On your Windows 10 computer, when you create a System Restore point (say, “R1”), install Microsoft updates and then attempt to do a rollback to the “R1” state, the STOP error
0xc000021a appears on the screen and the computer doesn’t open your desktop.
This is a nightmarish situation caused by a System Restore design flaw in Windows 10, especially when we rely upon System Restore to undo a recent update or driver installation. Microsoft has acknowledged that this is a known issue in Windows 10. But there are workarounds.
As to why this problem occurs, Microsoft says that during the system restore process, Windows temporarily stages the restoration of files that are in use. It then saves the information in the registry. When the computer restarts, it completes the staged operation.
Windows then restores the catalog files and stages the driver .sys files to be restored when the computer restarts. But, when the computer restarts, Windows loads the current set of drivers before it restores the later versions of the drivers. Because the driver versions do not match the versions of the restored catalog files, the restart process stops.
Restart the computer by pressing the power or reset button on the chassis. You may need to power cycle the computer twice. And then the system defaults to the Windows Recovery Environment automatically.
In the Windows Recovery Environment, disable driver signature enforcement for the next startup, using the following steps:
- Select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → More recovery options → Startup settings, select Restart now.
- In the list of startup settings, select Disable driver signature enforcement, by pressing the 7 or F7 key.
- As Windows restarts, the System Restore rollback process should resume and finish successfully.
The above steps restore the computer to its “R1” state.
How to avoid the issue in the first place?
If you ever want to roll back the system configuration after installing updates or drivers, do it offline – via Windows RE.
- Click Start, Settings.
- Go to Update & Security → Recovery.
- Select Restart Now under Advanced Settings.
- When Windows restarts, select Troubleshoot → Advanced Options → System Restore.
- Follow the instructions to select a system restore point and restore the system.
For more information and screenshots, see the article Perform System Restore Rollback Offline in Windows 10 via Recovery Options
What does the error 0xC000021A generally mean?
Bug check 0xC000021A (“STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED”) occurs in a user-mode process, the most common culprits are third-party applications. If the error occurred after the installation of a new or updated device driver, system service, or third-party application, the new software should be removed or disabled to isolate the cause.
Generally, after the error 0xC000021A, the System Log in Event Viewer has additional error messages that help you pinpoint the device or driver that is causing the error. In Event Viewer, look for critical errors in the system log that occurred in the same time window as the blue screen.
The Stop error 0xc000021a during System Restore rollback is a huge inconvenience especially when the System Restore feature is considered to be the first and best choice to rollback a recent driver, update or configuration changes. Windows must be equipped well to deal with mismatched driver versions during the rollback process. Let’s hope Microsoft remediates the problem at the earliest. Until then, we’ll have to rely upon System Restore rollback offline via Win RE.
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About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.