FIX: Reference by pointer BSoD error

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Blue Screen of Death errors shouldn’t be taken lightly since they are often caused by a hardware problem. 
  • Your antivirus can interfere with Windows and cause this error to appear. To fix the problem, disable your antivirus and check if that solves the issue.
  • If you meet with a BSoD error, don't panic. Take a deep breath and go to out BDoD troubleshooting hub because you will definitely find a solution there. 
  • Windows 10 errors occur pretty often and we're no strangers to these pesky problems. Find all our guides and solutions in our Windows 10 errors hub.
How to fix Reference by pointer BSoD error
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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.

How can I fix REFERENCE BY POINTER BSOD 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

Reference_by_pointer BSOD

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 BitdefenderBullGuard, 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:

  1. Download Display Driver Uninstaller.
  2. After you’ve downloaded the program, run it.
  3. 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.

Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

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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:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter msconfig. Press Enter or click OK to run it.
    Reference by pointer overclock
  2. Once the Windows Configuration window opens, select Selective Startup and uncheck Load startup items.
  3. Go to Services tab and check Hide all Microsoft services. Now click the Disable all button.
    Reference by pointer blue screen of death
  4. Go to Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
    Reference by pointer Windows 8 64 bit
  5. Right click each item on the list and choose Disable from the menu.
    Reference_by_pointer ntoskrnl.exe
  6. After you disable all startup items, go back to System Configuration window and click on Apply and OK.
    Reference_by_pointer BSOD

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:

  1. Restart your computer a 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.
    Reference_by_pointer wdf01000 sys
  2. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings. Click the Restart button.
  3. 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.

FAQ: Read more about BSoD errors

  • How do I fix Reference by pointer BSoD error?

Try to perform a System Restore and make sure you install any Windows 10 updates. If the problem persists, follow our expert guide to fix the error.

  • What caused BSOD?
Black Screen of Death errors can be caused by bad device drivers or malfunctioning hardware. Read more on what can cause a BSoD error.
  • Is Bsod dangerous?
The BSoD error itself is not dangerous but unfortunately, most of them signal a real problem about your hardware. Check our list with the best hardware diagnostic tools for Windows 10.

Editor’s Note: This article continues on the next page with additional solutions to fix reference by pointer errors. Bookmark our hub dedicated to fixing Windows 10 errors just in case you need to fix other issues later on.

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