A Windows 11 security update is breaking some PC games

Courtesy of a Windows Defender update, many users are reporting issues, especially when it comes to PC games with anti-cheat software.

Windows 11’s built-in antivirus software, Windows Defender, recently got updated, and some users who received the update were greeted with the following warning, “Kernel-mode Hardware-enforced Stack Protection is off. Your device may be vulnerable.” This is a new security feature you can now toggle on or off that basically relies on your processor to give software an extra layer of security.

That’s all well and good, but the problem is toggling on that stack protection is failing for some users, causing the warning to persist. Reportedly, this issue comes down to certain games’ anti-cheat software. However, other reports suggest the issue is caused by a driver conflict, but for many, if they try to resolve such a conflict, nothing seems to actually happen and the issue remains.

Currently, the only way to successfully enable stack protection and resolve this issue seems to be to fully uninstall offending games and accompanying anti-cheat software. Users report games like Phantasy Star Online 2, Valorant, and Destiny 2 (along with their anti-cheat software) have been associated with this stack protection issue, among other games. This isn’t great news for fans of these popular games, considering the current workaround is to simply just remove these games from your PC and stop playing.

However, some users have reported being able to enable stack protection at the expense of problematic games simply crashing or refusing to launch; though, your personal mileage may vary, and having to deal with constant crashing or being unable to actually open up certain games isn’t exactly ideal. Of course, you could simply leave stack protection off, but then you’ll be without potentially important protection from malicious code.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what Microsoft says (and does) about this issue. In the meantime, if you’re affected by this issue, you may want to enable stack protection and uninstall any games giving you trouble.