Windows 10 Win10: BSOD loop due to driver verifier, cannot disable verifier, cannot boot to safe mode


New Member
Nov 20, 2021
Hi, everyone,

In search of a problem that was causing Win 10 to lock up on my XPS13 9343, I enabled driver verifier. Predictably, this is now generating BSODs. This is the expected diagnostic behavior, I gather. The problem is, I have not been able to to get into Windows in any mode that will allow me to disable verifier and thus start Windows. Similarly, there is no way for me to run W7F.

This is the BSOD message almost every time:

What failed: uimbus.sys​

What I can do:

(A) Get into bios​
(B) Use F12 to reach the boot menu, which displays the following. I can't see any way that this helps me:​
F12 boot menu-medium.jpg
(C) Get to Windows login page; if I actually try to login, or even do nothing at all, it will BSOD before long. I can use SHIFT+Restart to reach WinRE via the HD Windows installation.​
(D) Get into WinRE by booting from a Windows Recovery disk on USB​
(E) Get into WinRE by booting from a Windows Installation disk on USB​
But I cannot get an F8 boot option menu.​

What I've tried:

Using Method (C) WinRE from XPS HD: The first WinRE screen has four options: Continue, Use a device, Turn off your PC, Troubleshoot
  • Using Troubleshoot, I get two options: Startup Settings, UEFI Firmware Settings
    • Using Startup Settings to try to get to Safe Mode (or anything else), I click Restart and get the BSOD​
Using Method (D) WinRE from Windows Recovery disk: Same four WinRE options
  • Using Troubleshoot, I get six options, several of which were not available using method (C): System Restore (restore point), System Image Recovery, Startup Repair, Command Prompt, UEFI Firmware Settings, Go back to the Previous version
    • System Restore shows one available "System Image Restore Point." It's a year old, which is far from ideal, but at this point, I'd take it, if only to set myself up for a full Windows reinstall. But if I try it, I get, "The backup drive could not be found. System Restore is looking for restore points on your backup. Make sure the backup is on and connected to this computer and then click OK."
      • It is true, the system image is on a USB external HD. I have access to this disk and can confirm using another computer that the system image is there. However, when I plug the external HD into an available USB port, I can't figure out how to get WinRE to recognize the external drive so that I can direct System Restore to it. Is there a method a method for doing so?
      • A workaround I am planning to try: I'm awaiting delivery of a 256GB usb stick. I plan to create a Recovery drive on this, then copy the system image onto it as well. Perhaps then WinRE will be able to find the image? Again, this is not the ideal scenario, but at least I'd presumably be able to get into Windows!
    • System Image Recovery: "Windows cannot find a system image on this computer. Attach the backup hard disk or insert the final DVD from a backup set and click Retry. Alternatively, close this dialog for more options."
      • I attach the backup and Retry: same message.
      • I cancel, choose "Select a system image" and click Next: no images are shown in the list. There is an "Advanced" option, which allows me to
        • "Search for a system image on the network" (there is no network); or
        • "Install a driver": I have not idea what driver I would install to get WinRE to recognize the external USB drive. Is this a possible path forward?
    • Startup Repair: "Cannot repair," followed by BSOD
    • Command Prompt:
      • I have tried the command "verifier /reset," but from the X:\windows\system32> prompt, this naturally doesn't do anything to the setting in my installation in Windows. WinRE just responds "No settings were changed." Would it make a difference if I could cd to my windows directory on C:\? I don't know. Is there a way to get to the C:/ drive from here? I haven't been able to figure out a way.
        • If I go into DISKPART, I can see my HD and external HD I attached, but how can I get them to show up in WinRE? Do they need to be "mounted" or something? Using mountvol, too, I can see them!
Using Method (E) Windows Install disk, and selecting "Repair your computer," I get the usual four options on the first page
  • Using Troubleshoot, I get six options: Startup Repair, Command Prompt, Uninstall Updates, UEFI Firmware Settings, System Restore (restore point), System Image Recovery
    • Startup Repair: "Attempting repairs" (for a while) > [Did I miss a screen here?] restarts.... "Fixing (C:)," etc. > BSOD > restarts and goes through some Windows update routine (unclear what!) > login screen (no power options in lower right), I sign in > BSOD before desktop
    • Command Prompt: everything is the same as under Method (D)
    • Uninstall Updates: there are two options, Uninstall Feature Update & Uninstall Quality Update
      • Uninstall Feature Update: "there was a problem, etc."
      • Uninstall Quality Update: Amazingly, it actually lets me do this, with result, "Uninstall complete."
        • Will this effectively turn off driver verifier?
        • Reboot > long wait > "Getting Windows ready. Don't turn off your computer."
        • Windows login window, I log in > looong wait > black screen > desktop > DRIVER_VERIFIER BSOD!!
    • System Restore: everything is the same as under Method (D)
What I'd like to accomplish, in descending order of preference:
  1. Get into Safe Mode (or any other mode!) that will allow me to disable verifier and boot to my current Windows installation
  2. Get WinRE to recognize my external USB HD and restore the 1-yr-old system image on there
  3. Clean reinstall of Windows (I think I can handle this myself, if it comes to that!)
If you could help me with 1. or 2., I would be very grateful!

Sorry for the long post, but I figured I'd include everything I've tried, to save time.


Update: I was finally able to get access to my backup files using a Paragon Backup and Restore Recovery Media (usb), which allowed me to restore the older system image. Whew!
There is a lesson here about the use of Driver Verifier. It's designed to cause bad drivers to BSOD so that you can diagnose the driver issue in the resulting dump. The problem with Driver Verifier, as demonstrated here, is that if the bad driver fails during boot you'll never be able to recover (without a full image restore).

IMO before running Driver Verifier you need to be 100% certain that the faulty driver is not accessed during booting.
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