Windows 10 (1909) Unstable - BSODs - FIXED


Staff member
Just in case it's of any help to others in a similar situation.

I have an oldish HP Spectre 13-2000ea which came with Win7 and (importantly) Adobe Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements pre-loaded.
For many years it was my "main" PC. It successfully switched to Win8, Win 8.1 and eventually Win10 and was stable. All of these installed by upgrade; no fresh installs because I want to keep the Adobe stuff working.

However, that only went as far as v1809. The update to 1903 was never successful and I never bothered to work out why. I left it on 1809. Until 1909 came out and it started nagging me about my out of date OS........

As I have three PCs, to save time I had already downloaded the 1909 ISO and so I tried the ISO install (update) method. Again - not a clean install, because I wanted to keep that bundled software and I can't get a legitimate download any longer to keep separate.

And, long story short - it went unstable. BSODs usually on a restart (not a conventional shutdown and power on, which I know is less complete) but also sometimes during use. Most recently, a Win 10/1909 update sent it in to a BSOD/restart/BSOD loop, and the auto repair (etc) options didn't cure it. Unusable.

So, on another machine I went a-googling. Followed all the stock advice about sfc /scannow and so on. No help. At this point, the machine has no external USB peripherals attached; just what's in the case. Started it in Safe Mode OK, disabled most of the devices; retstarted; no help. BSOD loop again. So it seems that what is described as a driver conflict causing BSODs doesn't relate to any devices actually in use. Is my hardware actually unsuitable for Win10? Well - no; it worked with up to 1809 OK. So I was not yet convinced that hardware was the issue.

Fortunately I had a full system image of the 1809 install so I restored it to that and it was back up and running.

While it was doing all that I carried on googling and eventually found, way down the results, a reference to ArcSoft as a potential conflict. My oldish BD/DVD drive came with Arcsoft Total Media Theatre, which had been installed and later uninstalled. But apparently the uninstaller leaves behind a couple of drivers and three (in my case) registry entries referencing them.

So, under 1809 I removed the three registry entries and in Explorer deleted the two files: Arcsec.sys and ArcCtrl.sys.

Restarted. OK.

So now I took a fresh image and then installed 1909 again from the ISO download. Rebooted OK several times during setup. OK. When complete, I checked for updates. All installed and rebooted. Twice. Still all OK. I have since restarted it three times and each time it has come up perfectly.

So I conclude that the issue here was indeed the residual presence of Arcsec.sys and ArcCtrl.sys, which were the cause of the BSODs on restart.


Well-known Member
This is no doubt a good post and effort on your part as most users can't be bothered or don't have the know how. It also highlights Microsoft's inability to test all machines and software iterations out there. Like you I always like to find out why an OS is failing and I like the fact that you have posted your findings in an effort to help others.

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