite important, but sometimes it can interfere with Windows and cause REFERENCE_BY_POINTER error to appear. To fix the problem, it’s advised to disable your antivirus and check if that solves the issue.
If the issue persists, your next step would be to remove the antivirus software. Uninstalling the antivirus isn’t always enough, so it’s a good idea to use a dedicated uninstaller tool to completely remove it. Most antivirus companies offer dedicated uninstallers for their software, so be sure to download one for your antivirus.
After removing your antivirus, check if the problem is resolved. If the issue was caused by your antivirus, it’s advised to switch to a different antivirus solution. There are many great antivirus tools on the market, and if you’re looking for a new antivirus, we advise you to try Bitdefender, BullGuard, and Panda Antivirus. All these tools offer great protection and they are fully compatible with Windows 10, so they won’t cause any issues.
Solution 2 – Remove your graphics card driver and install the minimal version of the driver
AMD owners reported that after installing the minimal version of the graphics card driver the REFERENCE_BY_POINTER error was fixed. This solution apparently works for some AMD owners, but even if you don’t own AMD graphic card you can still try this solution.
Firstly, you need to remove your graphics card driver, and you can do that by following these steps:
- Download Display Driver Uninstaller.
- After you’ve downloaded the program, run it.
- Once the DDU starts, follow the instructions on the screen to remove your graphics card driver.
Once the driver is completely removed, you need to download the latest minimal version of the graphics card driver. The minimal version comes with core drivers and without any additional software. To download the minimal version of the graphics card driver you need to visit your graphics card manufacturer’s website, locate your graphics card and download the latest drivers for it.
Be sure to select the minimal version of the driver that doesn’t include any unnecessary software. After installing the latest minimal version of the driver, REFERENCE_BY_POINTER error should be permanently fixed.
Downloading the latest drivers for your graphics card is rather simple, but if you don’t know how to do it properly, we wrote a short guide on how to update graphics card driver on your PC, so be sure to check it out.
Outdated drivers can often cause BSOD errors and crashes, so it’s important that you update them as soon as you can. Updating drivers manually can be a tedious process, but you can use this Driver Update software to download all the necessary drivers with a single click.
Solution 3 – Remove problematic software
In some cases, certain software can cause these types of errors, therefore you need to find and remove the software that is causing REFERENCE_BY_POINTER pointer error. The simplest way to do that is to perform Clean Boot. To do that, just follow these steps:
- Press Windows Key + R and enter msconfig. Press Enter or click OK to run it.
- Once the Windows Configuration window opens, select Selective Startup and uncheck Load startup items.
- Go to Services tab and check Hide all Microsoft services. Now click the Disable all button.
- Go to Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
- Right click each item on the list and choose Disable from the menu.
- After you disable all startup items, go back to System Configuration window and click on Apply and OK.
After your PC restarts, check if your computer is stable. If there are no BSOD errors, it means that the error was caused by one of the installed applications. Now you just need to find the problematic application, and in order to do that, you need to follow the same steps and enable applications and services one by one until you find the one that was causing this problem.
Once you find the problematic application, it’s advised to remove it from your PC and check if that solves the problem. There are many ways to remove an app, but the best way is to use an uninstaller application. There are many great uninstaller applications available, but the best are Revo Uninstaller and IOBit Uninstaller, so feel free to try any of them.
Alternatively, you can start Windows 10 in Safe Mode. To start Safe Mode, do the following:
- Restart your computer few times during the boot sequence to start Automatic Repair. If you don’t want to restart your computer manually, you can just press and hold the Shift key and click the Restart button.
- Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings. Click the Restart button.
- When your computer restarts you’ll see a list of options. Select Safe Mode with Networking by pressing 5 or F5.
Windows 10 Safe Mode starts with only basic programs and drivers, therefore, if the issue is caused by software, you should be able to use Safe Mode without any issues.
Solution 4 – Reinstall Windows 10 and format your hard drive partition
Users reported REFERENCE_BY_POINTER BSOD error while playing video clips in Windows Media Player. According to few users, this error can be fixed by reinstalling Windows 10 and formatting your hard drive partition. This is a drastic solution, and we urge you to try any other different solution before you decide to reinstall Windows 10. If you decide to reinstall Windows 10, make sure to create a backup for your important files so you don’t lose them.
Solution 5 – Check your hardware
REFERENCE_BY_POINTER and many other Blue Screen of Death errors are often caused by your hardware, and if you installed any new hardware recently, be sure that you remove it or replace it.
In addition to new hardware, faulty hardware is also an often cause for BSOD errors. Faulty RAM is usually the common cause of these types of errors, so be sure to test all your RAM modules one by one in order to find the faulty one. If you want to perform a detailed inspection of your RAM, you can use MemTest86+ or any similar tool. If your RAM is working properly, check other major components such as your motherboard, hard drive, etc.
Solution 6 – Check if your PC is overheating
Overheating is one potential cause for REFERENCE_BY_POINTER error, so if you’re encountering this problem, be sure to check the temperature on your PC. There are many great tools that can help you with that, but one of the best is AIDA64 Extreme.
This is a powerful tool that allows you to see all sorts of information related to your PC along with your temperature. After installing the tool, keep it running in the background and keep a close eye on your PC temperature.
If your CPU or GPU temperature goes above the recommended values and that causes the crash, you might have to clean your PC from dust. This is rather simple, and to do that you just need to disconnect your PC from the power outlet, open the computer case and use the pressurized air to clean your components.
We have to mention that opening your computer case can void your warranty, so keep that in mind. Several laptop users reported that cleaning their PC from dust solved the problem for them, so be sure to try that.
REFERENCE_BY_POINTER BSOD error can be problematic, but in most cases, you can fix it by updating your drivers or by downloading and installing the minimal version of the graphics card driver.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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