general protection faults

during the course of my computer usage I seem to have been getting a lot of general protection faults usually with a notice that <whatever application> caused a fault in kernel <some number>.
I know this not something for which specific advice can be given but can anybody suggest what I may do to alleviate my problems, things that sometimes work or even what I may have done to cause this in the first place?

On a side note is it possible this has anything to do with my computers habits of changing minor settings? My virus checkers aren’t picking up anything.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Which operating system and version thereof?
Which application(s) are failing?
Hardware details?

More info is needed…

GPFs? Hmm. Someone is going to ask this, so what is the make, model & year & type of computer & what Operating system?

GPF’s can be caused by a number of nasty little bugs, and can be program or hardware related. Exact error messages would be a plus, but as the people above said, we need to know OS, CPU, RAM, applications, what’s running in your startup, how many background apps and drivers you load, etc. etc. before the question is remotely answerable.

I have had a lot of luck entering the pertinent phrase into Google. Sometimes leaving out the address (xxxx:xxxx) part works better, sometimes not. I also use Google’s web page and Usenet group searches. The maker of the program(s) involved will also frequently have info on the more common such errors on their web sites.

(You know, we need a shortcut for putting in a Google link, like the smilies.)

My computer is running windows 98 with a pIII 550mhz processor, 320 megs of RAM and far too many applications.
Thinking more clearly now than I was when I posted the OP I am sure the problem is almost certainly caused by my previous (semi)youthful stupidity in installing and de-installing far too much software (Napster,Realplayer,Screendragon,etc) an I had just been hoping that I wouldn’t have to go to the expense of buying some form of backup before doing a fresh windows install.
Thanks for your attempts to help but i brought this upon myself.

Doesn’t help that I got the wording of the error message wrong in the OP either

I never knew for sure, but I always had the impression that GPF’s are more commonly caused by older software, since my newer stuff usually gives invalid page faults instead. This suspicion would be even stronger if the kernel you mention is KRNL386 (which is there for compatibility with Windows 3.x applictations) instead of KERNEL32, which is for the Win95 and later stuff.

As I said, this could be a red herring. But I’d look first at any old stuff you’ve been running.