[Updated May 2023] Fix IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL Error

[Updated May 2023] Fix IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL Error

/ Shayne Sherman

The IRQL Not Less or Equal message is a blue screen of death error (Stop Error). It causes your computer to randomly enter a “blue screen,” which displays the error message. One of the main problems with this type of error is there are usually no signs or warnings as to when it will happen.

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Several causes of this error include corrupted system files, incompatible device drivers, faulty hardware, or incorrect software installation. Lucky for you, this kind of error is manageable and easy to fix with just a few tweaks.

Common Reasons Why IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL Error Happens

Understanding the main causes behind the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error can help troubleshoot effectively and prevent the issue from reoccurring. The following are some of the most common reasons why this error happens:

  • Incompatible Device Drivers: One of the most common reasons for this error is having incompatible or outdated device drivers installed on your system. Drivers are essential to communicate with your hardware, and if they are not updated, they can result in conflicts that cause a BSOD error.
  • Corrupted System Files: Damaged or corrupted system files can also trigger the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error. This can happen due to various reasons, such as a power outage, malware, or an incomplete installation or update.
  • Faulty Hardware: Hardware issues, such as a failing RAM, a faulty motherboard, or a malfunctioning hard drive, can cause this error. Problems with external devices, like USB drives or peripherals, can also lead to errors.
  • Incorrect Software Installation: If a software installation or update is not done correctly, it can cause conflicts with your system files and result in the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error.
  • Overclocking: Overclocking your computer’s hardware components increases their performance, but it can lead to system instability and the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error if not done correctly.

By addressing these potential causes, you should be able to resolve the error message and maintain a stable system. Make sure to keep your drivers updated, regularly scan for malware, and ensure that your hardware components are functioning properly.

How to Repair IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL Error

Method 1: Check for Windows Updates

The first thing you can do to try to fix the blue screen of death error message on your computer is to check for an update. Your current version of Windows may have an existing bug that causes this error.

Side note: Sometimes, you might want to prevent Windows from updating as a new update could be the cause for your Stop Error.

To check for an update, follow the steps below to guide you through the process.

Step 1. Press the Windows button at the lower-left corner of your screen to open the Start menu.

Step 2. After that, click on the Gear icon to launch Windows Settings.

windows settings

Step 3. Next, click on Update & Security.

windows update and security

Step 4. Lastly, click on the Windows Update tab, which will automatically scan for any update available on the current version of Windows installed on your computer.

check updates

If available, follow the on-screen prompts to download and install the update on your computer. Once the update is done, restart your computer to see if the BSOD error is still an issue.

On the other hand, if you still have issues with your computer and the BSOD error still occurs, you can proceed to the following method below to try and fix the problem on Windows.

Method 2: Update Your Drivers

The next thing you can do to try and fix the IRQL blue screen of death error is to update your device drivers. Your computer may have a faulty network driver causing the BSOD message.

To update your device drivers properly, follow the steps below to guide you through the process.

Step 1. Press the Windows Key + S on your computer and search for Device Manager.

Step 2. After that, click on Open to launch it.

search device manager

Step 3. Now, click on one of your devices to expand it.

Step 4. Lastly, right-click on your device driver and click on Uninstall Device. Follow the on-screen prompts to remove the incompatible device drivers from your computer.

uninstall graphics driver

After uninstalling your driver, restart your computer, and Windows will automatically install the proper driver for your device. Once done, repeat the process until all drivers have been updated and installed correctly.

Method 3: Use System File Checker

The BSOD error on your computer can indicate that some of your Windows system files have a problem. Luckily, the Windows operating system has a built-in scanner that checks your operating system for any missing or corrupted system files.

To use the SFC scanner on your computer, follow the steps below.

Step 1. Press the Windows Key + S on your computer and search for Command Prompt.

Step 2. Click on Run as Administrator to launch the program with administrative permissions.

run command prompt administrator

Step 3. Next, inside the Command Prompt, type sfc /scannow and hit Enter.

Step 4. Lastly, wait for the process to finish.

sfc scan

After that, restart your computer and try to use it to see if the BSOD error is gone.

If you still have the issue after using the file checker, try following the method below to fix the problem.

Method 4: Perform a Clean Boot

You can try performing a clean boot on your computer for the following method. This way, you can find out the possible cause of the BSOD error on your computer.

Follow the steps below to guide you through the process.

Step 1. On your keyboard, press the Windows Key + R.

Step 2. Next, inside the Run Command Box, type in “msconfig” and hit Enter.


Step 3. After that, click on the General tab and click on Selective Startup.

Step 4. Make sure that Load Startup Items is unchecked, then go to the Services tab.

load startup items

Step 5. Now, inside the Services tab, click on Hide All Microsoft Services, then uncheck all the services on the list.

hide all microsoft services

Step 6. Restart your computer and carefully observe if the BSOD error message still occurs. If not, go back to the Services tab and check one of the services, then restart your computer.

Repeat this scanning process until you find the service that causes the error. Once you have identified the service, uninstall the related program or permanently disable it if it’s unnecessary.

Method 5: Reinstall Windows on Your Computer

If none of the methods above worked, the last resort is to reinstall Windows.

It is possible that some of your system files got corrupted so severely that an update or SFC scan could not fix the issue.

windows computer

Remember that this whole system process would wipe all your data, so make sure to make a backup before doing the process. If you know how to install Windows on your computer, you can install it yourself.

Just follow our handy guide: How to Reformat a Windows 10 PC (Factory Settings)

However, if you don’t know how to install Windows, we recommend you go to the nearest service center in your location and ask them to install a fresh copy of Windows on your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will System Restore repair an IRQL error?

System Restore is a feature in Microsoft Windows that allows the user to revert their computer to a previous state. This can be useful if the user is experiencing problems with their computer and wants to undo recent changes. Regarding an IRQL error, System Restore may be able to repair it depending on the severity of the problem and when the last restore point was created.

Does Windows Memory Diagnostic fix driver IRQL?

The Windows Memory Diagnostic tool is designed to help diagnose and fix issues with driver IRQL. It does this by scanning the computer’s memory for errors and trying to repair them. If the tool cannot fix the issue, it will provide a report that can be used to troubleshoot further.

What does IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL mean?

The “IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL” error message typically occurs when a device driver seeks access to a memory location that it should not be accessing. This can happen if the device driver software is not compatible with the other software on the computer or if there is a conflict between the device driver and another piece of hardware. In some cases, this error message can also occur if there is a problem with how the computer’s memory is accessed.

What does memory management blue screen mean?

A blue screen memory management error means a problem has been detected with how your computer manages its memory. Various things can cause this, but most often, it is caused by a driver issue or a problem with the hardware. If you see this error, it is important to try to restart your computer and see if the problem goes away. If it does not, you must contact a technician to help you troubleshoot the issue.

Can USB cause IRQL not less or equal?

USB devices can cause an IRQL not less or equal issue. This is because a USB can cause a system to malfunction if it is not installed properly. If USB is not installed properly, it can cause the system to try to access memory that is not there, leading to an error.

If I install the wrong drivers, can I get an IRQL not less or equal?

You may receive an IRQL not less or equal error if you install the wrong drivers. This indicates that a driver is trying to access a memory address that is not valid. If you encounter this error, uninstall the faulty driver and install the correct one.

How can installing wrong or incompatible drivers lead to the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error screen in Windows?

Installing wrong or incompatible drivers, especially graphics drivers, can cause conflicts with your system’s hardware and result in an error screen. To fix this issue, ensure you have the correct and updated driver software installed for your system’s components.

Can corrupt system files cause the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error on a Windows Server?

Yes, corrupt or damaged system files can lead to a BSOD error on a Windows Server or any other Windows operating system. To resolve this issue, follow the troubleshooting steps provided in this post.

How can I determine if an external device is causing my computer’s BSOD?

To check if an external device is causing the error, disconnect all external devices (except for the keyboard and mouse) and restart your computer. If the error does not appear, reconnect the devices one by one to identify the problematic device. Once found, update the device’s driver or replace the device if necessary.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert on all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. Aside from entertaining at his home theater, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie.