How to Fix “Unknown hard error” on Windows 10?

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Are you encountering an “Unknown Hard Error” on Windows 10? The “Unknown Hard Error” message is associated with the explorer.exe file, sihost.exe file, ctfmon.exe, and other .exe files. This is a very critical error that freezes your system and leads to potential data loss. Regardless of the criticality of the error, it can still be fixed. If you are also worried about your hard drive data, then use you can use Remo Recover. This advanced data recovery tool can easily scan each sector of your drive (showing an unknown hard drive error) to safely restore data from it.

I am getting encountered with an error right after I installed the Windows 10 update. DDE Server Window: explorer.exe – System Warning: Unknown Hard Error. This error is turning the screen black and is not letting me do anything. Reboot won’t help as the problem soon reoccurs. Can someone help me to get rid of this unknown hard error?

What is an Unknown hard error?

popup messages can occur while playing a game, opening or closing applications, executing any file, automatic Windows updates, or doing just about anything on your system.

Several Windows users reported on forums that due to the Unknown Hrad error, they are experiencing problems like the screen turning black, the taskbar freezing, desktop icons disappearing, etc. Ultimately, it is not allowing you to do anything on the system. Before you try out any solution to this error, it is important to understand the exact cause of this issue.

How to Fix unknown hard error?

The unknown hard error is commonly encountered on explorer.exe file, sihost.exe file, ctfmon.exe, and other .exe files. By following the below-listed method you can easily fix the unknown hard error

  1. Clean boot your system
  2. Revert recent software updates
  3. Use CHKDSK method
  4. Run DSIM command 
  5. Run SFC scan 
  6. Uninstall fault updates
  7. Perform System restore 

What Causes the ‘Unknown Hard Error’?

Following are some of the reasons behind the ‘Unknown Hard Error’.

  • The unknown hard error could be caused by explorer.exe, sihost.exe, ctfmon.exe, or other .exe files. Once you find the culprit behind the issue, you can uninstall that application temporarily or go for an update.
  • The Unknown hard error can also be caused by corrupted system files or registry entries.
  • Malware attack or Virus infection
  • A problematic Windows update

How do I Fix the “Unknown hard error” 

Follow the below-listed methods to fix the unknown hard error with ease. The listed 7 methods are free solutions. However, after fixing the “unknown hard error” your data might be at stake, in such cases make use of Remo Recover.

1. Do a clean boot of the system

If a software conflict or any problematic software caused the Unknown hard error, performing a boot cleanup is an ideal solution.

  • Press the Windows +R button to open the Run window.
  • Now type msconfig in the Run application search bar and hit Enter.
  • On the System Configuration window, go to Services
  • Now check the box saying Hide all Microsoft services and select Disable all. Click OK.

  • Now go to the Startup 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.

Now check if the issue is resolved now. If this method solved the error, enable all the services one by one to find out which item caused this problem.

2. Revert recent Software updates

If you find out that particular software or program caused this error using the first method. Try uninstalling the corrupt or missing program/app. Then reboot the PC normally and see if it is working fine without any problem or error.

3. Using CHKDSK command

If your hard drive is damaged, it can cause an Unknown hard error and other blue screens of death errors.

Use the CHKDSK command to get rid of this error:

  • Press Windows + R button to open the Run window.
  • Type cmd in the run prompt and click OK.
  • Type CHKDSK H: /F /R and hit Enter. You can replace “H” with your hard drive letter.

Checkdisk utility will scan for errors and fix them.

4. Run DISM Command

You have to run DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) command to fix corrupt, damaged, or lost files, which can result in Windows PC malfunction or even crash. These can also lead to PC data loss. Thus, try fixing the ‘Unknown Hard Error’ by following the given steps:

  • Press Windows + R button to open the Run window.
  • Type cmd in the run prompt and click OK.
  •  In the open Command Prompt window, type the following command, and hit Enter. 

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth && DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

5. Run SFC /scannow

If your hard drive is damaged, it can cause an Unknown hard error and other blue screens of death errors. You can use the  SFC and then CHKDSK command to get rid of this error. System File Checker (SFC) is a Windows built-in utility to fix corrupt system files. 

  • Press Windows + R button to open the Run window.
  • Type cmd in the run prompt and click OK.
  • Type sfc/scannow and hit Enter.

  • Once the scan is completed, you can see a list of programs found and their status (fixed or not fixed).

Then use the CHKDSK command

  • Type CHKDSK H: /F /R and hit Enter. You can replace “H” with your hard drive letter.

Checkdisk utility will scan for errors and fix them.

6. Uninstall the Faulty Windows Update

If the issue still persists after running the DISM and SFC commands, uninstall the problematic update. Maybe you are encountering this error after installing a certain Windows 10 update. Thus, try uninstalling the update by following the given steps:

  • Click on the Windows button.
  • Select Settings > Update & Security.
  • Go to View update history and open it.
  • Click on Uninstall Updates from the View update history page.
  • Select the recently installed update and click Uninstall > Yes.
  •  Reboot your system and check if the error is fixed.

7. Perform System Restore

You may perform a System Restore, which creates checkpoints automatically when it detects any system change. If the Unknown Hard Error occurs due to any system change or issue, you may fix it after following the below-mentioned steps:

  • Type Create a restore point in the Windows search box and open it.
  • Click on System Protection and select System Restore > Ok
  • Reboot your PC and check if the error is fixed.

If the issue still persists you can try to update the drivers. 

Remo Recover - An advanced tool to retrieve data after an Unknown Hard error

The Unknown Hard Error can cause issues like PC screens turning blue or black, taskbar freezing, Windows unable to boot, etc. In such situations, you may lose the data that is stored on the system. No need to worry! You can easily recover your important data with the help of a data recovery tool such as Remo Recover.

If there was any data loss while trying out any of the above methods as well, you can try this reliable tool Remo Recover to restore all your data.

Remo recover helps you in restoring missing/lost data due to various system errors including the ‘Unknown Hard Error’. You will be able to retrieve all kinds of files from the formatted, corrupted, non-bootable, or crashed systems. Download the software, follow simple on-screen instructions and your data will be back in just a few clicks!

  1. Download and install Remo Recover and run the application 
  2. Choose the drive or partition from the screen which incurred data loss from ‘Unknown hard error”
  3. If you are unable to find the drive click on the Can't Find the Drive option
  4. Click on the Scan button. The tool will initiate Quick Scan, followed by Deep Scan where you can simultaneously view the data being recovered through Dynamic Tree View
  5. Once the tool finishes the scan will you able to Preview the files being recovered Preview the Recovered Files
  6. Click on the Save option to save your recovery session 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is explorer.exe error?

Explorer.exe unknown hard error is disk error that usually occurs due to corrupt system files, corruption of the operating system, malware intrusion and occur causes. It is usually encountered while opening the explorer.exe file.  However, by following the below-listed methods you can effortlessly resolve the issue.

2. Does performing system restore for explorer.exe unknown hard error cause data loss?

Yes, performing system restore takes you back to the changes when the backup was set. However, by using a reliable data recovery utility you can easily recover your lost or deleted files from your operating system 

3. Does new software updates cause "unknown hard error"?

Yes, it occurs in some cases. The error usually occurs due to corruption or fault file settings. However, by following the by reverting back to the previous you may fix the corruption

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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