How to Fix a Kmode Exception Not Handled Error in Windows

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You can normally fix a kmode_exception_not_handled error by disabling Fast Startup. If you can identify the hardware causing the error, updating its drivers may be a more permanent fix. If you keep getting the kmode exception BSOD, test your RAM for problems.

Seeing a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) when starting or using Windows is never fun. Fortunately, not all BSODs are a disaster. Many, including the Kmode Exception Not Handled error, are easy to fix.

Table of Contents

What Causes a Kmode Exception Error?
How to Fix Kmode Exception Not Handled
Disable Fast Startup
Update the Problem Drivers
Stuck in a Kmode Exception Error Loop? Update Your Graphics Drivers
If All Else Fails, Test Your RAM

What Causes a Kmode Exception Error?

The “Kmode Exception Not Handled” error occurs when a kernel-mode (Kmode) program in Windows generates an exception that the error handler did not catch. An exception is an event that occurs during the execution of a process, and the Kmode is a process that grants the right to access all system memory and CPU instructions. It is reserved for the most essential elements of the Windows system, the CPU, and attached devices.

In short, this error happens when a system element, commonly a device driver, overwrites the memory of another element. The error could not be resolved by the system, so you have an “unhandled” exception. It can occur in Windows 11, but you are more likely to see it when using Windows 10.

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How to Fix Kmode Exception Not Handled

There are a few potentially quick and relatively easy ways to fix the kmode exception not handled error in Windows. Trying these fixes in the order they appear here will give you the best chance of solving the problem without too much frustration.

Before you begin, make a note of any file name displayed in brackets at the end of the kmode_exception_not_handled message on the error screen. This, if it appears, will help you locate the problem driver later.

Disable Fast Startup

Disabling Fast Startup can often fix the kmode error, either temporarily or permanently. Fast Startup is a feature that allows Windows to load more quickly from shutdown or hibernation, partly by preloading drivers. If the problem drivers are a part of that preload, you will just be reloading the error each time.

You can disable Fast Startup by searching for and opening the Control Panel. Go to “System and Security > Power Options,” and click “Choose what power buttons do.” Click “Change settings that are currently unavailable” and then uncheck the box next to “Turn on fast startup”.

disable fast startup in control panel

Save the changes and restart your computer. This could fix the kmode exception not handled error or at least give you breathing room to tackle the underlying cause: missing or corrupted drivers.

Update the Problem Drivers

Assuming you want to permanently fix the problem, and be able to re-enable Fast Startup, you’ll need to repair, update or replace the driver that is the likely cause.

If a file name was displayed along with the error message, search for it online to find out what hardware the driver relates to. A common cause of the kmode exception error is outdated network drivers.

Search for and open Device Manager, and find the hardware the driver is associated with. Right-click on the device in the list and select “Update Driver” from the menu. From the options provided, select “Search automatically for drivers.”

updating device drivers in device manager

Hopefully, a new driver will be found and you can update it. If the driver search fails, try visiting the device manufacturer’s website for a new driver, and then update the driver manually.

If there was no clue to the cause of the error in the message, instead look for any devices that show up as “Unknown Device.” This potentially means that the driver for that device is missing or corrupted and needs to be replaced. You will have to dig into the device details, find the hardware ID and then search online to identify the device before you can update/replace the drivers.

Stuck in a Kmode Exception Error Loop? Update Your Graphics Drivers

Occasionally, the kmode exception not handled error will go into a loop, reappearing over and over each time Windows restarts. As above, this is usually caused by a driver error, but in this case, it is probably the display driver. You will need to download new display drivers from your graphics card manufacturer’s website, whether its NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel.

To get past the error loop, boot into safe mode. You will then be able to install your new downloaded display driver and hopefully fix the error loop.

If All Else Fails, Test Your RAM

If none of the above solves the problem, you could be looking at a memory issue, specifically with RAM. In some cases, the error message will state that RAM is the problem, but not always.

You can scan for RAM errors using the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. Search for and open the tool, and choose one of the two options to run the scan on restart. If the error occurs during the scan, your RAM is at fault.

Shut down your computer and remove and reseat the RAM modules to ensure they are firmly connected. Restart your PC and run the memory diagnostic again. If the error no longer occurs, you’ve fixed the issue. If it does, you might need to buy some new RAM.

RELATED: How to Fix a WHEA Uncorrectable Error in Windows 10

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