Is the Windows 11 desktop crashing? Here’s what to do

by Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim has always been fond of technology, be it scrolling through the settings on his iPhone, Android device, or Windows. And at times, unscrewing the device to take... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Several users have recently reported that their Windows 11 desktop kept crashing randomly.
  • This could be due to problems with the RAM or storage drive, outdated graphics driver, overheating, and the presence of malware or virus.
  • Also, find out how to solve those issues that cause the File Explorer or Microsoft Store to crash in Windows 11.
Fix the Windows 11 desktop crashing problem

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What’s the one error that users dread the most? It’s probably the OS crashing while working on something important. And unfortunately, several users have recently reported the Windows 11 desktop crashing while working.

When the desktop crashes, any unsaved work would be lost wreaking havoc for many. Also, it’s a clear signal that something is not right, and the problem needs to be addressed at the earliest to prevent any further issues.

While there are a plethora of underlying causes, you would be able to narrow it down to a few within a few minutes based on the information listed in the next section.

What causes the desktop crashing issue in Windows 11?

Listed below are the common reasons that may cause the system to crash in Windows 11, and the previous iterations as well:

  • Malfunctioning driver
  • Issues with the storage drive or RAM
  • System infected with malware or virus
  • Oveheating
  • Problems with the power supply
  • Corrupt system files
  • Conflicting applications
  • Damaged Registry

To identify the underlying issue, try to recollect any changes that were made around the same time you first encountered the Windows 11 desktop crashing problem. Whether you updated the drivers, changed the RAM or drive, installed any new apps, or modified the Registry.

If you remember doing any of these, just head to the relevant fix and execute it. Nevertheless, you can try them all in the listed sequence for quick troubleshooting, in case you are unable to pinpoint the underlying cause.

How can I do to fix Windows 11’s desktop crashing issue?

1. Check for issues with RAM and storage drive

  1. Press Windows + R to launch the Run command.
  2. Type mdsched.exe in the text field, and either click on OK or hit Enter to launch the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool.Run Windows Memory Diagnostics to fix desktop crashing in Windows 11
  3. Click on Restart now and check for problems to run the scan.Restart now and check for problems

Issues with the RAM or drive most likely cause the Windows 11 desktop to crash. If you have, in the recent past, changed either of these, check its compatibility.

The RAM installed on the computer is used to temporarily store the files that are being run. An issue with it can cause the Windows to both, lag as well as crash. But, insufficient RAM shouldn’t cause the OS to crash, so you can cross that off the list.

You can run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to scan for problems with the RAM and fix them. The computer will finally restart and the memory diagnostics scan will run. After it’s done running, check if the Windows 11 desktop crashing problem is resolved.

Also, check whether the drive is dying, either be the HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or SSD (Solid State Drive). If the OS crashes when you try to open certain files or apps, it indicates that a certain part of the drive is dead. In this case, we recommend backing up your data, and getting the drive repaired on replaced.

There are a bunch of third-party software tools to back up the stored files. Though the guide is for Windows 10, the programs should work perfectly fine on the latest iteration as well.

2. Uninstall recent Windows update

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Select Windows Update from the tabs listed in the navigation pane on the left.Windows Update
  3. Click on Update history.Update history
  4. Select Uninstall updates.Uninstall updates
  5. Now, select the recent update from the list, and click on Uninstall to remove it.Uninstall Windows update to fix Windows 11 desktop crashing
  6. Click Yes in the confirmation prompt that appears.Confirm change

Another likely scenario, if you started encountering the error after updating Windows 11, is a bug in the current version itself. In which case, it’s best that you uninstall the recent Windows update and revert to the previous stable version.

Microsoft releases major updates twice a year, meant to enhance the system’s performance. But at times, these updates may introduce instability and cause Windows 11 to crash.

After reverting, check if the Windows 11 desktop crashing problem is resolved. In case the error persists, head to the next method listed here.

Several users have reported problems with the Settings app. If that’s the case with you, fix issues preventing the Settings app from opening.

3. Update the graphics driver

  1. Press Windows + S to launch the Search menu.
  2. Enter Device Manager in the text field at the top, and click on the relevant search result that appears.Launch Device Manager to fix Windows 11 desktop crashing
  3. Double-click on Display adapters to view the devices listed under it.View devices under Display adapters
  4. Right-click on the graphics adapter, and select Update Driver from the context menu.Update driver to fix Windows 11 desktop crashing
  5. Next, select Search automatically for drivers from the two options in the Update Driver window to let the system automatically scan for the best available driver on the computer.Search automatically for drivers

Outdated drivers are one of the primary reasons behind a bunch of issues, and if it’s the graphics driver, one of the problems you may encounter is desktop crashes.

With each new version, certain enhancements in terms of features and performance are introduced. Hence, it’s recommended that you have the latest version of it installed.

The Device Manager method listed here only looks for an updated version that is already downloaded on the computer. And, there’s a possibility that Windows wouldn’t be able to update the driver if you haven’t already downloaded the latest version.

In which case, you can either look for the latest version in Windows Update or download it from the official manufacturer’s website.

If that sounds like too much trouble, you can always go for third-party utilities. We recommend using DriverFix, a dedicated tool that scans the web for the latest version and automatically installs it, thereby keeping the installed drivers always up-to-date.

4. Remove recently installed applications

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Select Apps from the tabs listed in the navigation pane on the left.Apps tab
  3. Click on Apps & features on the right.Apps & features
  4. Next, locate the app that you recently installed, click on the ellipsis next to it and select Uninstall from the list of options.Uninstall app to fix Windows 11 desktop crashing
  5. Again, click on Uninstall in the confirmational prompt that appears.Confirm change

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If you started encountering the Windows 11 desktop crashing problem after installing a new app, it’s most likely the app that’s causing the issue. And, it’s best that you uninstall the app right away.

In case you are unable to identify the precise app, list out the ones that have recently been installed. Now, start uninstalling them one at a time, and after removing each, check if the error is fixed.

Once you uninstall the malfunctioning or incompatible app, reinstall the others that were removed during the process.

5. Fix overheating problems

Overheating can do two things to your computer, slow it down or crash the OS. The latter is an extreme case, but the problem in itself is easily identifiable.

When the computer overheats, the CPU fan will start to run at full throttle, an indication that you should decrease the number of processes to reduce the load.

There are a bunch of ways to reduce overheating in Windows 11, and our guide will walk you through the most effective ones.Control CPU fan to fix Windows 11 desktop crashing

Also, for the tech-savvy users, there are a bunch of ways to control the fan speed in Windows 11 to further keep the overheating in check.

6. Check the power supply

A faulty power supply is also a common reason for the Windows 11 desktop crashing problem. If the power cable is damaged, it could affect the supply and cause the desktop to crash.

While most users only check the power cable, the source, as likely to be the culprit, often goes unnoticed. Therefore, we recommend connecting the computer to a different power source. If it works fine, the issue lies with the source itself, and you should get it repaired at the earliest to avoid any damage.

7. Scan for malware or virus

  1. Press Windows + S to launch the Search menu.
  2. Type Windows Security in the text field, and click on the relevant search result that appears to launch the app.Launch Windows Security
  3. Next, click on Virus & threat protection from the options listed here.Virus & threat protection
  4. Click on Scan options under Current threats.Scan options
  5. Select the Full scan option and click on the Scan now button to scan all the files stored on the computer.Run Full scan
  6. Wait for the scan to finish and check if the error is fixed.

A Windows 11 system infected with malware or virus will also encounter the desktop crashing issue. Apart from that, the malware is likely to affect the system’s performance or lead to data loss.

Hence it’s recommended that you periodically run a scan to identify and eliminate any malware or virus present on the system. You can use any of the effective third-party antiviruses or the built-in Windows Security to run the scan.

8. Change display resolution

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Click on Display on the right in the System tab that opens by default.Display settings
  3. Next, click on dropdown menu for Display resolution under Scale & layout.Display resolution
  4. Select a display resolution that maintains that 16:9 aspect ratio. Some of the options are listed below:
    • 3840×2160
    • 2560×1440
    • 1920×1080
    • 1600×900
    • 1366×768
    • 1280×720
    • 1152×648
    • 1024×576
  5. Choose one from the above list for your computer.Select suitable resolution to fix Windows 11 desktop crashing

Many users with an ultra-wide display reported that changing the display resolution did the trick for them. While the issue should not be encountered ideally and a patch for it should be released soon, choosing an optimal resolution should work until then.

It’s recommended that you maintain the 16:9 aspect ratio for optimal performance. If that doesn’t work, head to the method listed next.

9. Run SFC scan

  1. Press Windows + S to launch the Search menu.
  2. Enter Windows Terminal in the text field at the top, right-click on the relevant search result, and select Run as administrator from the context menu.Launch Windows Terminal with administrative priveleges
  3. Click on the downward arrow at the top, and select Command Prompt to open it in a new tab. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + Shift + 2 to launch the Command Prompt.Open Command Prompt
  4. Type/paste the following command and hit Enter to run the SFC scan:sfc /scannowRun SFC scan to fix Windows 11 desktop crashing
  5. Wait for the scan to complete, restart the computer, and check if the Windows 11 desktop crashing problem is fixed.

The SFC or System File Checker scan is used to identify the corrupt system files, and if any are found, replace them with their cached copy stored on the computer.

Corrupt system files are known to affect the functioning of the OS and cause errors from time to time. So, if the fixes listed above have not worked, running an SFC scan would fix the Windows 11 desktop crashing problem.

What do I do if File Explorer keeps crashing in Windows 11?

If you are facing problems working on the File Explorer, easily fix the issues causing the File Explorer to crash by following the steps listed in our guide. Also, for those facing issues with the Microsoft Store, learn how to fix it.

Several users have also reported encountering problems while playing games. If that’s the case, our dedicated guide lists all the methods to eliminate problems causing the games to lag or freeze in Windows 11.

That’s all there’s to the Windows 11 desktop freezing problem along with the most effective fixes for similar errors as well.

By the time you reach the end of the article, the problem should be resolved. In case it persists, you can reset Windows 11 to its factory settings or roll back to Windows 10, though that should be the last resort.

Tell us which fix worked for you, and if it was an incompatible app, do drop in its name in the comments section below.

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