Memory integrity is a crucial security feature on Windows that Microsoft recommends. But what if you’re seeing errors like “Memory integrity is off. Your device may be vulnerable,” and you can’t turn on the feature in system settings? Let’s discuss the possible reasons behind the memory integrity is off error in Windows and how you can better protect your computer by using this option.
Tip: learn all about Microsoft’s Pluton Security Processor and why you need it.
What Is Memory Integrity and Why Is It Grayed Out?
Memory integrity is one of the features within the “Core isolation” security feature in Windows settings. It protects your computer’s critical processes in the event of a malware invasion. “Core isolation” uses your hardware’s virtualization capabilities to enable features like memory integrity, secure boot, memory access protection, and more, based on the specific hardware you have.
You may notice that the “Memory integrity” toggle under “Core isolation” in your settings is grayed out. Even if it isn’t, turning the toggle on may throw up an alert about incompatible drivers, preventing you from turning on the feature.
Incompatible, corrupt, or missing drivers are often the most common culprits behind this issue. Other issues are faulty Windows updates and registry issues. If you’re stumped by this error, try each of our fixes in the listed order, and after each fix, check whether memory integrity can be turned on.
1. Fix Driver Issues Indicated by Memory Integrity
Before anything else, start with the “Core isolation” settings and see if Windows can help you diagnose the error. Often, when you try to enable memory integrity in the settings, it throws up an error related to driver incompatibilities that can provide you with important information to help fix the core problem.
- Search “Device security” in Windows search and select the best match underneath.
- Click “Core isolation details” under “Core isolation.”
- Turn on the toggle under “Memory integrity.” If it turns on without any prompts, you’ve solved the problem. If it throws up an error like “Resolve any driver incompatibilities and scan again,” click on “Review incompatible drivers.” Note down any drivers shown as incompatible.
- Open Device Manager using any of the methods described in our dedicated guide.
- Click “Show hidden devices” in the “View” tab and search for the suspected incompatible drivers shown in the previous step.
- You can also include any drivers that have an icon that has a yellow triangle that includes an exclamation mark in your list. Try updating each one of these drivers and check whether you’re able to turn on “Memory integrity.”
Tip: Windows Security not opening for you? Here’s how to fix that.
2. Resolve Incompatible Drivers With Autoruns
If memory integrity settings have failed to find any incompatible drivers in the method above, or you don’t see any driver in Device Manager with the yellow triangle icon, you can try a third-party application from Microsoft called Autoruns to identify incompatible or corrupt drivers. Follow the steps below:
- Download Autoruns from the Microsoft website and unzip the compressed file.
- Right-click the executable file and click “Run as administrator.”
- Navigate to the “Drivers” tab to see the incompatible drivers highlighted in yellow.
- Uncheck the box to the left of each of the highlighted drivers to disable them. If you see an error while unchecking a driver, right-click and click “Delete.”
- Install the latest versions of each of the drivers you’ve disabled or deleted and check whether the issue is fixed.
3. Fix Corrupted System Files
Corrupted system files can also be at the root of memory integrity errors on your system. If updating or reinstalling new drivers didn’t fix the issue, you should ensure that the system files are intact.
Run an SFC scan by opening up Command Prompt via Windows Search and running it as administrator.
4. Uninstall Related Applications
Another possible fix to the memory integrity error is to remove the apps by the same manufacturer that also produced the drivers that were found to be incompatible. This can sometimes get rid of any conflicts arising between any related apps.
- Right-click the Windows Start button and click “Apps and Features.”
- From the list of installed apps, identify the ones from the same manufacturer as the suspected incompatible drivers.
- Uninstall the identified applications by clicking the three vertical dots next to each application.
Good to know: have you noticed that your computer is slower than usual? Stopping background apps and processes from running in Windows may solve the issue.
5. Fix Windows Update Issues
Windows Update can also be at the root of memory integrity errors. If your system is not up to date, you can install the latest updates in “Windows Update” to try and fix the issue by following the steps below.
- Search “Windows Update” in the Windows search bar and click “Windows Update settings.”
- Click the “Check for updates” button to let the system search for and install any new updates. If updates are paused on your computer, click “Resume updates” to let Windows install any pending updates.
- If there are no new updates to install, one of the recently installed updates could be causing the memory integrity error. Click “Update history” (“View update history” in Windows 10), then “Uninstall updates.”
- You’ll be redirected to the “Installed Updates” screen where you can remove one of the recent updates to try and fix the issue.
6. Enable Memory Integrity in Registry
If none of the fixes helped you enable memory integrity in Windows settings, you can try enabling it using the “Registry Editor” as shown below.
- Search “regedit’ in Windows search and click “Registry Editor.”
- Enter the following in the address bar at the top:
- Right-click any blank space on the panel on the right and select “New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
- Name the newly-created value “HypervisorEnforcedCodeIntegrity” and double-click on it. Set the “Value data” to “1” to enable memory integrity. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
Tip: need more registry tips? Check out these hacks that will optimize your Windows experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can memory integrity affect system performance?
Memory integrity has been known to cause performance dips when playing games,due to the virtualization features it employs. This is why Microsoft has recommended users disable memory integrity if it causes performance issues or frequent errors like “You are receiving this message because the memory integrity setting in Windows Security is preventing a driver from loading on your device.”
Is it safe to turn off memory integrity?
As explained, you can disable memory integrity from “Core isolation” settings or Registry Editor. Disabling the feature can bring about issues ranging from negligible to severe depending on your system’s antivirus protection and Internet usage patterns. Some users never turn on the feature and still don’t face any issues whatsoever. Even so, it’s still recommended that you keep memory integrity enabled to protect your core system processes from malware threats.
What can I do if I don't see Core isolation in Device Security?
If you’re unable to see “Core isolation” settings on your computer, you’ve probably noticed the “Standard hardware security not supported” message under Device Security. This is most likely due to a few BIOS settings being disabled. You can enter your system BIOS by pressing the appropriate key displayed on your screen during startup. Enable settings like “Intel Virtualization Technology,” “VT-d” and “Intel Platform Trust Technology” on Intel systems and “AMD-V” and “SVM” on AMD systems. After restarting your computer, you should be able to see “Core isolation” under Device Security.
Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Tanveer Singh
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox