These wonderful Windows protection errors occur when your computer attempts to activate or deactivate a virtual device driver or VxD. These messages indicate there is an issue with a hardware driver. This is usually an inability of the driver to load or unload. Typically the offending Vxd or driver module is noted in the error. In some cases you may not be able to identify the offending module. In this case you can use clean boot troubleshooting from the msconfig utility.
The following lists situations in which you may experience these errors:
A real-mode driver and a protected-mode driver are in conflict
If the registry is damaged
If either the Win.com file or the Command.com file are infected with a virus, or if either of the files are damaged
If a protected-mode driver is loaded from the System.ini file and the driver is already initialized
If there is a physical input/output (I/O) address conflict or a random access memory (RAM) address conflict
If there are incorrect (CMOS) settings for a built-in peripheral device (such as cache settings, CPU timing and hard disks)
If the Plug and Play feature of the basic input/output system (BIOS) on the computer is not working correctly
If the computer contains a malfunctioning cache or malfunctioning memory
If the motherboard on the computer is not working properly
Most of the BIOS settings which can cause these types of errors should only be modified by a knowledgeable hardware technician. Changing these settings incorrectly can cause other issues with your hardware. Use your motherboard manufacturers hand book for more information on accessing your BIOS, and you should be able to alleviate this wonderful condition that has been created.
For more detailed information on trouble shooting these errors in Windows 95, 98, or Me please refer to the Microsoft knowledge base article below.
For Windows XP and 2000 you can review your errors by entering into safe mode and using the event viewer to access detailed information pertaining to your particular issue. The event viewer can be accessed by going to the control panel and selecting the administrative utilities icon. These reports should include detailed information on the module or driver causing the issue.