How to Fix: 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' Error

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Bill S. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I just upgraded to Windows 10. Every time I boot my computer, I receive an error message that says 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working'. There are at least 3 of these notifications whenever I sign into Windows 10, and they only happen after I login. I have searched high and low to try and figure out why I keep receiving this error message but I'm completely stumped. Can you help? "

My response:

This is a good question. When I first upgraded to Windows 10, I also received the error message that 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' and was able to fix it by removing some programs from launching at the startup - but it requires a little bit of detective work. That said, the 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' error may also indicate a much more deeply rooted problem; as such, I have provided an exhaustive approach to fixing the error.

Option #1: Disable All Non-Microsoft Programs in the Startup and Test

The Windows startup contains Microsoft services, as well as third party programs that automatically launch whenever you sign into Windows. By temporarily disabling all non-Microsoft programs in the Windows startup, you should be able to determine if in fact one (or more) of your startup programs is causing the 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' error.

IMPORTANT: bookmark this page in your browser so you can come back to it, because your computer will need to reboot multiple times using this guide.

Then, do the following:

  1. Click Start and type in "msconfig" (no quotes). This will bring up the System Configuration utility.
     
  2. Click the Services tab and then click the check box that says "Hide all Microsoft services". Once the box is ticked, a list of all your third-party programs that run at startup will be displayed in the window.
     
  3. Next, click the "Disable all" button. All the non-Microsoft programs that were previously selected to run at startup will no longer launch at startup.
     
  4. Click the Apply button, and then click OK.
     
  5. Close any other open windows on the system and save your work. Then, click the close button at the top right of the System Configuration window. A window will pop up asking you to reboot in order to apply the changes; click Yes.
     
  6. Once the computer reboots, sign on as usual. If you don't see the 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' error, then you have verified that it is one or more non-Microsoft programs in your startup that is causing the error. In that case do the following:

    (a) Open the System Configuration utility again (refer to Steps #1 and #2 above).

    (b) Check mark one program in your Startup list to re-enable it again.

    (c) Test to see if that one program you re-enabled is causing the error by rebooting the computer (refer to Step #5 above).

    (d) If after you reboot, you receive the 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' error message, then you will have successfully identified which program is causing the error. In this case, you can now try and run the program as Administrator to see if that fixes the 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' error.

    To do so:

    (a) Click Start and locate the program in question via the Start menu, then right click its icon and select Properties.

    (b) Go to the Compatibility tab and look for the "Compatibility mode" heading, then tick the box that says "Run this program in compatibility mode for:", and choose "Windows 7". Finally, under the "Settings" heading, tick the box that says "Run this program as Administrator", then click Apply and OK, and reboot the computer as you normally would.

    (c) If after rebooting the computer you still receive the 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' error, go online and see if you can find an updated version of the program to download. If so, download it, reinstall the program, and see if that fixes the problem by rebooting the computer once again. If not, you will need to disable that program from your startup (refer to Step #1 and Step #2 above).

    (d) Move onto the next program to test (refer to Steps #1 and #2 above). Keep moving down the list of programs to test until you find out which ones can run properly with Administrator access / reinstalling the program, and which ones can't. Disable the programs in the startup that simply can't run without giving you an error.

If you have gone through the entire list of programs in your startup but that still does not fix it, then you may have a more deeply rooted problem. In that case, proceed to Option #2 below.

Option #2: Scan the System and Check for Errors

The 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' error may also be the result of a malware infection or corrupt Windows files.

To rule out these possibilities, do the following:

  1. Open up an administrative command prompt. Click Start and type in "cmd" (no quotes) and do NOT press Enter on the keyboard; wait for the "CMD.EXE" or "Command Prompt" to appear in the list. When the icon appears, right click it and select "Run as Administrator".
     
  2. Using your mouse, highlight the text below:

    echo y|chkdsk c: /f /r /x
    shutdown /r /t 5
     
  3. Right click over the highlighted text and select Copy from the dialogue menu.
     
  4. Go to the administrative command prompt, then right click in the middle of the window and select Paste. You will need to press Enter on the keyboard to execute the last command. Note: when the last command is entered, your computer will reboot in roughly 5 seconds. When Windows starts to boot, it will check the hard drive for errors; this will likely take a while to complete. Once that finishes, sign onto Windows as normal and then come back to this page and proceed to Step #5 below.
     
  5. After the computer reboots, open up an administrative command prompt again as described in Step #1. Then, use your mouse to copy the command below:

    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
     
  6. Right click the highlighted text above and select Copy. Then, go to the administrative command prompt, right click in the middle of the window and select Paste. Press Enter on the keyboard to execute the command; the scan will take up to 20 minutes to complete. If you receive error messages from DISM then most likely your Windows 10 is corrupt. In that case, the 'sfc /scannow' command may fix it (described next).
     
  7. Once the DISM scan has completed, use your mouse to highlight the command below:

    sfc /scannow
     
  8. Right click the highlighted text above and select Copy. Then, go to the administrative command prompt and right click in the middle of the window and select Paste. Press Enter on the keyboard to execute the command; the scan will take up to 20 minutes to complete. If you receive error messages after running 'sfc /scannow', then most likely your Windows is corrupt. In that case, you will have to do a Windows 10 Refresh or Reset to fix the problem (described in Option #3, further down).
     
  9. Now that you've scanned the system for errors, the next step is to run a malware scan. Download Malwarebytes Antimalware (free) and perform a full system scan. Tip: do not agree to use the trial 'Pro' version of the program when you first run it, otherwise the program will stop working after 30 days unless you revert back to the 'free' version.
     
  10. Once the malware scan has completed, reboot the system and hopefully you won't see the 'Windows Command Processor has stopped working' error.

If that doesn't work, proceed to Option #3.

Option #3: Refresh Windows; Uninstall Programs; Reset Windows

If Option #1 and #2 don't work for you, then the only options left are the following:

  1. Ignore the error and keep using Windows the way it is. Note: if "DISM" and "sfc /scannow" reported errors, then most likely your Windows is corrupt. In that case you should issue a Refresh (described next), because most likely other parts of Windows are also broken.
     
  2. Issue a Windows Refresh and hope that fixes the problem. A Refresh will keep your user data and programs in tact but will effectively reinstall Windows 10 over top of Windows 10. I recommend backing up the entire system before you issue a Refresh in case something goes wrong. For this task I recommend Acronis True Image as it can backup your entire system (including the operating system); if the Refresh fails, you can always revert the system using a restore.
     
  3. If after a Refresh you still have issues, you have the option to uninstall all your programs one at a time (using process of elimination) until you come across the program that is causing the error. Once you find the culprit(s), you can begin reinstalling your programs again - but this time, don't reinstall the ones causing the issue. Instead, find a replacement program that performs the same task. To uninstall programs, click Start and type in "programs and features" (no quotes). Wait for the Programs and Features to appear in the list, then click it. Once the window appears, start uninstalling programs one at a time, reboot, then test to see if the error has gone away. This process will surely take a while.
     
  4. If that still doesn't fix it, the final option is to backup your entire system and issue a Windows Reset. This will effectively format your hard drive and reinstall Windows 10. You will not be able to keep any of your user data or installed programs. After the Reset you will then have to reinstall all your programs and any user data. This is a very extreme choice to make but should most definitely fix the problem.

Hope that helps.

Additional 1-on-1 Help: from Dennis

If all of this is too technical, you can contact me and I will do it for you using my remote desktop support service. Simply send me an email using the contact form and we'll set up a time to meet online.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments

randyh2's picture

You forgot option #4...Restore your system to Windows 7 (you DID do a system image, didn't you!) and kiss Windows 10 goodbye...

jonnus's picture

Thanks for the help - a very thorough article but I think my solution was missed off so here it is, for you to add in the Option 1 section if you deem it worthwhile. After going through options 1 and 2 without success, I thought to look in the Start menu StartUp folders (WindowsKey-R, and type "shell:startup" and/or "shell:common startup" (2 different locations)), for other programs being started automatically. I found Dropbox in there and uninstalled it and that seemed to fix the problem. (I also cleanup up the registry with CCleaner after the uninstallation, but not sure that would make a difference).

Blaq's picture

Experiencing several "Windows Command Processor has stopped working" errors after upgrading to Windows 10, I jumped on this article. However, I'm puzzled at the following inconsistency:

In step 3, we disable all non-Microsoft _services_ in the Services tab.
In step 6, we selectively re-enable _programs_ in the Startup tab.

How can we re-enable programs if they hadn't been previously disabled? And what happens to all those services we disabled — can't they cause malfunctions?

Your article addresses an important topic, but it seems some clarifications would be helpful. Please look into it. Thanks.