How to Fix “Kernel Security Check Failure” on Windows 10

Kernel Security Check Failure’ is a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) error. It is a serious stop code error message.

Kernel Security Check Failure

Although this error can appear on Windows 7 and 8, we will focus on Windows 10 machine fixes.

System data corruption or incompatibility issues can be system-wide, which makes this a serious BSoD which can be time-consuming to fix.

What Causes this Error?

There is more than one reason why a Kernel Security Check Failure can occur. Some of these causes are more serious than others.

These are the most common culprits:

  1. Software you installed recently has a conflict with your system.
  2. Your PC has memory/RAM issues.
  3. You have outdated or incompatible drivers.
  4. Your hard disk is corrupted or damaged.
  5. There is a virus in your Windows 10 system files.

If you upgrade your system, either with a new RAM stick or a Windows update, you can get this error if the drivers don’t match or won’t work with the newest upgrade.

This is especially likely if you’re using an older version of Windows, although it might happen when using specific apps, when playing video games or when your PC wakes from sleep.

How To Fix ‘Kernel Security Check Failure’ Error?

Let’s look at some of the ways you can fix the ‘Kernel Security Check Failure’ error. It is best to eliminate each potential cause by category.

Fix #1: Run a System Check

First check if your system is up to date, since if not it can become unstable. This is how to check the system:

  • Type update in the search bar then select “Check for Updates” in “System Settings” (this opens Windows Updates).
windows update

Now install any available updates and restart the computer to see if the issue persists.

Fix #2: Check for Viruses

Windows Security Tool can be used for this fix, or you can use the antivirus program you have installed on the PC.

  • Type security in the search bar and click on “Windows Security“.
  • Than select “Virus & Threat Protection“, click “Scan Options” and select “Run a Full Scan“.

If there is any malware on the PC which the security tool can’t remove, you will need to restore the computer to a time before the virus occurred.

This means you have to already have backups in place. If not, you will need to wipe the whole OS and reinstall it.

If there is malware which the security tool is able to wipe, this might be what’s causing the error, so continue with the fixes until you solve the issue.

See fix #7 to learn how to set your OS to a previous restore point.

Fix #3: Update the Drivers

It is possible that ‘Kernel Security Check Failure’ occurs if you haven’t installed your drivers in a while or if you have newly installed ones.

  • Type “Device Manager” in the search bar – or right-click the Start menu and find it on the list.
  • Open Device Manager, right-click on your hard drive and click on “Update Driver“.
  • Update all the drivers on your system and restart the PC.

If you don’t want to update the drivers individually you might prefer to use Driver Verifier instead.

  • Type “Verifier” in the search bar, right-click it and choose “Run as Administrator“.
  • Select “Create Standard Settings” and press “Next“.
  • Click on “Automatically Select Drivers Built for Older Versions” and press “Next” (make a note of any newly listed drivers).
  • Go into Device Manager and update the drivers you made a note of.

Fix #4: Check the Hard Disk Drive

A corrupted or damaged hard disk drive can cause the ‘Kernel Security Check Failure’ error. You can use the CHKDSK utility which comes with Windows to check your drive’s health.

  • Open Command Prompt as an administrator and type in this: “chkdsk c: /f” (change the ‘c:’ to the correct drive letter).
Check The Hard Disk Drive
  • The ‘/f’ lets you scan the drive as well as fix any errors automatically.

If you get errors that cannot be fixed, run CHKDSK a second time but instead of the ‘/f’ use ‘/r’ to find bad drive sectors and attempt to recover readable data from there (this information might be useful in determining what went wrong with the hard drive).

Fix #5: Check Your Memory/RAM Health

This fix will check for RAM and memory problems. It’s best to remove the siding if you’re using a desktop computer to ensure the RAM is correctly fitted in the slots.

If so, check for problems using the memory diagnostics tool.

  • Open “Windows Memory Diagnostic” and select “Restart Now and Check for Problems“.

Wait for the PC to reboot and then follow the instructions on the screen.

If there are memory errors you might have to replace your RAM (memory stick) or reset/flush out the memory chip in the motherboard.

If there are no memory errors, proceed to fix #6.

Fix #6: Check Your System Files’ Health

The ‘Kernel Security Check Failure’ error can occur if you have corrupted system files. An SFC scan is the best way to check.

  • Type “CMD” or “Command prompt” in the search bar.
  • Right-click the best result and select “Run as Administrator“.
  • When the Command Prompt opens type this: “SFC /scannow” and press “Enter” to run the scan.
run the sfc scan

Wait until the scan has finished and then see whether the error remains.

Fix #7: Do a System Restore from a Prior Backup

If you backup your system periodically and the ‘Kernel Security Check Failure’ is new, you can restore your system to a date before the BSoD error began.

  • Right-click the Windows Start menu and navigate to Settings.
  • Click on “Update & Security” and select “Recovery” from the menu on the left side.
  • Select “Restart the PC” under the “Advanced Startup” tab and wait for the PC to reboot.
  • Select “Troubleshoot” then “Advanced Options” and “System Restore“.
  • Choose the restore point you want to use.

Once the computer is operational again, let it run any updates before doing anything else.

Fix #8: Reset Windows without a Restore Point

If there aren’t any backups, you can reset the PC. This lets you choose which personal folders and files to keep when Windows is reinstalled.

  • Right-click the Windows Start menu and navigate to Settings.
  • Click on “Update & Security” and select “Recovery” from the menu on the left side.
  • Than select “Reset This PC“, click on “Get Started” and choose whether to “Keep my files” or “Remove everything“.
Reset The Computer

Follow the instructions on the screen to finish process.

Fix #9: Install a Clean Copy of Windows 10

This is the most drastic fix but if none of the others have worked it might be your only option.

You will need the Microsoft Media Creation Tool and a USB stick.

If your Windows operating system is on the same drive as your documents, photos, videos, games, music, and so on, back those up somewhere safe before you proceed.

If you can’t access your PC you need to use another PC to make the USB boot drive.

  • Connect an empty USB to your PC (or the other PC you’re using for this) and go to the Media Creation Tool.
  • Download and create the USB boot drive using the software.
  • Change the boot order from hard drive to USB in the BIOS.
  • Restart the PC and it should boot up from the USB.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen to reinstall Windows 10.

When the installation is finished, you won’t see the ‘Kernel Security Check Failure’ error again, if it was an operating system issue.

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