5 Fixes for Kernel Security Check Failure BSOD in 2024

Key Takeaways
  • The "Kernel Security Check Failure" BSOD in Windows can be caused by hardware issues (like failing hard drives or faulty RAM) or software problems (such as bad drivers, malware, or corrupted Windows files).
  • Common fixes include checking and repairing the hard drive with "chkdsk," testing RAM with MemTest86, updating or reinstalling drivers, scanning for viruses, and using system file check tools like "sfc /scannow" and "DISM."
  • If issues persist, consider resetting Windows or reinstalling it. If hardware is suspected, test components individually or on another computer to identify the faulty part.

The “Kernel Security Check FailureBlue Screen of Death is an error that occurs in Windows-based Operating Systems. Users may experience a BSOD or a Blue Screen Of Death followed by a restart when this error occurs.

This issue may be caused by both hardware and software-level components. The Kernel is an integral part of the Operating System that acts as a bridge between hardware and software. It interacts directly with the hardware, providing an abstraction layer that enhances system stability and software development.

Consider the Kernel as an intermediary between the software and the hardware. Within this context, there exist Kernel mode programs that are given elevated permissions like device drivers for your GPU etcetera. A Kernel Security Check Failure occurs when these Kernel mode programs or basically drivers execute an illegal instruction that the Kernel deems illegal.

Where does the Kernel reside in the OS | baeldung

Therefore, there can exist several possibilities that may lead to this BSOD. In this guide, we will discuss a few common fixes to this problem:

How to Fix Kernel Security Check Failure

It is important to know if our problem is due to the hardware or the software. We’ve defined 5 methods to help users in identifying the root cause of their problem. It is recommended you perform all these steps, since there’s no sure way of knowing otherwise.

1) Failing Hard Drive

The “Kernel Security Check Failure” can be traced back to a failing hard disk drive. If you have a spare Hard Disk lying around with Windows installed, you may swap it with your existing drive just to make sure. However, Windows offers a few utilities to verify the disk’s integrity without any physical interaction as well;

  1. Open the Windows Search Bar and search for the term “CMD“.

  2. Either right-click on the first option and click “Run as administrator” or use the option in the right panel as indicated by the attached image.

  3. Once you open an elevated CMD window, type the command “chkdsk /f C:“, without the double commas. It is important to note that “C” represents the drive letter in which Windows has been installed. If your Windows is installed somewhere else, like “D” or “E“, change it accordingly.

  4. If you get an error message stating, “The type of the file system is NTFS. Cannot lock current drive” then you will be given an option to perform a test on your next restart. Type “Y” after the question as shown in the image.

  5. Now restart your computer by pressing the Windows Icon in your taskbar >> Shutdown icon >> Restart.

  6. On restarting, you may notice a screen like this. Let things proceed normally as your disk is scanned.

  7. If there was some problem with your disk, the BSOD should have been resolved by now. However, if that’s not the case, let’s proceed to the next step.

READ MORE: How to Repartition a Hard Drive on Windows ➜

2) Faulty RAM/Memory

Alongside the hard drive, sometimes faulty memory can lead to this issue. Now there are two ways of verifying if your memory is bad or not. You can either use your PC with individual DIMMs to pinpoint the faulty stick. This method can save you time, if it works of course.

However, this is just a band-aid solution, and the actual way to verify your RAM is by using a software known as MemTest86. The downside is that this method is slightly tricky and can take a few hours, depending on your RAM size.

➜ Installation Procedure

  1. This process can take a few hours so make sure you have no important task pending.
  2. You will need a USB Flash Drive.
  3. Visit the MemTest86 link by searching the term on Google or by using this link, verify the URL; “https://www.memtest86.com“.
  4. Click on the “Download” button. Afterward, you will be prompted to another page.

  5. For the sake of this guide, we shall use the Free version, so click on the “Download MemTest86 Free” option.

  6. MemTest86 will start downloading. Once the download is finished, extract the .zip into any folder. If you’re using WinRAR, open the .zip file, select all files in it, and drag and drop them into your desired folder.

  7. Connect the USB Flash Drive to your PC and open the “imageUSB” executable file. In Step 1, select your respective USB Drive and choose “Write image to USB drive” or the first option in Step 2. In Step 3, make sure the “memtest86-usb.img” file has been selected since this is the file that will be copied to your USB.
    If unsure, click “Browse” and select the “memtest86-usb.img” file in the folder where you extracted MemTest86.

  8. You will be prompted to confirm if you want to write an image of the selected .iso file to the USB. Note that all data in your USB will be formatted. Select “Yes” twice.

  9. Once the imaging is done, shut down your PC. Assume you have 2 RAM sticks “A” and “B“, we want to perform the test on each stick. Start the PC with “A“, test it, then repeat with “B“.

➜ Setting Up & Testing

  1. Now you want to enter BIOS/UEFI and boot from the USB drive. To do this, enter the BIOS by pressing the “Delete“, “F1“, “F2” or the “F10” key. Once in the BIOS, navigate to the “Boot” section and find a setting called “Boot order priority” or something of the sort. (Image Credit: MSI)

  2. Simply, set the “Boot Option #1” to the connected USB Flash Drive. Save the BIOS settings and restart your PC. Once MemTest boots up, select the “Config” option and you will be presented with the following screen: (Image Credit: MemTest86)

  3. This may look intimidating, but all you need to do is press the “S” key on your keyboard to start the verification test. Once the test is complete, which does require a significant amount of time (3-4 hours generally), you will be presented with one of the following codes: (Image Credit: MemTest86)

  4. A “PASS” means your crashes are not related to your RAM so you can cross that one out from the list. A “FAIL“, however, means that your RAM is faulty and whatever BSODs you’re facing are likely caused by this.

READ MORE: 7 Best RAM For AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D in 2024 ➜

3) Bad Drivers

If we go by definition, then a Kernel Security Check Failure occurs when a driver attempts to execute an illegal instruction. Put two and two together and if you recently updated your drivers, the crashes can be linked to poorly written drivers.

We can use the WhoCrashed software utility to identity if the issue is driver related or not.

  1. Search “WhoCrashed” on Google and open the link by Resplendence Software. Verify the URL; “https://www.resplendence.com/whocrashed“.

  2. Click on the “Download Home Edition” option once you open the page.

  3. A “Free Downloads” webpage will open, scroll down until you see “WhoCrashed” under the “Crash Analysis Tools” category. Select “Download Free Home Edition“.

  4. Install the software and run it. Click on the “Analyze” button which basically looks through your dump files and tries to find the root cause of the error. Scroll down to see the synopsis.

  5. In a specific user’s case, the error analysis looked something like this. While there are a number of different given causes, one may think the problem is driver-related. However, the fix in this case was simply doing an “sfc /scannow” alongside “DISM” which we’ll explain below. The crux of the argument is that you may need to do all of these steps to pinpoint the culprit.

  6. Anyhow, just to make sure the issue is not driver-related, search “Device Manager” in the Windows Search Bar and click on the first option.

  7. Now you’re in a game of cat and mouse. Expand each driver list and see if any driver is malfunctioning and requires updating. The most common offenders are your GPU, chipset, I/O, SATA, and USB drivers.

READ MORE: 7 Best RAM For AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D in 2024 ➜

4) Viruses/Malware

An overlooked suspect in the “Kernel Security Check Failure” BSOD is viruses. While viruses do not “mostly” intend to screw up your evening with an unwanted crash, they may indirectly cause this issue. Hence, it is always a good idea to perform a thorough scan of your computer. You may use Windows Defender or any other antivirus for this purpose.

  1. Search “Windows Security” in the Windows Search Bar and select the first option.

  2. Select the “Virus & threat protection” option.

  3. Click on the “Scan options” setting.

  4. Click on the “Full scan” setting and then “Scan now“. Your entire HDD/SSD will be scanned thoroughly. This process may take a few hours.

  5. If you find any viruses, remove/quarantine them. You may use some other option like MalwareBytes, however, Windows Defender can almost always do the job for the average user.

READ MORE: Antivirus vs Windows defender – Which one should you use? ➜

5) Corrupted Windows

Another cause of this BSOD may be corrupted Windows or Registry files. Many people reported that their BSOD went away as soon as they scanned their Windows installation. There are two ways of doing this; you may either run 2 commands and pray the issue gets resolved.

Worst case scenario, you’ll need to reinstall Windows which thankfully nowadays doesn’t take long. You also have the option to back up your important files and documents.

➜ Using CMD

  1. Run an elevated CMD window by searching the term “CMD” in the Windows Search Bar and clicking on “Run as administrator‘.

  2. Once CMD is open, type the command “sfc /scannow“, without the double commas, and press “Enter“. This prompt will scan your system files and may take a while.

  3. If any corrupt files were found, you should receive the the following message.

  4. Now, enter the command “dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth“, again without the double commas, and press “Enter“. Let the process finish. If you’re stuck at 62.3%, then Windows Update is probably downloading some missing files/packages.

  5. Once the restoration process has been completed, the following message should appear.

➜ Formatting Your Windows

We’ve all been there. Nothing works and it has to be the Operating System’s fault. At this point, either your hardware is faulty, or maybe you need a fresh install of Windows. Let’s learn the different options that Windows provides us to reset our OS:

You have the option to retain your personal data and just reinstall the core system files. Likewise, you can go for a complete reset. We recommend you to completely reset your Windows so that no unforeseen errors occur.

  1. Open the Windows Search Bar and type “Reset” and select the “Reset this PC” option.

  2. When the required window opens, select the “Reset this PC” option.

  3. Choose “Keep my files” if you wish to retain your documents, videos, and images, or choose “Remove everything” if you want a fresh reinstall. Note that installed apps will not be retained.

  4. In the next page, select “Cloud download” if you are connected to the Internet. This option will fetch a clean copy of Windows from Microsoft’s servers. You may also go for a “Local reinstall“, however, this option tends to result in failure if your current copy of Windows is corrupted.

  5. Sit tight and wait for Windows to be downloaded and reinstalled.
  6. If you have the know-how, you can also create a bootable USB, flash Windows on it, mount it, boot from the USB, and install Windows, but the choice is yours. The aforementioned method is just simpler and more convenient for everyone.
  7. Once Windows has been reinstalled, check to see if you face any BSODs.

Read More: How to Create Windows 11 Bootable USB Installation Media➜


The “Kernel Security Check FailureBSOD can occur due to poorly written software or faulty hardware. We’ve nailed down the most common suspects on both the software and the hardware level. Most likely, you may have a corrupted Windows installation, a bad 3rd party, or even an official driver.

In case these errors still persist after reinstalling Windows, you could be dealing with broken hardware. The RAM is most susceptible in this case, which you may also verify using MemTest86 as shown in our guide. However, if even that did not work then your CPU, GPU, motherboard, PSU, and almost any component could be faulty.

The general rule of thumb in such cases is to find a spare computer and try to swap out each component to see if you can recreate the same BSOD in the other system. This is extremely time-consuming, but it could save you the hassle of creating a new PC from scratch.


Is the Kernel Security Check Failure hardware or software related?

This Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) may be caused by both hardware and software components. This issue typically occurs when a kernel-mode program executes illegal instructions. These illegal instructions can result from poorly written drivers or malfunctioning hardware.

Can this issue brick my PC?

Yes and no. If the BSODs are so frequent that you cannot run any diagnostic tool, you may need to start Windows in Safe Mode. However, generally speaking, such issues are uncommon, and if they occur, Safe Mode can usually resolve them.

Can my CPU cause this BSOD?

Yes. There have been cases where users found their CPU, and even their motherboard, to be the culprits behind these BSODs. However, such cases are extremely rare.


Abdullah Faisal

With a love for computers since the age of five, Abdullah has always sought to delve into the depths of information, and uses it as his guiding light. He believes success is of utmost importance as history is written by the victor.