Windows 10 has an almost infinite supply of errors. You’d think you’ve seen it all until another bizarre error message takes you by surprise. One dreadful problem that has been around for a while and prevents users from opening executable files is the following error message:

“The exception Breakpoint. A breakpoint has been reached. (0x80000003) occurred in the application at location…”

Chances are you’ve seen it too. That means you can’t get a file to open. But not to worry; the error should be history after you’ve applied the fixes in this article.

Run CHKDSK

The file might be trying to interact with components stored in faulty hard disk sectors. It’s also possible that the executable file itself is in a bad sector. Run the CHKDSK utility and check if that has resolved the problem.

When you run CHKDSK, the program will scan for faulty sectors on your hard drive and prevent your operating system from writing to such sectors in the future. It can also attempt to recover some readable files from the bad sectors.

There are two main ways to run the utility. We’ll be walking you through each.

Going through the hard disk’s Properties dialog window:

  1. Open a File Explorer window. Head to the taskbar and click on the folder icon. You can also right-click on the Start button and select File Explorer or tap the Windows logo key + E shortcut.
  2. Go to the left side of the File Explorer window after it opens and click on the arrow beside This PC.
  3. Once This PC expands, right-click on the main system disk (usually Local Disk C) under it and click on Properties in the context menu.
  4. Once you see the Properties dialog box, head to the Tools tab.
  5. Next, go to the Error Checking section and click on Check.
  6. You’ll see a dialog that says:

“You don’t need to scan this drive

We haven’t found any errors on this drive. You can still scan the drive for errors if you want.”

  1. Next, click the Scan Drive option.
  2. CHKDSK will now scan your hard disk.
  3. After the tool completes the process, a dialog displaying the scan results will appear.

Using the Command Prompt

The command-line version of the CHKDSK tool helps you run a more thorough scan and gives you more options. For example, you can prompt the utility to recover readable information.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open Run by right-clicking the Start button and clicking Run in the Power User menu. You can also use the Windows logo key + R shortcut to summon the Run dialog box.
  2. After Run appears, type “CMD”, then press Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  3. After the User Account Control dialog asks for permission to allow the Command Prompt to make changes to your computer, click on Yes.
  4. Once you see the Administrator: Command Prompt window, type “chkdsk C: /x /r /f” (without the quotes) into the black screen and press Enter.

Note: If your hard disk’s drive letter isn’t “C,” replace it in the command.

Press Y on your keyboard if you see the following message:

“Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)”

Run the System File Checker

Executable files interact with operating system services and files, such as dynamic link libraries. The error message could be appearing because a related system file is corrupt or missing. System files can be affected by abrupt system shutdowns, malware infection, and improper third-party application or driver installation.

You can find and replace bad or missing system files using the System File Checker. The program is a built-in command-line tool designed to scan protected system files and folders and resolve integrity violations. Before you run it on Windows 10, you’ll have to provide the necessary repair files using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool.

This guide will show you the steps to take:

  1. Open Run by right-clicking the Start button and clicking Run in the Power User menu. You can also use the Windows logo key + R shortcut to launch Run.
  2. After Run appears, type “CMD”, then press Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  3. After the User Account Control dialog asks for permission to allow the Command Prompt to make changes to your computer, click on Yes.
  4. Once you see the Administrator: Command Prompt window, type “DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth” (without the quotes) and hit Enter to run the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool.

The tool will now deploy the Windows Update client to fetch the repair files.

Suppose you can’t get the Windows Update client to work. In that case, you can use a bootable USB flash drive or Windows 10 DVD to fetch the repair files. You’ll no longer use the command above. Type this line instead and hit the Enter button:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

/Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess

Replace C:\RepairSource\Windows with the folder address of the Windows directory on the bootable media.

  1. Allow DISM to complete the process, which can take several minutes, then move over to the following line.
  2. Type “sfc /scannow” (without the quotes) and tap the Enter keyboard button.
  3. The System File Checker will now scan your operating system’s protected folders for integrity violations. If it finds any broken or missing file, it will automatically replace the file with a cached copy stored in a compressed folder located at C:\Windows\System32\dllcache.
  4. If the SFC tool successfully carries out the scan, you’ll see a command result that reads, “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them. Details are included in the CBS.Log %WinDir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log.”

Sometimes, the scan result might read:

“Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them. Details are included in the CBS.Log %WinDir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log.”

In this case, you’ll have to read the log file and manually replace the problematic file with a known good copy. The log file will show you the details of the System File Checker scans that you’ve run on your system, including the date of your last scan and the name(s) of the system file(s) that couldn’t be repaired.

Follow these steps carefully:

  1. Launch the Administrator: Command Prompt window.
  2. After the window shows up, type or copy and paste this line and hit Enter:

findstr /c:”[SR]” %windir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log

>”%userprofile%\Desktop\sfcdetails.txt”

  1. Go to your desktop and open the sfcdetails.txt file.
  2. The file displays the SFC scan result in this format:

Date/Time SFC detail

Here’s an example of an entry in the text document showing the details of a file that wasn’t repaired:

2008-09-11 11:09:35, Info CSI 00000008 [SR] Cannot repair member file [l:34{17}]”Accessibility.dll” of Accessibility, Version = 6.0.6000.16386, pA = PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE_MSIL (8), Culture neutral, VersionScope neutral, PublicKeyToken = {l:8 b:b03f5f7f11d50a3a}, Type neutral, TypeName neutral, PublicKey neutral in the store, file is missing

After seeing the affected file(s), search for it/them and manually replace it/them. You can copy the necessary replacement file(s) from another computer that is working perfectly. However, to be sure, run the SFC command on that computer.

  1. Now, follow these steps to replace a problematic file:

Firstly, take ownership of the file. To do that, open an elevated Command Prompt window, type this line, and hit the Enter keyboard button:

takeown /f PathAndFileName

Note that “PathAndFileName” should be replaced with the file’s folder path, including the filename. For example:

takeown /f C:\windows\system32\Accessibility.dll

  1. Next, grant admin access to the file by typing the following lines and hitting the Enter key:

icacls PathAndFileName /GRANT ADMINISTRATORS:F

Note that “PathAndFileName” should be replaced with the file’s folder path, including the filename. For example:

icacls Accessibility.dll /GRANT ADMINISTRATORS:F

  1. Now, to replace the file, type the following and hit Enter:

Copy RepairFile Destination

Note that “RepairFile” should be replaced with the folder path to the good system file, and “Destination” should be replaced with the path to the problematic file, including the filename. For example:

copy E:\round\Accessibility.dll C:\windows\system32\Accessibility.dll

Update your system

The error could be popping up because your operating system is out of date. Executable files interact with device drivers, system files, and other system components. If one or more system components are out of date, issues will begin to occur. The Error 0x80000003 is one of the problems that erupt in such a case. Some underlying operating system bug, which may have been fixed in an update, could also be responsible for the problem.

So, if you haven’t updated your system in a while, do that and check for the problem. If you don’t know how to, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows logo key + S to open the search box.
  2. Type “Updates” into the text field and click on Check for Updates.
  3. Allow Windows Update to check for updates and download them.
  4. Click on Restart Now to install the updates.

Update your drivers

Device drivers control the communication between your hardware components and the operating system. Third-party applications also use drivers to interact with devices. If a driver is corrupt or obsolete, the operating system will display an error when there’s a communication breakdown, especially when a third-party program tries to make contact.

Find faulty and outdated drivers and update them. You can go to the Device Manager to find drivers with an exclamation mark and install their latest versions.

Unfortunately, the Device Manager does not show you outdated drivers or notify you when an update becomes available for driver software. And while Windows Update will help you install updates, that’s just for devices supported by Microsoft, so it won’t help you in many cases. You’ll have to go to the website of each device manufacturer to check if they’ve released updates. You should be really careful if you decide to tread that path. You may accidentally install the wrong driver software, which may cause multiple instability issues. So make sure you know exactly what drivers your system needs to operate smoothly.

And here is the good news – you don’t have to go through such stress. Auslogics Driver Updater can help you check for outdated and problematic drivers and then install their updates automatically. If you go for the program’s full version, you can update multiple drivers at once in just one click. The tool fetches driver software from trusted sources, and it keeps backups just in case.

Follow these steps to install the program:

  1. Open the tool’s download page.
  2. Click on Download.
  3. Allow your browser to download the installation package.
  4. Run the setup file after your browser downloads it.
  5. Click Yes after the User Account Control window requests permission to run the installer.
  6. When you see the installation wizard, select a language and choose your preferred installation folder. The default location is recommended.
  7. Next, enter other preferences, such as creating a desktop icon, allowing the app to launch at startup, and permitting the tool to send crash reports.
  8. Click the large “Click to install” button at the bottom of the window after entering your installation choices.
  9. After installation, the program will scan your computer for problematic drivers.
  10. You’ll see a list of drivers that should be updated. You can now update them one after the other. However, you can update multiple drivers at once if you go for the tool’s full version.
  11. Allow the program to install the drivers, then restart your computer.
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Prevent your antivirus program from blocking the file

Your antivirus program will prevent a file from executing if it suspects a security threat. You should check and confirm that the file is safe if you’re getting reports from your security application. In some cases, however, security programs tend to mistake legitimate files and applications for security threats. These cases are called false positives.

If you’re convinced that the file in question is safe, you can stop your antivirus from blocking it in the future. To do that, add it as an exception or an exclusion. You can also add it to the program’s whitelist, depending on the antivirus suite you use.

If you use Windows Security, these steps will show you how to prevent it from blocking the file you’re trying to open:

  1. Press the Windows and S keyboard buttons at the same time to open the search box beside Start.
  2. After the box appears, type “Virus and threat protection.”
  3. Click on Virus & Threat Protection in the search results.
  4. Once the Virus & Threat Protection window opens, go to the Virus & Threat Protection Settings section and click on Manage Settings.
  5. Scroll down to Exclusions once you see the Virus & Threat Protection Settings screen and click on “Add or remove exclusions.”
  6. Click on Add an Exclusion immediately you see the Exclusions interface.
  7. Choose File from the drop-down menu.
  8. Once the Select File dialog opens, navigate to the file and double-click it.

Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool

Memory leaks are bad in any situation. They trigger different types of errors, and the “The exception Breakpoint” error is one of them. Memory leaks happen when your RAM fails to release unallocated memory. When this happens, new programs will likely not execute.

Memory leaks can be temporary or permanent. Rebooting your system should clear minor memory glitches. However, if the issue is connected to your RAM stick, you may need to change it. You have to run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to test your RAM.

These steps will show you how:

  1. Press the Windows logo key + R shortcut to open Run.
  2. Once Run shows up, type “mdsched.exe” and tap the Enter button.
  3. Choose “Restart now and check for problems (recommended)” once the Windows Memory Diagnostic mini-window opens.

Note: Once you click on this option, you’ll be giving up access to your computer until the tool completes its check.

If you choose the “Check for problems the next time I start my computer” option, you’ll also lose access to your system on your next reboot.

Once your system boots up, the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool’s screen will show up and conduct the test. You should see the results in this interface.

After the test is complete, the tool will automatically restart your computer and display the test results. However, some users reported they hadn’t seen the results after the restart.

If you cannot see the test results, head to the Event Viewer. Follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows logo + X keyboard combination.
  2. Click on Event Viewer in the menu that shows up on the left side of your screen.
  3. You can also launch the Run dialog box, type “eventvwr.msc” (no quotes), then hit Enter.
  4. Once the Event Viewer window appears, navigate to the left pane, expand Windows Logs, then click on System.
  5. In the Event Viewer’s middle pane, you’ll find different event entries.
  6. Go to the right pane of the window and click on Find.
  7. Type “Windows memory diagnostics” (no quotes) and click on the Find Next button.
  8. The test results will be under General.

If the tool reports that your RAM is defective, you have to replace it. If there’s more than one RAM stick in your system, open your RAM slot, take out one stick, run the diagnostic tool, and check if the error appears. Try this for every other RAM stick and replace the bad one(s).

Perform a clean boot

Another program or service could be preventing the executable file from running. Some of your applications launch at startup and continue to run in the background. In this case, you have to prevent every startup application from running and launch your system in a clean boot state to troubleshoot the problem.

If the file opens without issues while your system is in a clean boot state, it confirms that one of the startup items is responsible for triggering the Error 0x80000003. After you confirm that a startup app is responsible, you can isolate the culprit by starting your programs and services one after the other and opening the file.

Here’s how to perform a clean boot:

  1. Press the Windows and S keyboard buttons at the same time to open the search box beside Start.
  2. After the box appears, type “System configuration” and click on the first result.
  3. Head to the Services tab once the System Configuration dialog window opens.
  4. Mark the checkbox for “Hide all Microsoft services” so that you don’t disable operating system services.
  5. Now, click on the Disable All button to prevent the selected services from running the next time Windows starts.
  6. After that, go to the Startup tab.
  7. Click on Open Task Manager.
  8. You’ll now see the Startup tab of the Task Manager.
  9. Disable every program by clicking on each and selecting Disable in the bottom-right corner.
  10. Next, exit the Task Manager, go back to System Configuration and click on OK.
  11. Restart your device.

After your computer starts, open the file that triggers the error. If the file opens without issues, it’s clear that one of the startup programs has been clashing with it.

Head to the System Configuration window and enable one service. Restart your device and open the executable file. If the error shows up, then the startup service you just enabled is the culprit. Use the same method to check other startup items and programs.

Conclusion

That’s how to fix the “A breakpoint has been reached” issue in Windows 10. If you want to ask questions or share how you resolved the problem, please head to the comments section below.