BSOD – Session Manager Initialization fails with status 0xc000026c

A couple days ago I ran into a weird problem on a customer’s computer and I had such a hard time figuring out what it was, I thought I’d add it in my tips section.  From what I’ve been able to gather, the problem occurs mostly with Windows XP SP2, but it could also be present with other variations.

It was a simple service call and after everything was done, I rebooted the computer to make sure everything was ok.. well, after that, the machine never restarted.  It simply kept looping, while on the windows logo screen, I could see the blue screen flashing and then it would restart.

At this point, I tried safe mode in all its forms and tried “Last Known Good Configuration” etc.. nothing worked.  I couldn’t run System Restore because windows did not even start.  So I used the F8 option to Disable auto reboot on BSOD and finally saw the actual Blue Screen message:

c000021a Fatal System Error
The Session Manager Initialization system process terminated unexpecedly with a status of 0xc000026c

A few Googles on the subject helped piece together a solution.  The problem is caused by a Windows Update known as KB925902.  The patch wasn’t installed recently.. it’s been on the machine for at least 6 months, but something must have triggered the problem.

The Solution:

Apparently there are a few variations on how the problem presents itself, so if windows starts in safe mode, I would go for a System Restore or use the Add/Remove programs section to remove that update.

What I had to do was to remove the update manually using the Recovery Console.  here’s how to do it:

  1. Boot with your original Windows XP CD.  You need one which will allow you to get into the Recovery Console.
  2. Once booted, choose to use the Recovery Console, usually by pressing “r”.
  3. You may need to press “enter”  here to choose a different keyboard layout, otherwise you might have a hard time typing the next commands.
  4. Choose which Windows installation you need to log into.  if there’s only one on that machine, it will be “1″.
  5. Type in the Administrator password.  Yes, there is one, you had to supply one during the Windows XP installation.
  6. Change folders using: cd WINDOWS\$NtUninstallKB925902$\spuninst
  7. Run this command in the folder: batch spuninst.txt
  8. If the command ran correctly, you should see a spuninst.tag file, using the “dir” command.
  9. reboot the computer.

At this point the computer should boot properly and you should install SP3 and other patches to prevent this problem from happening again.

If the spuninst.tag file doesn’t exist, you may have received a bunch of errors instead.  Joyful.  There are a few reasons why this could happen, one of which is if your windows isn’t really installed on the c:\ drive, even if the Recovery Console always names it that way.  To remove the patch manually, type in these commands: (make sure you replace the drive and path if required, depending on your installation)

  • DEL “c:\windows\$hf_mig$\kb925902\mf3216.dll”
  • DEL “c:\windows\$hf_mig$\kb925902\gdi32.dll”
  • DEL “c:\windows\$hf_mig$\kb925902\user32.dll”
  • DEL “c:\windows\$hf_mig$\kb925902\win32k.sys”
  • DEL “c:\windows\system32\dllcache\gdi32.dll”
  • DEL “c:\windows\system32\dllcache\mf3216.dll”
  • DEL “c:\windows\system32\dllcache\user32.dll”
  • DEL “c:\windows\system32\dllcache\win32k.sys”
  • COPY “c:\windows\$NtUninstallKB925902$\gdi32.dll” “c:\windows\system32\gdi32.dll”
  • COPY “c:\windows\$NtUninstallKB925902$\mf3216.dll” “c:\windows\system32\mf3216.dll”
  • COPY “c:\windows\$NtUninstallKB925902$\user32.dll” “c:\windows\system32\user32.dll”
  • COPY “c:\windows\$NtUninstallKB925902$\win32k.sys” “c:\windows\system32\win32k.sys”
  • COPY “c:\windows\$NtUninstallKB925902$\spuninst\spuninst.txt” “c:\windows\$NtUninstallKB925902$\spuninst\spuninst.tag”

I hope this helps someone out there because there aren’t many solutions for this problem and it took me so much time to piece together the solution.  Let me know it there are any errors and if it works for you.

63 Thoughts on “BSOD – Session Manager Initialization fails with status 0xc000026c

  1. Session Manager Initialisation System Process terminated unexpectedly with the status 0xC000026C
    I got this message, can anyone tell me if that can be resolved using Windows Repair during installation?

  2. Bringerer on March 22, 2011 at 4:29 am said:

    Hey thanks for advice.
    I got the same error on xp sp3 but i could not find this update in list of hotfixes.

    I start ERD commander and scan for corrupted system files, it found 3 files corrupted there was win32k.sys listed also.

    ERD repaired it and it booted fine.
    Just wanted to give mine contribution to the same problem.

  3. Ivan Garnizov on April 18, 2011 at 9:22 am said:

    Well I have just recovered from BSOD with 0xc000021a status 0xc000026c
    This was a 2003 server system where as I found afterwards have been installed many updates. One of these was kb2506223. When I did a recovery on files it happend that win32k.sys file was in restore options. I fastly renamed and put back the deleted version and volia. Next time I had a successful start. I am not sure if this kb is the problem, but I saw in logs that it had succ. install and now the system offers me the same update. So this is my conclusion.

  4. Vofsanity on May 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm said:

    I had the same problem. I can confirm that it was caused by one of the updates in Microsoft’s April batch with KB2506223 as the most likely candidate. As I have installed this update on three other PCs without any problem it suggests that there is also something on the PC that contributes. The PC with the error was running XP Home SP3 with the others either XP Home or Professional both at SP3.

  5. Adam on July 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm said:

    I have further information on this fix. It did indeed work for me as well. I couldn’t narrow down which update caused my problem but i had the error ending in 26. I followed the above instructions but half the files were missing or never existed. A simpler way to perform this fix:

    Find access to a working pc with the same os.

    Copy the files listed above from the system32 folder.

    Boot to recovery console from a disc

    Copy these files directly from the cd drive to system32


    Works like a charm! Thanks!

  6. Running chkdsk from recovery console (with /p /r paramereters) fixed this problem on an xp machine I was repairing.

  7. I did everything you said but cannot get to the recovery console at all. It keeps taking me back to the blue screen…

    STOP: C000021a {Fatal System Error}
    The Session Manager Initialization system process terminated unexpectedly
    with a
    status of 0xc000026c (0×00000000 0×00000000).
    The system has been shut down.

    I have a Dell Dimensions 2400. I have removed one of the two Rams to see if that was the problem, and unpluged the speakers and removed the dsl cord. I did an update as well and then this happened. Do you have a solution other than buying another hard drive, which I checked and the test all passed. I have a new Windows 7 but wanted to fix this one for some children I know that will never have a computer. Hope someone can help!!!

  8. Freddie on January 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm said:

    Give that man a cigar!! Thanks!

  9. Thanks for your explanation. You helped me repairing my wife’s PC.


  10. sbyggy on March 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm said:

    That’s All Right !! Thanks.

    Message for italian users:
    Lascio il messaggio in italiano, per chi farà ricerche in questa lingua: confermo anche io che l’errore 0xc000026c si origina da almeno un aggiornamento windows rovinato o avvenuto male. La sua individuazione e rimozione consente la normale ripartenza di windows.

  11. You are great!!!

  12. mike on May 21, 2012 at 2:25 am said:

    hey Pascal! i don’t know if this forum still active but i propably have the same problem. im formatting the HDD via the win7 but at the last step it’s not saving the whole process.. i’v noticed after that update mentioned above my pc Ruined.

  13. Armen S on August 17, 2012 at 3:38 am said:

    My Windows XP crashed today after an automatic update. Using the information on this page, I identified all the new updates that were installed today, uninstalled all of them. Problem solved. chkdsk did not fix the problem. Thank you!!!

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