Error Code 0xc0000001: What It Means and How to Fix It

See if your PC can be saved from this problem.

A keyboard thrown through a computer monitor

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Error code 0xc0000001 is one of the most common error codes in Windows, dating back to Windows XP. If you see it, you probably have a serious problem on your hands, as your PC may be missing an important piece of code or vital component. Here's what error code 0xc0000001 is and how to deal with it.

Causes of Error Code 0xc0000001

Error code 0xc0000001 appears whenever a device or a piece of software necessary to run an operation can't be accessed or opened. It's like trying to start your car with the battery or the spark plug missing; no matter how much you turn the key or pump the gas, it's not going to turn over until you fix the problem.

A few common causes of this error include:

  • Corruption or deletion of the Security Account Manager (SAM) file.
  • Damage of important system files due to power outages, virus attacks, or disk errors.
  • Losses or corruption in the larger file system.
  • Loose soldering connections, broken parts, or other physical damage to your device.

How Do I Prevent Error Code 0xc0000001?

Because resolving this error may involve physical repairs to your computer or erasing your hard drive, prevention is particularly important. Take the following steps to prevent this error in the first place.

  • Disable AutoRun and AutoPlay in Windows.
  • Only purchase computer accessories from trusted brands that have received positive reviews from experts.
  • Create a recovery drive for your system.
  • Regularly back up your files.
  • Never open emails or links from individuals you don't know.
  • Never delete files from the System or Config folder.
  • Never connect a device to your computer, such as a USB drive, without running it through a malware exam, like Windows Defender.
  • Connect USB devices through your computer's ports, instead of keyboard USB ports or USB hubs.  
  • Disconnect accessories only after your computer has fully shut down.
  • Install any drivers and other software when adding an accessory to your computer, and regularly check to ensure all drivers for your accessories are up to date on a regular basis.
  • Install internal components in a dust-free environment and use compressed air to clean any connections before attaching a component.  
  • Regularly clean your computer's ports using compressed air.

How to Fix Error Code 0xc0000001

If you get this error code, you'll need to carefully work through everything connected to your computer, internally and externally, to find the problem. It's best to narrow this down through “likely suspects,” like recent changes you've made to your computer.

  1. Shut down your computer and disconnect everything except the mouse, keyboard, and monitor. After you restart your computer, reconnect each device, one at a time. If the error reoccurs once you plug in a certain device, disconnect it and test it on another computer. If the device functions, try connecting it to a different USB port.

  2. If you've recently installed a component inside your computer, check the connections and ensure they're properly seated in any connectors or plugs. If a connection is loose, reinstall the component.

  3. If the error persists, use your recovery tool. In earlier versions of Windows, such as XP, this will be the installation CD. For more modern operating systems, such as Windows 10, it will be a USB drive. Connect the device and reboot your PC into the Windows Recovery Environment or System Recovery Options. Choose Troubleshoot and select System Restore.

  4. If System Restore doesn't remove the error, you'll need to replace your operating system with a fresh install. Using your recovery tool, select Reset This PC. The tool will automatically reinstall Windows. Once complete, shut down and reboot your computer to ensure the error has been resolved.