Full Fix: SYMBOLIC INITIALIZATION FAILED error in Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic avatar. By: Milan Stanojevic
8 minute read

Home » Full Fix: SYMBOLIC INITIALIZATION FAILED error in Windows 10

Without a doubt the most problematic types of errors on Windows 10 are Blue Screen of Death errors. These errors will restart your computer whenever they appear in order to prevent damage to your computer. BSoD errors can be problematic, and today we’re going to show you how to fix SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error.

Fix SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED BSoD error

  1. Make sure Windows 10 and your drivers are up to date
  2. Run the BSOD Troubleshooter
  3. Run the SFC scan
  4. Run DISM
  5. Check the hard drive
  6. Remove incompatible software/antivirus
  7. Reset Windows 10
  8. Check your hardware

Fix – SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED Windows 10 error

Solution 1 – Make sure Windows 10 and your drivers are up to date

Windows 10 might be a great operating system, but it’s certainly not perfect. In some cases Windows 10 can have compatibility issues with certain hardware or software, and in order to fix those issues, it’s important to download updates on regular basis. Many of these hardware and software issues can be the cause for BSoD error, therefore it’s crucial to run Windows Update to download and install the latest updates.

Downloading updates is rather important for system stability and safety, but it’s also important that you download the latest drivers for your hardware. In some cases outdated or incompatible drivers can cause BSoD errors to appear, therefore it’s crucial to keep your drivers up to date. Updating drivers is relatively simple, and in order to do it, you just need download them online and install them. You can find the latest drivers available on your hardware manufacturer’s website. Alternatively, you can also install the drivers from CD that you got alongside your hardware. Bear in mind that drivers on that CD might not be the latest, but they might work better than default Windows 10 drivers.

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 here is Windows 10’s built-in troubleshooting tool. This tool is designed to deal with all kinds of system issues, so it might be helpful with the SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error, as well.

Here’s how to run Windows 10’s troubleshooting tool:

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

Solution 3 – Run the SFC scan

The next troubleshooting tool we’re going to try is the System File Checker. This tool scans your computer for potential issues, and resolves them automatically (if possible). So, if the SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error is caused by a corrupt system file, the SFC scan will deal with it.

Here’s how to run the SFC scanner 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 third troubleshooting tool we’re going to use while trying to resolve the SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error is DISM. Deployment Image and Servicing (DISM), as its name says, re-deploys the system image, so it’s possible it will also resolve some potential issues along the way.

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 – Remove incompatible software/antivirus

In some cases SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error can be caused by certain outdated or incompatible software, and the only solution is to find the problematic software and uninstall it. It’s worth mentioning that recently installed or updated applications can also cause BSoD error, therefore if you installed any applications before the error started appearing be sure to remove them.

Another common cause for BSoD errors is antivirus software. Windows 10 comes with its own Windows Defender antivirus, but many users tend to install third-party solutions instead. Third-party antivirus software can sometimes cause BSoD errors to appear, therefore it’s important to remove any installed antivirus software. To completely remove certain antivirus software it’s recommended to use a special uninstaller tool. Many antivirus companies offer these tools for their software, so be sure to download them.

Solution 7 – Reset Windows 10

If the SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error is caused by a software, you can fix that by performing Windows 10 reset. Resetting Windows 10 will delete all files and folders from your C drive, so be sure to create a backup. After you created a backup, you can reset Windows 10 by following these steps:

  1. Restart your computer few times while it boots. This should start the Automatic Repair process.
  2. Choose Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.
  3. Select Remove everything > Only the drive where Windows is installed > Just remove my files. Click the Reset button.
  4. This should start the reset process. Follow the instructions to complete Windows 10 reset.

After the reset process is completed, all your files from C drive will be deleted and you’ll have a clean installation of Windows 10. If the problem was caused by a problematic software or a driver, it should be fixed after Windows 10 reset. If the problem still exists, it’s most likely a hardware issue.

Solution 8 – Check your hardware

If the SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error still appears even after you resetted Windows 10, it’s most likely that certain hardware is causing this problem. If you installed any new hardware recently be sure to remove or replace it because it might not be compatible with your PC. If the problem still persists, you should check if your hardware is working properly.

Most common cause for BSoD errors is faulty RAM and users reported that the SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error was fixed after finding and replacing the faulty RAM module. To find a faulty RAM module you need to power down and unplug your computer case, open it, and remove all but one RAM modules. Now turn on your PC and test it for a while to see if it works. In addition you can also download MemTest86+, put it on a USB flash drive and boot your PC from it. Bear in mind you need to run MemTest86 for couple of hours in order to perform a thorough scan.

If your RAM is working properly, you need to check other hardware components such as hard drive, motherboard, graphic card, etc. Finding the faulty hardware on your own can be tricky, so it might be best that you contact an expert. We strongly recommend you to download this tool (100% safe and tested by us) to fix various PC problems, such as hardware failure, but also file loss and malware.

SYMBOLIC_INITIALIZATION_FAILED BSoD error can be problematic, but users confirmed that in most cases the cause of this error is a faulty memory module. Before you replace your RAM, be sure to try other solutions from this article as well.

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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