The ntkrnlmp.exe Error: What It Is and How to Fix It

This simple error can cause big problems

Ntkrnlmp.exe is the "to-do" list of your computer, and if you're getting a blue screen of death (BSOD), it is likely to be pointed out as one of the causes. But precisely why it causes the problem, and how to fix it, is a bit more nuanced than deleting the file.

What Is ntkrnlmp.exe?

Ntkrnlmp is an abbreviation for NT Kernel, Multi-Processor Version. The “kernel” of an operating system is the single most basic set of instructions you can put in place; think of it as the master “to-do” list for a computer. Its job is to corral the multitude of small programs, processes, and other items your computer needs to run to operate seamlessly. If one of those programs causes a problem, it may stall ntkrnlmp and thus crash the computer.

A Windows 10
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Why Does My Computer Blame ntkrnlmp.exe for Crashing?

You may hear that a problem with the NT Kernel is crashing your computer, but that's not precisely true. It can appear on the “crash dump” when you check what's causing a “blue screen of death,” or BSOD, but this isn't the whole story.

What this reveals is that the kernel is receiving, from some source or another, bad data that's throwing off its operation. The kernel can't figure out what to do with the instructions it's been given, so it stalls the process. 

What Causes an ntkrnlmp.exe BSOD?

Generally, the cause of an ntkrnlmp error is some change you've made to your computer that affects instructions, or some problem that's introduced while the computer is asleep, such as rapidly changing voltage from power cords.

Damaged power cords and adapters, installing new drivers or software updates, installing Windows system updates, accidentally downloading malware, installing third-party software that has been poorly programmed or not verified, and attaching new peripherals may all potentially cause an ntkrnlmp.exe error. As a result, most fixes will revolve around correcting these errors.

How to Fix an ntkrnlmp.exe Error

If you're experiencing the ntkrnlmp.exe BSOD error, it could be a simple fix, or it might be something a little more complicated. Here are some of the troubleshooting steps you might try to get it fixed and get your computer back to working normally again.

  1. Swap power adapters. Try this if you run into this issue when waking a computer up. A flawed adapter may be causing power supply problems, much like a house experiencing brownouts.

  2. Check your PC hardware. If you've recently replaced components such as RAM, check to ensure that all components are from the same manufacturer. RAM from different manufacturers may struggle to interact properly, causing the error.

  3. Remove Malware. Start your PC in safe mode and run a malware check using a program such as Windows Defender. Excise any malware it finds and reboot. 

  4. Disconnect all peripherals. You should definitely do this for new accessories you may have just purchased. Reboot your PC to see if this resolves the issue, then uninstall and reinstall their drivers.

  5. Update all drivers. Graphics card drivers in particular have been notable for causing these errors, so uninstall and reinstall these drivers if you have no other updates.

  6. Use System Restore. System restore can roll back your computer to a date before an update. This is particularly useful for potential problems with Windows System updates.