How to fix a general protection fault

Updated: 06/30/2020 by Computer Hope
general protection fault

If you frequently encounter GPF (general protection fault) errors when running an application on your computer, the following recommendations may help you fix the problem.

Remove all TSRs

Disable or unload any TSRs or programs currently running before running the program causing the GPF.

Delete all program temporary files

Delete all temporary files that may still be residing on the hard drive from currently or previously running programs.

Run ScanDisk and Defrag

Run ScanDisk and Defrag on the hard drive to verify the hard drive doesn't have an issue causing the swap file or data files to become corrupt or invalid.

Verify your computer has more than 200 MB available

If your computer is running low on hard drive space, your Windows swap file cannot increase in size when needed. This situation can cause programs to be swapped between memory and the hard drive more frequently, which leads to more GPFs.

Recently installed software or hardware

If you have recently installed new software or hardware, uninstall or reinstall that software or hardware to verify it is not causing your issue.

Disable external cache

If your CPU utilizes external cache, disable it temporarily to verify if it's causing your GPF error messages. If this option is available, it can be disabled through CMOS setup.

If this resolves your issue we recommend you contact the manufacturer of your computer, motherboard manufacturer, or CPU manufacturer for additional recommendations.


In some cases, a BIOS update designed for this problem can also resolve cache-related issues.

Disable Power Management and screen savers

If you are receiving GPFs when the computer is inactive for extended periods, disable Power Management and screen savers to ensure that they are not causing your issue.

Operating system issue

Windows related files can cause a general protection fault. For example, a general protection fault with Explorer and KRNL386.EXE. Reinstall Windows to resolve the issue with Windows related files.

Bad memory, or other types of hardware failure

If you have followed all the above recommendations and continue to experience GPFs, there may be bad or failing hardware inside your computer. Often bad memory is the primary cause for random GPFs.