Do you dread seeing the Blue Screen of Death or BSoD? Well, so does the rest of the world! And it’s extremely annoying as well. Unfortunately, the kernel security check failure is one such “serious” error that results in a BSoD.
What causes kernel security check failure?
The kernel security check failure happens due to:
- Memory problems
- Outdated drivers
- Corrupted Windows system files
- Security programs
- A damaged or corrupted hard disk
Out of these, the most common is incompatible drivers, especially if you’ve upgraded to Windows 8 or 10 from an older version. In all likelihood, you might be using a driver that worked well for previous versions but not for the current one. In such a case, the system throws this error.
Typically, there’s a check process in Windows operating system during startup. This process throws the KERNEL_SECURITY_CHECK_FAILURE error when it detects corruption in any critical data structure.
How to fix kernel security check failure?
There’s good and bad news here. Let’s go with the bad news first.
The kernel security check failure looks like this.
It means you’re not going to know exactly what the problem is. Is it drivers, memory, virus, or what? So you’ll have to explore a bit to understand the problem.
The good news is you can fix it easily, though you may have to try different steps to identify the cause.
Let’s see how to identify and fix this error.
You can identify memory problems with the memory diagnostics tool available in Windows 10, 8, and 7. This tool also tests the RAM on your computer.
To run this tool, go to Control panel and type “memory” in the search bar. Click on “diagnose computer memory problems” to open this tool. You can also type “mdsched” in start search and hit Enter to open this tool.
You have two options — restart the computer and check for problems right away or check for problems when you restart.
Choose either of the two options depending on your preference. If you choose to restart right away, make sure you save your work.
If you’re an advanced user and want to adjust this tool’s settings, press F1 when the tool starts. You can change the following parameters.
- Test — There are three types of tests, namely, basic, standard, and extended. Each of these tests is described on the screen and you can choose whichever you want.
- Cache — Choose the cache setting
- Pass count — Decide how many times you want the system to repeat this test.
After making the changes, type F10 to start the test.
If this tool throws up errors, contact your manufacturer as these errors indicate a problem in the memory chip or RAM.
Corrupted Windows file system
To check if the kernel security check failure is due to a corrupted or damaged file system, run the system file checker tool.
Run this utility tool if you’ve modified or replaced any system files while customizing your operating system. Also, run this tool when you think some other program could’ve tampered with your system files, though it’s quite unlikely if you’re using Windows Vista, 7, 8, or 10. This is because in these versions, the system file checker is integrated with the Windows Resource Protection, so all critical system files are in protected mode. Even if there’s any change, the original file is restored from a cached copy of the folder automatically.
Anyway, to run this tool, open your command prompt, type “sfc/scannow” and hit enter. This tool will run and in case of any problems, it’ll replace the corrupted files from cache during reboot.
Driver Verifier is a good tool to check for driver incompatibilities. To open this tool, type “verifier” in the start menu search box and hit enter. Alternately, type “verifier/?” in the command prompt. Both these options should open the Driver Verifier.
Note: You’ll have to run this tool as an administrator.
Select “create standard settings,” which is the default and click next. You can also choose “create custom settings” to select individual options or settings. Some of your options are:
- Automatic check — This option always checks the performance of the selected driver(s). In case of faulty behavior, the manager will ensure that the driver releases all resources before it’s unloaded.
- Special pool — When you choose this option, the manager allocates a driver’s memory request from a special pool that’s monitored for overruns and underruns.
- Force IRQL checking — In this option, the manager invalidates pageable code to prevent a driver from accessing paged memory at the wrong IRQL.
- Low resources simulation — When you select this option, the manager randomly denies memory requests to a driver to test the driver’s ability to handle low resources.
- Pool tracking — This option tracks if a driver has released all memory resources when it’s unloaded. This prevents memory leaks.
- I/O verification — This option monitors a driver’s I/O handling capability, and in the process detects inconsistent I/O routines.
- Deadlock option — This option monitors a driver’s spin locks and mutexes to check the driver’s ability to cause deadlocks.
- DMA verification — This option checks the driver’s use of DMA routines to check for improper use of DMA buffers and map registers.
- Security checks — The manager looks for common errors that can cause security vulnerabilities.
Depending on what you need, you can choose specific options.
Once you’ve selected your options, it’s time to choose the driver(s) you want to monitor. You can either pick individual drivers or choose from the built-in choices of the verifier manager.
- Automatically select unsigned drivers — Good choice for testing on Windows versions that don’t require signed drivers.
- Automatically select drivers built for older versions of Windows — Helps to check driver compatibility for newer versions of Windows.
- Automatically select all drivers installed on this computer — Tests all the drivers installed on your computer.
- Select drivers from a list — In this option, you can choose all the drivers you want to test.
Once you make your choices, click on finish and reboot the computer. On startup, the driver verification manager will check for driver inconsistencies.
In case of corrupt drivers, uninstall, reinstall, or update them.
Scan hard disk
Scan your hard disk for errors and inconsistencies using check disk tool. Windows 8/10 has a redesigned chkdsk utility tool for detecting any problems in your hard drive automatically. This is because Windows 8 has a new type of file system called ReFS that doesn’t need an offline chkdsk tool to repair problems. Since this file system uses a different model for resiliency, this check is not needed. But if you still wish, you can manually run a scan.
To do that, run the command “chkdsk /f c:” on your command prompt. Restart your computer if needed.
In earlier versions, you can run this tool manually. In fact, it’s recommended you run this check once in a while to check for hard disk errors that can happen due to improper shutdown, corrupted software, and more.
When you can’t identify the problem, try checking for viruses and ransomware. Install the latest Windows updates and run the antivirus software. In case of viruses, take the necessary action to remove them from your computer.
Yes, kernel security check failure displays a BSoD, but don’t get intimidated by it. This error happens due to many reasons like memory issues, viruses, driver incompatibilities, and hard disk failures. Try the above solutions to understand the cause of the error and to fix the same.
Also, please give us your experience in the comments section on how you fixed such BSoD errors.
Photo credit: Flickr / Chris Sack