Get the fix to the KERNEL SECURITY CHECK ERROR error message affecting Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.


The following information on this error has been compiled by NeoSmart Technologies, based on the information gathered and reported by our global network of engineers, developers, and technicians or partner organizations.

Description and Symptoms

The error messages, alerts, warnings, and symptoms below are tied to this error.

Symptom 1: KERNEL SECURITY CHECK ERROR error screen

The error is usually triggered when the kernel detects a corruption of data and, in most cases, it can be triggered by a USB-related problem or by a corrupt driver or device.

On Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 systems, the error screen looks like this:



Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We're just
collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you. (0%

If you'd like to know more, you can search online later for this error: KERNEL_SECURITY_CHECK_ERROR

Causes of this Error

This error has been known to occur as a result of one or more of the following:

Cause 1: System files or drivers are corrupt

The most common cause for this error are corrupt or missing system files or hardware drivers. This may happen because of disk read/write errors, or virus attacks. If that’s the case, then it is advisable to scan the system files for errors and restore them if necessary.


Fix #1: Check error log with Event Viewer

Using the Event Viewer tool you can troubleshoot and try to pinpoint the cause for why the error appears.

To access Event Viewer, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type Administrative Tools in the search box
  3. Select Administrative tools from the results list
  4. Choose Computer Management
  5. Expand the Event Viewer tree from the right side
  6. Expand the Windows logs tree
  7. Select System
  8. Check for any error messages that may help you identify the device or the driver that’s triggering this error.If you can identify a device or driver from the error list, disable that device or driver and restart your computer to test if the error appears again.
Event log screen

Event log screen

Fix #2: Run Driver Verifier

The Driver Verifier utility can test all your installed drivers and could help you identify corrupt files and drivers. If the KERNEL SECURITY CHECK ERROR error is caused by a corrupt driver, the Driver Verifier tool can identify the problematic driver.

To access Driver Verifier, follow these steps:

  1. Start Windows
  2. Click start
  3. Type cmd in the search box to open Command Prompt
  4. Right-click on the Command Prompt item from the search results list
  5. Click Run as Administrator
  6. Type verifier in Command Prompt
  7. Press Enter
  8. Select the Create standard settings check box and then click Next
  9. Select the Automatically select all drivers installed on this computer option
  10. Click Finish

To test against specific drivers, follow these steps:

  1. Start Windows
  2. Click start
  3. Type verifier in the search box
  4. Select Create custom settings
  5. Click Next
  6. Select everything from the Select individual settings from the full list section. If you’re running Windows 8/8.1, leave the DDI compliance checking and randomized low resource simulation unchecked.
  7. Select Select driver names from a list
  8. Click Next
  9. From the new list select all drivers that are not listed with Microsoft as a provider
  10. Click Finish

The Driver Verifier tool will now run in the background and save any error logs if the KERNEL SECURITY CHECK ERROR appears again. If the error appears, open the logs to troubleshoot the driver.

Driver verifier screen

Driver verifier screen

Fix #3: Run sfc

On Windows Vista and Windows 7, it is possible to use the built-in Windows SFC(system file checker) tool to automatically scan a computer’s system files and repair them if necessary.

Here are the steps to run SFC:

  1. Boot from your Windows install disc
  2. Click on Repair your computer after selecting proper language, time and keyboard input.
  3. Select the Windows installation drive, which is usually C:\, and click Next
  4. Choose Command Prompt when the System Recovery Options box appears
  5. Write the following command and press Enter afterwards:
    sfc /scannow /offbootdir=D:\ /offwindir=D:\Windows\

    Replace D: with the letter of the driver where Windows is installed, and D:\Windows with the Windows folder location.

Here is an example of what the PC’s console output should look like once the sfc.exe scan is complete and missing files are successfully restored:

System files restored by the SFC utility

System files restored by the SFC utility

For more information on sfc, read the sfc guide.

Fix #4: Clean boot

A clean boot of your Windows will allow you to trobleshoot if the KERNEL SECURITY CHECK ERROR appears because of a third-party device or driver you’ve recently installed.

To clean boot a Windows XP, Vista or 7 system, follow these steps:

  1. Start Windows
  2. Click Start and type msconfig in the search box or open Run > type msconfig
  3. Press Enter
  4. Go to the General tab
  5. Check Selective Startup radio button
  6. Uncheck the Load startup items check box
  7. Go to the Services tab
  8. Check Hide all Microsoft service check box
  9. Click Disable all
  10. Click OK
  11. Restart your computer

To clean boot a Windows 8 or 8.1 system, follow these steps:

  1. Follow the same steps from Windows XP/Vista/7 above
  2. Go to the Startup tab
  3. Disable all startup items
  4. Restart your computer
Msconfig utility screen

Msconfig utility screen

Fix #5: Install all pending updates

Make sure your Automatic Updates option is turned on and you have the latest updates install for your system.

Follow these steps:

  1. Windows Vista, 7 users can type update in the search box to open Windows Updates.Windows 8 users can open the Charm Bar by pressing Windows key and the C keys and then go Settings > Change PC Settings
  2. Click Update and Recovery
  3. Click Choose how updates get installed
  4. Select Install updates automatically at the Important updates section
  5. Check Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates check box under Recommended updates
  6. Click OK
Windows Update setting screen

Windows Update setting screen

More Information

Linked Entries

Support Links

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP (all editions)
  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)

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