Issue: How to Fix “Unknown Hard Error” on Windows 10?
DDE Server Window: explorer.exe – System Warning: Unknown Hard Error. This error turns the screen black and won’t let me do anything, except open Task Manager and try disabling the currently running apps. Reboot won’t help as the problem soon reoccurs. Could someone please help?
“DDE Server Window: explorer.exe – System Warning: Unknown Hard Error” is an pop-up alert that shows up in Windows 10 operating system and totally ruins PC’s performance. It may show when playing a game, opening or closing an app or doing random work with a PC. The Unknown Hard Error causes a real havoc on the system. As pointed out by people who encountered it, the error turns the screen black, freezes the taskbar, and can make all desktop icons gone.
The Unknown Hard Error may indicate explorer.exe, sihost.exe, ctfmon.exe, and other .exe files, so the first thing that you should do is to find out which application is responsible for the running of the mentioned file. If possible, try to update/reinstall that application or uninstall it temporarily.
Usually, the System Warning: Unknown Hard Error is triggered by corrupted system’s files or registry entries, so running a full scan with a professional PC optimization utility may be the right solution. In this case, we would recommend using Reimage because it will check system’s files, registry entries, and malware at the same time.
The DDE Server Window: explorer.exe – System Warning: Unknown Hard Error can also be caused by automatic Windows updates. Tens of people reported this problem right after the installation of automatic updates, so either your PC’s operating system either was injected by a corrupted update or the update might have damaged some of the system’s files. In this case, try running sfc/scannow and DISM utilities or roll back the update.
The utmost solution for the Unknown Hard Error would be a fresh install of Windows 10, but before that, please try to perform the methods that may help without the clean install.
Method 1. Clean boot
If the problem steps from the problematic software, the possible solution would be to try a clean boot.
- Click Windows key + R and type msconfig.
- On the System Configuration windows open the Services tab.
- Mark Hide all Microsoft services box and select Disable all.
- Open Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
- Click on each startup item and select Disable.
- Close Task Manager and click OK on the System Configuration window.
- Reboot the system.
If this fixed the Unknown Hard Error, you should enable the services one by one to find out which one is the culprit. Several people reported the Realtek Audio Service causes all of the problems.
Method 2. Run sfc/scannow and CHKDSK
This method is the most primitive one, but do not underestimate the capabilities of the commands. System File Checker and disk scan utilities are quite powerful tools that can fix a lot of internal system’s problems.
- Right-click on Windows key and select Command Prompt (Admin).
- Type sfc /scannow into the dialog box and press Enter to execute it.
- Once the scan completes, you will get a list of programs found and their status (fixed or not fixed).
- Then type chkdsk /f /r command in the Command Prompt window and press Enter.
- The Check Disk utility will also perform the scan and fix of the detected issues automatically.
Method 3. Roll back the update
Since most of the Windows 10 users encountered the DDE Server Window: explorer.exe – System Warning: Unknown Hard Error after the installation of automatic update, one of the solutions would be to uninstall the update:
- Click Windows key + I to open Settings.
- Select Update & Security and open Update History.
- Select Uninstall Updates.
- The system will open the list of updates in Control Panel applet. Select the update that you want to remove and select Uninstall.
In case you are not allowed to uninstall the update via Windows Settings, you may try to enable a System Restore Point. However, make sure that the point you have was created before the Unknown Hard Error started.
- Click Windows key and type Create a Restore point.
- Select System Protection and click on System Restore.
- Press Next and select the restore point that was created before the Windows 10 error started.
- Click Next and Finish.
- Finally, reboot the system.
If none of the methods helped to fix the Unknown Hard Error on Windows 10, the last thing you can try is a fresh Windows 10 install.
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