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Error message when you try to install a service pack in Windows XP: "Windows has detected that one or more protected core system files (kernel) on your computer have been modified"
Article ID: 327101 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q327101
When you try to install a Windows XP service pack on a computer, you may receive an error message that resembles the following:
Windows has detected that one or more protected core system files (kernel) on your computer have been modified. The Service Pack contains updated versions of those files, which work to provide a stable environment for your programs. Due to this modification, the Service Pack will not be installed. For more information, see Knowledge Base article Q327101 at http://support.microsoft.com.
This behavior may occur if the computer has a modified version of the Ntoskrnl.exe file that uses the /KERNEL switch in the Boot.ini file. This condition may exist because the computer has a third-party program installed that customizes the graphics that are displayed when your computer starts. Third-party programs that can cause this condition include the following:
To resolve this problem, you must remove the third-party program that is causing the problem.
Warning The following procedure includes steps that will modify the Boot.ini file. Improper configuration of the Boot.ini file can leave the computer in an unbootable state. We recommend that you back up the Boot.ini file before you make these changes. For more information about how to backup and edit the boot.ini file, click on the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/289022/ )How to edit the Boot.ini file in Windows XP
For more information about what occurs when you are using a modified Ntoskrnl.exe file, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/327120/ )Error Message: Windows Service Pack 1 has detected that one or more protected files on your computer have been modified
The error that is described in the "Symptoms" section of Microsoft Knowledge Base article 327120 can also occur when you try to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3).
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.
Article ID: 327101 - Last Review: April 10, 2008 - Revision: 6.1