FIX: Kernel security check failure in Photoshop

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Adobe Photoshop is one of the world's most well-known raster-based image editors.
  • The article below will be looking over several solutions to fixing the Kernel security check failure in Adobe Photoshop.
  • You can read more about this amazing product in our dedicated Adobe Photoshop Hub.
  • More similar troubleshooting guides can be found in our dedicated Adobe Fix page.
How to fix Kernel security check failure in Photoshop

Photoshop is without a doubt one of the best photo editing software, but it seems that Windows 10 users are having problems with Photoshop.

According to users, they are getting Kernel security check failure error screen in Photoshop, so let’s see how to fix this problem.

Kernel security check failure in Photoshop, how to fix it?

Kernel security check failure error can prevent you from running Photoshop, and speaking of this error, here are some similar issues that users reported.

  • Photoshop CC Kernel security check failure
    • According to users, this problem can affect Photoshop CC, but you might be able to fix it by finding and moving sniffer.exe file.
  • Kernel security check failure when opening Photoshop
    • Several users reported that they are unable to open Photoshop due to this error.
    • However, rolling back your drivers might fix the problem.
  • Kernel security check failure Photoshop Windows 10, BSOD
    • This error is usually followed by blue screen, and if you encounter it, be sure to uninstall your graphic card driver and check if that helps.
  • Kernel security check failure Windows 8.1 Photoshop
    • This issue can appear on any version of Windows, but if you encounter this error on Windows 8.1, you should be able to fix it with some of our solutions.
  • Kernel security check failure Photoshop AMD driver, Nvidia
    • Sometimes your graphics card drivers can be the problem, and to fix the issue, simply update them and check if that solves the problem.

1. Get the latest version of Adobe Photoshop

Before going ahead with any troubleshooting steps, make sure that the problem isn’t just the fact that your current Photoshop installation is old.

Thus, before proceeding with the steps below, simply get the latest version of Adobe Photoshop and see if that doesn’t solve your problem all by itself.

Download Adobe Photoshop

2. Start Photoshop in Safe Mode

Safe Mode is designed to run with only default services and drivers enabled, so you might to try starting Photoshop in Safe Mode. To enter Safe Mode, do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. When Settings app opens, navigate to Update & Security section.
    Photoshop CC Kernel security check failure
  3. Go to the Recovery tab and click Restart now button.
    Kernel security check failure when opening Photoshop
  4. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings and click the Restart button.
  5. After your computer restarts, you’ll see a list of options.
    • Press the appropriate key to choose Safe Mode.
    • You can use any version of Safe Mode for this process.
  6. After you enter Safe Mode, try running Photoshop.

If the error doesn’t appear in Safe Mode, it means that is caused by your drivers or some other third-party software.

3. Rollback your Nvidia drivers

Photoshop utilizes your graphic card for processing, and it seems that there’s an issue with the latest Nvidia drivers and Photoshop. According to users, you can fix this problem by rolling back to the previous version of Nvidia drivers.

To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Power User Menu.
  2. Select Device Manager.
    Photoshop CC Kernel security check failure
  3. When Device Manager opens locate your display adapter and double click it to see its properties.
  4. Go to the Driver tab and click the Roll Back Driver button.
    Kernel security check failure Photoshop Windows 10
  5. After the rollback procedure is completed, restart your PC and check if the problem is resolved.

So far, only Nvidia users reported this issue, and AMD users shouldn’t be affected by this problem. If you have AMD graphic card and you’re having this problem, you might want to try this solution.

You can also try to uninstall your Nvidia drivers completely and install the older version of the drivers. You can do that from Device Manager, or you can use Display Driver Uninstaller software.

Users suggest using Display Driver Uninstaller because it deletes all files associated with your Nvidia graphic card. After removing the driver, simply download the older version and install it, and Photoshop should start working without any problems.

4. Move or delete sniffer.exe

Sniffer.exe is a small application in Photoshop folder that is designed to use your graphic card. Apparently, there’s a problem with this application that is causing Kernel security check failure error to appear, and only solution is to move or delete this application.

To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Photoshop installation directory.
    1. This directory is usually C:Program > Files> Adobe> Adobe Photoshop CC
    2. It can be different depending on the version of Photoshop that you’re using.
  2. In the Photoshop directory locate sniffer.exe or sniffer_gpu.exe and move it to your Desktop or any other folder.
    • You can also delete this application, but we suggest that you keep it in case you need it.

After moving the sniffer.exe file, Photoshop should start working without any problems. Keep in mind that moving this file will disable GPU processing in Photoshop, so if you use this feature heavily you might want to try something else.

5. Use your dedicated Nvidia card with Photoshop

If you have both integrated and dedicated graphics card, you need to use your dedicated Nvidia card with Photoshop in order to avoid this error. To do that, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start Nvidia Control Panel and go to Manage 3D settings.
  2. Select the Program Settings tab and choose Photoshop from the list of applications.
  3. Set High-performance Nvidia processor as the preferred graphics processor for this program.
  4. Click Apply to save changes and check if the issue is resolved.

Some users are also recommending to enable Triple Buffering feature for Photoshop in Nvidia Control Panel, so be sure to try that as well. After doing that, try to start Photoshop again.

6. Disable your graphic card

This solution applies if you have both dedicated and integrated graphic card. According to users, after disabling the dedicated graphic card the issue with Photoshop was fixed.

To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Device Manager.
  2. When Device Manager opens, locate your dedicated graphics card, right-click it and choose Disable from the menu.
    Kernel security check failure Windows 8.1 Photoshop

After disabling the dedicated graphic card there shouldn’t be any more issues with Photoshop. Keep in mind that you’ll have to repeat these steps every time you want to start Photoshop.

Another way to disable your graphics card is to use the graphics card driver software. Sometimes these applications allow you to pick which graphics card you want to use as your graphics processor.

Alternatively, you can enter BIOS and disable your dedicated graphics from there.

7. Update your graphic card driver

Kernel security check failure Photoshop AMD driver

Although many users reported that installing the older version of Nvidia drivers fixed the problem for them, few are claiming that installing the latest drivers fixes the problem on their PC.

To update your drivers simply visit Nvidia’s website and download the latest drivers for your graphic card. After installing the latest drivers, check if the problem was resolved.

Updating drivers manually is very annoying, so we recommend you to download this driver updater tool (100% safe and tested by us) to do it automatically.

8. Upgrade your graphics card

If Kernel security check failure error keeps appearing whenever you try to run Photoshop, the issue might be your graphics card. Several users claim that their graphics card wasn’t detected by Photoshop at all.

If you still have this problem, even after trying all of our solutions, it’s possible that your graphics card just isn’t compatible with Photoshop, so you might have to replace it.

This usually happens with older or low-end graphics cards, but if you’re using mid-range or high-end graphics, the issue is probably something else.

9. Switch to 32-bit version

According to users, Kernel security check failure error affects only 64-bit versions of Photoshop, while 32-bit versions remain unaffected. If you’re having this problem, perhaps you should temporarily switch to 32-bit version until the issue is resolved.

Bear in mind that you might experience reduced performance with the 32-bit version, but if you can deal with slightly reduced performance, be sure to try this workaround.

Before you install the 32-bit version, perhaps it would be best to remove the 64-bit version from your PC. There are several ways to do that, but the best is to use uninstaller software such as Revo Uninstaller.

By using uninstaller software, you’ll completely remove the desired application, including its files and registry entries. After the 64-bit version is removed, install the 32-bit version and use it instead

Kernel security check failure error screen can be a big problem, but you can fix this problem in Photoshop by downgrading your drivers or by moving the sniffer.exe file to a different location.

FAQ: Learn more about Adobe Photoshop

  • Can I download Photoshop for free?

Yes, you can opt to try Adobe Photoshop for free for a 7-day period. You can also get the vector-based equivalent, Adobe Illustrator, under the same conditions.

  • Can I buy Adobe Photoshop permanently?

Unfortunately, no. The latest versions of Photoshop are subscription-based only.

  • Is Adobe Photoshop worth buying?

Because of the subscription, Adobe Photoshop is only worth buying if you use it constantly, and in a way that generates revenue for you.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in August 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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  • I have tried all the recommendations except reinstalling it on 32 bit. No success. When I open a file of 700Kb in Photoshop, a message comes up with “cannot open the command because not enough memory (ram)”.There is 766Gb usable on my C drive and 3.88GB usable on my ram. When I open the same file in Microsoft Photo, it works fine. I downloaded Photoshop 2018 beginning of February 2018 and worked perfectly for about 3 months then the problem started. (I had a windows update more or less that time.)