Blue Screen blues: How to fix kernel security check failure

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  • Outdated drivers
  • Viruses
  • 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.

kernel security check

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.

Memory problems

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.

kernel security check
The Windows Club

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.

kernel security check
How-To Geek

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 issues

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.

Viruses

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

42 thoughts on “Blue Screen blues: How to fix kernel security check failure”

    1. I know this is a bit late but there is always memtest 86, just download it from https://www.memtest86.com/ on a working pc and use Damien tools to make a bootable flash drive. Once you do that you can run it from the flash drive and walk away for a while, if it comes out with no errors then it’s probably not your ram.

  1. My PC is getting random Blue Screen errors.
    Some errors are
    “KERNAL SECURITY CHECK FAILURE”
    “IRQL_NOT_GREATER_OR_EQUAL”
    “PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA”
    “KERNAL AUTO BOOST INVALID LOCK RELEASE”
    “DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL”

    I have completely formatted my PC but Im getting these errors again randomly.My PC is 3 months old.
    Please help to solve this issue.
    Thank you.

    1. You might need to call the manufacturer to have them replace your hard drive. Do you use an image process to build your machines? If so try to get another hard drive and image the machine with that new drive installed. That will tell you if it is in fact a fault with the original hard drive. I’m working through this issue with a user at my company right now. I’ll post a resolution when I find one.

    2. I had exactly the same problem and what it worked for me after trying a lot of things (software related, like reinstalling windows, or updating all the drivers) was to unplug the ram sticks and plug them again and making sure that sticked correclty. After that I watched a video where indicated to change the voltage in the bios I don’t know which method was the fix because I tried them at the same time, I suggest to trie one of these methods and if it doesnt work, try the other.

      1. Yes I remember doing this a while back, running into an endless cycle of bsod. Boot up a game, 5 minutes later crash everytime. Thank you very much for reminding me, unplugged my ram modules and put them back in and boom problem solved.

  2. i got the same problem when i play games sometimes it crashes and freeze for 1 sec sometimes it close the game and sometimes and get blue screen with a lot of stopcodes i tried everything i can and my pc is 1 month old

  3. Hey I got this problem too, exactly like you say, freezing when playing games and random crashes too…my CPU and GPU are both AMDs do you have the same? I think it must be their graphics drivres at this point

  4. I’ve been getting these BSoD errors when I play ESO. I’ve reformatted etc. I ran through this list and when I rebooted for it to check for drivers o got a new BSoD staring that there is a driver detection error. It eventually wants me to repair and restore to an earlier time. So frustrating. It’s a Windows 10 upgrade from 8.

  5. Got this error when booted but I also get other errors like SYSTEM EXCEPTION NOT HANDLED and SYSTEM SERVICE EXCEPTION. I think it’s the drivers but I don’t know.

    1. Hey I have been having the same error codes coming up as you have mentioned here. Did you ever find a solution? thanks

  6. i get random errors when i play games

    irql_not_less_or_equal
    kernel_security_check_failure
    and other
    my pc is 3yr old
    custom build

  7. Hi there um having “Kernel Security Check” BSOD and i done every test and it still gives me the bsod every time i try to play Black Squad, every other program runs well any ideas?! Thanks in advance.

  8. My computer won’t even turn on at this point. I hear the fan attempts to start and then it cuts off, and it keeps on trying to cut on but fails. I had this same error before I tried to reboot it. Anyone have this same problem?

    1. thats a harware failure. try reconnecting cables & clean the dust where you can. I had the issue with my mobo when i used all 16gb of DDR4 ram it would shutdown and reboot itself. I removed all ram then placed them one by one to see if there was a faulty one

      1. THANK YOU for this! I checked each RAM stick individually and found that each one was good. So, I placed a RAM stick in each slot one at a time to see if it would start and turns out the 3rd slot on the motherboard was bad. I’ve got 12GB running right now till the new motherboard comes in.

  9. ok Let me give you an example of what is this article about, today I’ve installed VM VirtualBox and downloaded Windows Server 2019 to evaluate. During the installation multiple times all my attempts failed with the error mentioned above.: kernel security check failure, blue screen etc but since someone has managed to install it so should I. Nevertheless I was pretty stuborn in my attempts at the end I decided to disable any kind of security features default in windows like Windows defender, Virus protection in real time; in cloud … and it worked, I’ve managed to install this MS software which obviously is not so managable with the inhouse build suit of security features.

  10. Parth Chaudhary

    I am facing the same issues, every day 5-6 times BOSD errors and my PC brand new condition.

    BSOD:
    1. MEMORY_MANAGEMENT
    2. NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM
    3. MULTIPLE_IRP_COMPLETE_REQUEST
    4. KERNAL_SECURITY_CHECK_FAIL
    5. IRQL_NOT_LSS_OR_EQUAL
    6. APC_INDEX_MISS_MATCH

    dose anyone have any solution or a suggestion regarding this?

    1. hey, my friend has the same problem after upgrading to the latest windows version, if u find a solution, don’t hesitate to post a comment there.

  11. HOW DID I FIX IT??
    its not for everyone … anyways if you have two graphics cards like me (Intel n Nvidia), go to device manager click on display adapter disable NVIDIA by left-clicking on it… and see if it works… cuz mine did well actually i still get couple of BSODs like once/twice especially when am gaming but its better then getting 100 BSOD crashes with different error codes each time it crashes within 10 minutes. ALSO am sure as HELL have searched and used almost all of the bsod guides and fixes available on the internet for 4 months trust me!! during those months i have reinstalled windows 11 times, lost my CODWARZONE in the process which took me exactly 2weeks and 3 days to download, again someone said i had a “bad HDD” with much persuasion my mom bought me a cheap but a good (M.2) SSD 250G, again i Re-installed windows and booted from my new ssd 5 mins later guess what?? a scary bsoDEMON looking at me… fuck that anyways until last week i was tweaking my laptop here and there disabling all the third party apps and other drivers leaving only the microsoft ones (Boot Settings) then i noticed i wasn’t getting any crashes for like hour or two…

  12. I’m just going to leave this here since I got the problem and found the fix

    I was upgrading my CPU and motherboard. But somehow, at random time after booting, I got this BSOD and a couple more (page fault in nonpaged area BSOD, and another one that I happen to forgot). So, as the guide suggest, I ran the “Windows Memory Diagnostic” and apparently found an hardware problem. I plan to replace the RAM. But, before that, I found out in my BIOS that Boot Setting are set to CSM (later I know to be “Legacy” in some Motherboard, meant to use on older OS) and not the usual “UEFI” (my older Motherboard was set to “UEFI” before). So I changed it and after that, I haven’t get a single BSOD after that. (will update if something happen)

    This might be helpful for some who maybe got similar situation like mine so I ought to leave it here.

    Hope it helps, Cheers.

  13. Oh, this looks like my problem BUT it only crashes from my user account!
    So far:
    I signed in as the other user, ran quick hardware tests, checked for updates. Oops, 7 including BIOS, so I updated.
    Now I am running System File Check or system scan.

    No results yet, but it shouldn’t find anything because only one user crashes. Any thoughts?

    Thanks.

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