irql_not_less_or_equal error (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP & Vista)

What is error message ‘irql_not_less_or_equal’?

irql_not_less_or_equal (IRQL) error is a blue screen of death error that usually occurs when you start your computer. It is a memory-related error, which appears if a system process or a driver attempts to access a memory address without proper access rights. The IRQL error may be caused by corrupt system files, incompatible device drivers, faulty hardware items, incorrect software installation, and a downgraded Windows installation.

The error has been reported on Windows Vista, XP, 7, 8, and 10. When it occurs, you may see a message like, “A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.”

 

How can you fix ‘irql_not_less_or_equal’?

Some of the solutions to this error include:

  • Disabling third-party software
  • Uninstalling the corrupt driver
  • Fixing the registry
  • Testing hardware
  • Reinstalling Windows

 

Please see our in-depth walk-through solutions below.

Staff Asked on April 3, 2018 in Microsoft Windows.
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5 Solution(s)

Solution 1. Disable Third-party Software

“irql_not_less_or_equal error”  may appear before or after doing a Windows update or upgrade, due to the interruption or incompatibility of the third-party software installed. Disabling or uninstalling the third-party software may fix the error. To disable the third-party software, see below or watch the YouTube link provided here.

  1. Click Windows Start, in the search bar, type msconfig or System Configuration and then press Enter key.
    Click Windows Logo key + R, type, msconfig and then press Enter key.
  2. In the System Configuration, click the Services Tab.
  3. Then check the Hide all Microsoft services and then click Disable All.
  4. Then click Apply.
  5. Now click Startup Tab
    For Windows 7 uncheck all and then click Apply and OK.
    For Windows 10 click Open Task Manager and Disable all programs.
  6. Restart your computer.
  7. Then, apply Windows update/upgrade.

Staff Answered on April 3, 2018.
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Solution 2. Uninstall corrupt driver

“irql_not_less_or_equal error” may also be caused by a newly installed driver. The driver might be corrupted or incompatible with the Windows version. To solve this error, try booting Windows into Safe Mode and uninstall the driver.

In Windows Safe mode, drivers are disabled except for Safe Mode with the network, LAN, and WiFi driver works. If you encounter the error in Safe mode with the network, it is possible that the network drivers are the cause. Drivers can be uninstalled in the Windows Device Manager or in the Control Panel.

Option 1. Access Safe Mode using Desktop (Windows 8, 8.1 and 10)

Watch it here on Youtube

  1. Hold Shift and Press restart.
    Or click Windows button and Letter I at the same time, to direct you to Windows Setting and follow the image below. 

    RE: irql_not_less_or_equal error (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP & Vista)

  2. Click Troubleshoot ==> Advance Option ==>Start up Setting ==> Restart.

    RE: irql_not_less_or_equal error (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP & Vista)

  3. Select Safe mode. 

    RE: irql_not_less_or_equal error (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP & Vista)

  4. Now go to the Control Panel and select Uninstall program.
  5. Look for the newly installed driver that caused the BSOD and uninstall it.
  6. Restart your computer.

NOTE: In Windows 10, due to BSOD restart Windows will direct you to Automatic repair window, to access Advance option, therefore you may skip step 1 to 4. You could also hard press the power button on the computer until you access Automatic repair(this is not advisable because it could damage your hardware).

Option 2. Access Safe Mode (Windows 7 and lower)

Watch it here on Youtube

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. After BIOS boot-up, press F8 continuously.
  3. The Advance Option should appear.

    RE: irql_not_less_or_equal error (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP & Vista)

  4. Select Safe mode or Safe mode with network.

Option 3. Access Safe Mode using Installation CD/ DVD or USB

  1. Insert the Windows 10 installation CD/DVD or USB.
  2. A message will appear “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD”, press any key to boot from the Windows installation CD/DVD or USB.
  3. Select your language, time and keyboard, and click next.
  4. Click Repair your computer.

    RE: irql_not_less_or_equal error (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP & Vista)

  5. Click Troubleshoot ==> Advance Option ==>Start up Setting ==> Restart.
  6. Select Safe mode.
  7. Now go to the Control Panel and select Uninstall program.
  8. Look for the newly installed driver that caused the BSOD and uninstall it.
  9. Restart your computer.
Staff Answered on April 3, 2018.
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Solution 3.  Fix registry

“irql_not_less_or_equal error” may also be caused by damage or missing registry or Dynamic Link Library (.DLL). You may want to fix it using the sfc /scannow command. Also, if you have created a system restore point, you could use it to restore the previous state of your Windows, see option 3 below.

Option 1. 

Watch the sfc /scannow command tutorial here on YouTube

  1. Press Windows Start and type command prompt in the search bar.
    Press Windows Logo key + X key and select Command prompt (Admin).
  2. Right-click the Command prompt and select Run as administrator.

    RE: irql_not_less_or_equal error (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP & Vista)

  3. In the Command Prompt type sfc /scannow
  4.  Optional: When sfc /scannow is finished, run this command DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Option 2.

  1. Insert the Windows installation CD/DVD or USB.
  2. A message will appear “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD”, press any key to boot from the Windows installation CD/DVD or USB.
  3. Select your language, time and keyboard, and click next.
  4. Click Repair your computer.
  5. For Windows 10: Click Troubleshoot ==> Advance Option ==> Command prompt.
    For Windows 7: Select your operating system and then select Command prompt.
  6. Type sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows

Option 3. 

Windows 7

  1. Go to Control Panel >> System and Maintenance >> Backup and Restore.
  2. Select either Restore my files or Restore all users’ files.

Windows 10

  1. Click Windows Start.
  2. Type Create a restore point and press Enter key.
  3. Click System Restore.
Staff Answered on April 3, 2018.
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Solution 4. Test Hardware

“irql_not_less_or_equal error”, can be caused by an defective hardware. You may want to reconnect and test your hardware.

  1. Turn off and unplug the computer.
  2. Then, open the case.
  3. Remove all RAM/memory stick and, clean the RAM gold pin using an eraser and connect it again. Make sure that you push it down enough that the retention lever or the RAM slot lock snap.
  4. Detach graphics card and other components such as a printer and network adaptor.
  5. Reconnect hard drive with Windows on it. Remove other hard drives without Windows.
  6. Reset your Motherboard Bios by removing the CMOS battery and reconnect it after two minutes.
  7. Clean your CPU fan from dust and make sure the CPU fan cable is connected to the motherboard properly.
  8. Test the PC, turn it on. Check if the CPU fan is working if not buy a new one. If good, proceed.
  9. If it proceeds to Windows Desktop, turn it off again.
  10. Reconnect graphics card, secondary hard drive, and the other components. If the error occurs, your graphics card or add-on component might be the source of the BSOD. Reconnect it one by one and until you determine which one is causing the problem.
  11. If the error persists, please proceed with the hardware test below,

 Hard disk drive (HDD) test using Check Disk

  1. Press Windows Start.
  2. Type command prompt in the search bar.
  3. Right-click the Command prompt and select Run as administrator.
  4. In the Command prompt, type in chckdisk /r, then press Enter and wait until the process is finished. 

    RE: irql_not_less_or_equal error (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP & Vista)

  5. If you encounter any error report, such as the image above, consider replacing your HDD.
  6. If the HDD is in good condition, please see test your RAM.

Other hard disk tests can be seen here or check this YouTube video here on testing HDD using HDtune

RAM/Memory test check the link here.

Test hardware using BurnInTest 

BurnInTest is a software tool that is used to stress the major parts of the computer for endurance, reliability, and stability. Parts include the processor, hard disk drive and memory. To use BurInTest see this YouTube video here.

Staff Answered on April 3, 2018.
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Solution 5. Reinstall Windows 

Due to the incompatibility of the drivers or software, that was installed in the Windows, the Windows system file might get damaged, resulting in “irql_not_less_or_equal error.” Try to reinstall Windows. See below.

Windows 8 and 10 has features that reset the operating system back to its original form without losing your files but delete all install program. Try to use it, see if it fixes the problem. An instruction below is provided or watch it here on YouTube.

  1. Click Windows Start, type in Reset this PC and press Enter key.
  2. In the Settings window, click Get Started.
  3. In the Reset this PC window select from the follow below
    Keep my files: If you want to keep your personal files.
    Remove everything: Restoring Windows to default and all files will be deleted.
  4. If you select Keep my files, click Next and then click Restart.
    If you select Remove everything, select Only the drive where Windows is installed and then select Remove files and clean the drive.
  5. The process may take time, please wait until it is finished.

YouTube video tutorials are provided below;

For Windows 7 see link here
For Windows 8 see link here
For Windows 10 see link here
To create a Windows Bootable USB flash drive watch it here

RE: irql_not_less_or_equal error (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP & Vista)

Staff Answered on April 3, 2018.
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