Kernel Security Check Failure BSoD on Windows 10 Machines [Fix]

The blue screen of death error, known as “Kernel Security Check Failure” is one of the more serious stop code error messages you can receive. While it does occur on Windows 8/7, we will be focusing on fixes for those running Windows 10 machines. When we say that this is one of the more serious BSoD errors, it’s because it is most commonly caused by system data corruption or incompatibility issues which can be system wide. Troubleshooting the entire machine is a bit more time-consuming than if you have an isolated incident.

Kernel Security Check Failure error message on Windows Blue Screen

What Are The Causes Behind Kernel Security Check Failure?

There are several culprits behind the Kernel Security Check Failure error, with some being more serious issues than others. Here is what typically causes this BSoD error.

  • You have incompatible drivers or outdated drivers that aren’t playing nice.
  • You are having RAM/memory problems.
  • Recently installed software is conflicting with your system.
  • You have a virus infection corrupting Windows system files.
  • You have a hard disk that is damaged or corrupted.

When you upgrade your system, whether it is through a Windows update or you install a new RAM stick, if the drivers do not match or are not compatible with the latest update, you can get the Kernel Security Check Failure. This happens a lot with older versions of the Windows operating system. You may also get this error after your computer wakes from sleep, when playing video games, or when using specific apps or programs.

9 Methods to Fix The Kernel Security Check Failure

One of the easiest ways to find out what is causing the Kernel Security Check Failure, is to eliminate the potential causes by category.

1. System Check.

So, let’s begin with checking to make sure your system is up to date. An out of date system can become unstable, so it is important to make sure that your system is always up to date with the latest iterations of software.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in “update”.
  2. Choose “Check for Updates” – System Settings.
  3. This will bring up Windows Update.
  4. Install the available updates.
Install Windows Updates.

When the updates are done, make sure your computer restarts.

2. Infection Scan.

Now you should scan for infections on the computer. We recommend using the Windows Security Tool for the job, but you can run your own antivirus program if you have one installed.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in “security”.
  2. Open up Windows Security – App.
  3. Click on Virus & Threat Protection.
  4. In the new window, click scan options.
  5. Run a “Full Scan” to check the entire system.
How to Run a Full Scan for Infections.

If there is malware running on the computer and the security tool cannot remove it, then you will want to restore your operating system to a point where the virus did not exist. This requires you to have done previous backups though. If there are no backups available, a complete wipe of the operating system is required and a fresh install is needed. If the malware is wiped with the security tool, carry on with the solutions below if the Kernel Security Check Failure keeps occurring. To learn the system restore steps, see solution 7 below.

3. Update Your Drivers.

If you have newly installed drivers or haven’t updated your drivers in a long time, this can be the cause of your Kernel Security Check Failure BSoD error message.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in Device Manager.
  2. Or, right-click the Windows start menu and select from list.
  3. Find your hard drive, right-click, and update the driver.
  4. Update all drivers on your system.
  5. Restart the computer and see if the issue persists.
How to update drivers in Device Manager.

Another way you can do this if you don’t want to update every single driver is to use the Driver Verifier feature.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in “Verifier” – it’s a command.
  2. Right-click it and run it as an administrator.
  3. Use the “create standard settings” option and hit next.
  4. Select “automatically select drivers build for older versions” and hit the next button.
  5. If older drivers are found, write them down.
  6. Click back and choose “automatically select unsigned drivers”.
  7. Write down any newly listed drivers from the list.
  8. Hit cancel.
Driver Verifier Update Manager

Now go into the Device Manager and update the drivers on your written list.

4. Check Your Hard Disk Drive.

Another common cause for the Kernel Security Check Failure error is a damaged or corrupted hard disk drive. The best way to check the health of your drive is with the CHKDSK Utility built right into Windows.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in “CMD” or Command Prompt.
  2. Right-click on the option in “best results” and choose Administrator.
  3. Run it as an administrator.
  4. When Command Prompt opens, type in: chkdsk c: /f
  5. Make sure to input the proper letter of your drive, then hit Enter.
How to run Command Prompt as an admin.

The “/f” allows you to scan the drive and fix the errors automatically. If errors come back that can’t be corrected, run CHKDSK again but instead of “F” use /r to locate any bad sectors on the drive and try to recover readable information from them. This information may be able to tell you what is wrong with the hard.

5. Check the Health of Your RAM/Memory.

Now let’s check to see if there are any memory or RAM issues. We highly recommend for desktop computers that you pull off the siding and check to make sure that your RAM is seated in its slots properly. If it is, use the memory diagnostics tool to check for problems.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in Windows Memory Diagnostic.
  2. Open up the tool found under the “best results” section.
  3. Choose the first option, to restart and check for problems.
  4. Allow the computer to restart – it won’t be as quick as normal.
  5. Wait until the computer boots and follow the on-screen instructions.
  6. It will let you know if there are memory problems.
How to Run Windows Memory Diagnostic.

If there are memory problems, it is likely that you need to replace one of your memory sticks (RAM) or you may need to flush out/reset your motherboard’s memory chip. If there are no memory problems found, carry on to the next solution.

6. Check the Health of Your System Files.

The Kernel Security Check Failure BSoD can be caused by corrupted system files and the easiest way to check this is with an SFC Scan.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in “CMD” or Command Prompt.
  2. Right-click on the option in “best results” and choose Administrator.
  3. Run it as an administrator.
  4. When Command Prompt opens, type in: SFC /scannow
  5. Hit Enter to run the scan.

The scan may take awhile as it is checking all of the files associated with your system. It should automatically repair any errors it finds. Wait until it is done and then close it out.

Note: If you run into an SFC /Scannow error when starting the scan, don’t worry. We have written dedicated articles on what to do if SFC scannow is not working, including:

7. Perform a System Restore from a Previous Backup.

If the Kernel Security Check Failure is very recent, and you do regular backups of your system, you can perform a system restore to a time when the computer didn’t encounter the BSoD error.

Use Advanced System Startup to do a System Restore.
  1. Right-click your Windows start menu and go to settings.
  2. Click into “Update & Security”.
  3. Choose the Recovery option from the left-hand menu.
  4. Under “Advanced Startup” choose to restart the computer.
  5. When the computer reboots, choose Troubleshoot and then Advanced Options.
  6. Now choose to do a System Restore.
  7. Select the restore point you want to restore from.

Once the system restore is operational, allow the computer to run its updates before using it.

8. Reset Windows if There is No Restore Point.

If you do not have any backups for a restore point, then you can try resetting your computer. This will allow you to choose what personal files you want to keep while Windows is reinstalled.

  1. Repeat steps 1-3 in method 7 above.
  2. In the Recovery Window, choose to “Reset This PC” instead.
  3. Click on the Get Started button.
  4. Choose whether you want to keep personal files or have everything removed.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.
How to Reset Windows Completely.

9. Perform a Complete Clean Installation of Windows 10.

You can do a complete clean installation of Windows with nothing but a USB stick and Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool. Before going ahead with this though, if you are running Windows on the same hard disk as all of your personal files – think videos, games, documents, pictures, etc then back these up somewhere safe before proceeding.

Note: if you don’t have access to your computer, you will need to use someone else’s to create a USB boot drive.

  1. Connect the empty USB to your computer (or someone else’s) and go to Microsoft’s media creation tool page linked above.
  2. Use the software to download and create a USB boot drive.
  3. Restart your computer and boot into the BIOS.
  4. Change the boot order in the BIOS from your hard drive to the USB.
  5. Restart the computer. It should boot from the USB.

Now follow the on-screen instructions for a clean installation of Windows. Once the installation is complete, you should no longer get the Kernel Security Check Failure error if it was a problem with your Windows operating system.

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