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.
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. To uninstall Windows update, watch the video in solution 2 below.
- 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.
- In the System Configuration, click the Services Tab.
- Then check the Hide all Microsoft services and then click Disable All.
- Then click Apply.
- 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.
- Restart your computer.
- Then, apply Windows update/upgrade.
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)
- 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.
- Click Troubleshoot ==> Advance Option ==>Start up Setting ==> Restart.
- Select Safe mode.
- Now go to the Control Panel and select Uninstall program.
- Look for the newly installed driver that caused the BSOD and uninstall it.
- Restart your computer.
Option 2. Access Safe Mode (Windows 7 and lower)
Watch it here on Youtube
- Restart the computer.
- After BIOS boot-up, press F8 continuously.
- The Advance Option should appear.
- Select Safe mode or Safe mode with network.
Option 3. Access Safe Mode using Advance Option Windows 10
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. sfc /scannow command
Option 2. System Restore
- Go to Control Panel >> System and Maintenance >> Backup and Restore.
- Select either Restore my files or Restore all users’ files.
- Click Windows Start.
- Type Create a restore point and press Enter key.
- Click System Restore.
Solution 4. Test Hardware
“irql_not_less_or_equal error”, can be caused by defective hardware. You may want to reconnect and test your hardware.
- Shut down the PC properly, and remove it from the power source.
- Remove the side panel of the PC case to open.
- Remove all dust and other foreign objects. Make sure fan are clean
- Detach the memory sticks then clean the gold pin using an eraser and attach it again.
Retention lever of the memory slot should snap this is to determine it was attached properly.
- Remove other peripherals, such as LAN card, graphics card, USB cable, printer, and secondary hard disk drive.
- Reconnect the primary hard disk drive, make sure connection is not loose.
- Reconnect the CMOS battery of the Motherboard to reset the BIOS.
- Test the PC, turn it on. See if all fans are working especially the CPU fan.
- Test each hardware use the guide below.
Hard disk drive (HDD) test using Check Disk
- Press Windows Start.
- Type command prompt in the search bar.
- Right-click the Command prompt and select Run as administrator.
- In the Command prompt, type in chckdisk /r, then press Enter and wait until the process is finished.
- If you encounter any error report, such as the image above, consider replacing your HDD.
- If the HDD is in good condition, please see test your RAM.
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.
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. Video instruction is provided below.
YouTube video tutorials are provided below;