Several users reported receiving an error “Kernel-Mode Hardware-Enforced Stack Protection is off” when they start their PCs and perform a basic operation. Well, the above error message means that your device is now vulnerable to online as well as offline threats.
This error primarily occurs when you upgrade Windows Security to its next available Build version. In this blog post, we will discuss what possibly can trigger this error message and five solutions that should fix this issue on Windows 11/10.
What is Kernel-Mode Hardware-Enforced Stack Protection?
As its name suggests, this is basically a security feature and it protects Windows OS from different attacks including Memory attacks, or Stack Buffer Overflows. Independently, Kernel-Mode Hardware-Enforced Stack Protection is of no worth. That’s the reason why, it is used in conjunction with internal security features like Local Security Authority protection (LSA).
Microsoft developers were and are still working on the security aspects of Windows for quite a long time. Back in April 2023, this tech giant introduced its users to the “Kernel-mode Hardware-enforced Stack Protection” feature.
Note: Windows users may use this new protection only when they are using some advanced processors like Intel Tiger Lake CPU or AMD Zen3 CPU. Both these processors allow enabling CPU virtualization in the BIOS.
What causes Kernel-mode errors in Windows?
Kernel-mode errors may occur due to the presence of some incompatible device drivers. If you have recently upgraded some device drivers citing compatibility issues, you should roll back that particular driver. Windows Users may even try a premium tool called “DriverFix” to automatically detect and resolve issues within your Kernel.
Fix Kernel-mode Hardware-enforced Stack Protection is off
If the Kernel-mode hardware-enforced stack protection is disabled on your Windows PC, here are a few suggestions you should try –
1] Tweak the Registry Editor
This is the most effective solution to the “Kernel-mode hardware-enforced stack protection is off” issue on Windows PC. Here’s what you need to do on your computer –
- Press Windows + R to launch the Run dialog.
- Type “Regedit” and hit OK.
- The UAC window will prompt next, hit Yes to authorize opening the registry.
- When the registry launches, navigate to the below path address –
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
- Head over to the right pane and locate the FeatureSettingsOverride entry.
- When found, right-click on it, and select Properties.
Note: If you didn’t find such an entry, right-click anywhere on the right pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Make sure to rename this entry to FeatureSettingsOverride. Once created, double-click on it to open its Properties.
- Put 9 in the Value data field, and hit OK.
- Close the registry and any other windows running in the background.
Restart your PC next so that the recent changes come into effect from the next login. Hopefully, the Kernel-mode Hardware-enforced Stack Protection is now enabled on your Windows PC. If not, follow the next set of solutions –
2] Enable Virtualization in BIOS
With recent developments in the computer world, users may now enable CPU virtualization under the BIOS Settings. After you enable this feature, your single physical processor can work as multiple virtual processors. Several users reported fixing the “Kernel-mode hardware-enforced stack protection is turned off” error by enabling Virtualization in their system’s BIOS.
Since this solution requires making changes to the BIOS, the steps outlined below may vary from one manufacturer to another. However, the basic idea remains the same and that is to enable Virtualization in BIOS.
- Shut down your computer first and wait for 10-20 seconds.
- Press the Power button to restart your Windows PC and keep pressing the BIOS key. This key varies from one manufacturer to another, however, it usually is either Esc, F2, F12, or Del.
- Windows 11/10 will automatically boot into its BIOS.
- You may find this virtualization setting either under Advanced, CPU Configuration, Chipset, or Security.
- Once located, enable the virtualization option by turning on settings like Virtualization Technology, Intel VT-x, or AMD-V.
- Press F10 to save the recent changes and come out of the BIOS Screen.
- Your device will boot normally now with virtualization enabled on it.
Go and check if the “Kernel-mode hardware-enforced stack protection is turned off” error resolves this way.
3] Update BIOS
Kernel-mode Hardware-enforced Stack Protection must be enabled by now. If not, this might happen because you are on an older version of BIOS on your Windows PC. If that’s the case, you should first update your BIOS and then only go ahead with enabling Virtualization.
Warning: Making incorrect changes inside the BIOS may corrupt your entire operating system. So, do check the steps correctly and perform as outlined below.
- Press Windows + R to launch the Run dialog.
- Type “
msinfo” on it and hit OK.
- Doing this will invoke the System Information window on your computer.
- Scroll down to BIOS Version/Date and note them down. You may also take a snapshot of the System Information page.
- Go to the official website of your computer next and search for the latest updates of your system’s BIOS.
On the website itself, you will find the relevant steps by which you can update the BIOS on your computer.
4] Uninstall Faulty Apps or Games
After you update the BIOS on your Windows PC, this “Kernel-mode Hardware-Enforced Protection is off” issue resolves on its own. If not, there must be some conflicting applications installed on your computer. In case you do remember which application is most likely to cause this issue, you should uninstall the same by booting into Safe Mode on your PC.
Note: Make sure to uninstall all the applications that were installed afterward encountering this Kernel error. If you do know of an app that after installation, starts causing this issue, you must remove that application first from your device.
5] Reset Windows 11
If none of the above fixes work to resolve this Kernel-mode hardware-enforced Stact protection issue on your PC, users should go for the “resetting Windows 11” option. When you reset Windows OS, all default settings and configurations are installed on your computer. This also ensures no new bugs or issues start appearing after you reset your PC.
Note: Make sure to create a backup of all your important files and folders. This is an essential process as your data may get lost and other personal information during this resetting process.
Hopefully, the “Kernel-Mode Hardware-Enforced Stack Protection is Off” must have been resolved by now. If not, let’s know in the comment section and we will try providing you with some advanced tricks.
Tip: If you are facing update, activation, or driver issues on your Windows PC, try RESTORO PC Repair Tool. This software will scan your device for potential issues and resolve them automatically.