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A Guide to the “Unexpected Kernel Mode Trap” Blue Screen of Death Error

This error means a hardware failure or conflict.

This article is the first in a series on Blue Screen of Death errors. A Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) is the error screen you see when Windows has a major issue. It halts the PC and displays some very important information.

BSoDs are much more common in Windows XP and Windows Vista than Windows 7, but still happen in all three operating systems (and Windows 8 too!)

Depending on the error message you get, the steps you need to take are different. So I’m going to go through each possible error message individually.

Error Name:


UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP has to do with a piece of PC hardware or component either failing completely or coming into conflict with another piece of hardware or component.

Steps to Take:

  1. Write down the Trap Codes

  2. This are several-digit codes with an X in it that appear on the BSoD screen alongside the above phrase.

  3. Look Up the Codes

  4. Check the codes on this site for more details on what they mean. This is a highly technical page, but the information here can tell you whether the problem is memory-related.

  5. Boot into Last Known Good Configuration

  6. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart your PC, then press F8 before the Windows logo appears. Choose Last Known Good Configuration, which will run Windows with the set of options that worked correctly last time. See if that helps. If so, something you may have installed recently could be the culprit.

  7. Remove Hardware

  8. Remove any hardware you may have installed recently, such as cards, USB devices or memory. If your PC runs fine without it, the hardware may be faulty.

  9. Get Driver Reviver

  10. Download, install and run Driver Reviver. You may need to reboot into Safe Mode with Networking (restart then press F8 again, and choose Safe Mode with Networking). Install Driver Reviver and update all your PCs drivers to the latest version. This may clear up the hardware conflict issue.

  11. Stop Overclocking

  12. If you’ve overclocked your PC, which means to deliberately crank up the speed past the recommended limits, this specific error can happen. Unfortunately, some PCs can’t handle overclocking.

Good luck! Check back soon for more BSoD errors and their explanations.

Steve Horton

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