Windows users face many errors on their Operating System, and ”IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error is one of them. It is a BSOD ( Blue Screen of Death ) error, also known as a stop error, which appears on a blue screen with detailed information about the error during which Windows shut down itself to prevent any kind of damage.

This issue can also arise due to hardware or software faults, outdated incompatible drivers or third party Antivirus software. If you are also facing the same error, then you need not worry about it. Here is a complete guide for you in which we will throw light on all possible causes and solutions to fix the issue.

Types of IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL Error

First and foremost, you need to identify which type of error you are facing. The most common of them are:

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL ntoskrnl.exe

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error can originate from the ntoskrnl.exe file. This error indicates that some system-related services for which the ntoskrnl.exe extension file is responsible are failing to function normally.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL overclock

If you are overclocking your computer by setting your CPU and memory to run at speeds higher than their official speed grade, then it is obvious to get the error.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL CPU overheating

Overheating the CPU can lead to instabilities in the computer and destroy the processor. It might be the main cause of this error. For reducing overheating of the CPU, don’t let your CPU to get overclocked.

There might be some other application software, or programs overloading the CPU due to which it gets overheated, so it is recommended to stop those applications and programs to resolve the overheating issue.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL After RAM Upgrade

Sometimes, when the user upgrades their RAM, this BSOD error occurs. The reason is improper installation of RAM or upgrading the RAM, which is not compatible with your device.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL After Windows Update

Many users have complained that after updating their Windows, the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL occurs. If the error occurs after the update, then it is advised to uninstall the update as there might be a possibility of some installation error while performing the update.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL and Memory_Management

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL and memory_management both are BSOD errors. Both these errors can sometimes arise together by one of them following the other after rebooting the system.

Now I hope that you are familiar with the essence of the problem. The causes we have discussed above are the most common ones the users are struggling with. Depending on the error message you receive, the steps you need to follow also differ. Moreover, there are many solutions for fixing the irql_less_or_not_equal error; we will cover each case individually, look, and encounter which one fixes your problem.

How to Fix IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL BSOD Error

Before proceeding, make sure that you have up-to-date drivers installed, and all other updates are done on your PC. Here we will discuss Safe Mode, Window Diagnostic tool, corrupted drivers, full system scan, and clean Window installation. If you are done with the updates, try these methods to fix up the issue.

Method 1 – Start your Computer in Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a software model that enables users of Windows to access an altered version of Windows and correct any problems that may be preventing Windows from booting up normally. Safe Mode ensures cleansed conditions with no third-party drivers and applications interference.

Step 1: At first, press the Shift key over the keyboard and click the on-screen power button.

Step 2: While holding the Shift key, click on the Restart Option.

Step 3: You will be provided with some options. Select the Troubleshoot option. Then go to Advanced Options.  Select the Startup settings option. Now navigate to the Restart option and click on it.

Step 4: The Windows will start to reboot, wait till the process gets completed.

Step 5: Now, select the Safe Mode. Check whether the problem still persists or not.

You will get one of the two possible results after using Safe Mode:

1. It can crash again; in such a case, there must be something wrong with the hardware of your system.

2. If the problem gets resolved, it is an indicator that there was something wrong with the installed drivers or third-party antivirus software of your PC, and the safe Mode has fixed them.

Methods 2 – Check your Memory and Hardware

We have already discussed above that if the safe Mode fails up in fixing the issue, then there is nothing wrong with the software, and there is a need to debugging your PC at the hardware level. You should first try to disconnect all the external devices that are connected to your PC, such as printers, scanners, external hard disk drives, and others, except the mouse and keyboard. Now, restart your window to make sure that no external device is causing the BSOD error.

Moreover, if you have issues with your Random Access Memory (RAM), it might lead to the error as well. For fixing the issues related to the memory on your PC, you need to use the Memory Diagnostic Tool, which is used to verify and test the RAM.  It will help you in determining if any problem is occurring due to hardware failure, including RAM, motherboard, and others.  Using this tool requires a reboot. Be prepared for a long wait if you have a slower RAM or lots of memory installed in your computer.

To diagnose memory problems, Use these steps which require you to restart your computer, so make sure to save any files you may have open and close any running applications before proceeding. Here are the steps :

Step 1: Press the Windows key, and then type Memory Diagnostic in the search option, and then select the Windows Memory Diagnostic option.

Step 2: A new window will open up in front of you. You will find two options from which one will restart the Windows instantly, and the other one will permit the system to scan the RAM. Choose one of the two options available.

Step 3: If an error results out, then there is surely something wrong with the RAM, and you need to replace it with a new one. On the other hand, if no error results out, then the issue is not with the memory, but the problem is somewhere else.

Method 3 – Refresh or Restore

If either of the solutions above turns out to be ineffective, then Refreshing or Restoring your computer is the best option for you. In case if you have changed any important setting of your PC before, then System restore will set all the settings to default. Moreover, there is no fear of data loss in this process, but for security reasons, it is recommended to create a restore point for all your files. Now, for restoring your system, follow the below instructions:

Step 1: Firstly, in the Start menu, search for Control Panel, and then open it. Now select System and Security. Click on System. In the left panel, click on System Protection.

Step 2: A new window will open up. Select the System Restore option.

Step 3: Now, select an appropriate date and time when your system was working smoothly. Click Next and then Finish.

Step 4: Your PC will restart, and after that, the restoring process will start. It will take a long time to restore the system. So, wait until the process completes.

Moreover, if you are a Windows 10 user, then you have advanced the “Reset your PC” option. For enabling it, follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Press Windows key + I hotkey to open the Settings. Select the Update and Security option.

Step 2: In the left panel, select the Recovery option. Click on Get Started option. Select Keep my files option to protect your files from getting removed.

Step 3: Click Next if Windows warns you that you won’t be able to roll back to a prior version of the OS.

Step 4: Click Reset when prompted. Windows will then restart and take several minutes to reset itself.

Method 4 – Repair your Registry to Fix Corrupted Files

Corrupted files can also lead to theIRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL issue. Repairing the registry can help you to fix the corrupted files. Before proceeding with the solution, it is recommended to backup your registry so that if in case, any problem occurs, then you will be able to restore your previous version of Windows. Now proceed with these steps:

Step 1: Click on the Start menu. In the search tab, simply type cmd—Right-click on the Command Prompt option. Now, select Run as Administrator from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: A black window will open up. Type sfc/scannow Press Enter.

Step 3: The scanning process will begin. After that, restart your PC.

By this process, all your corrupted files and software will get replaced.

Method 5 – Check Your Disk for Errors

In some cases, these BSODs can be attributed to disks corruption too. There are different steps for different Windows users.

For Windows 10 users, the steps are below.

Step 1: Click on the Start menu. In the search tab, type cmd. Right-click on the Command Prompt option. Now, select Run as Administrator from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Type the chkdsk C:/fcommand in the window that will open up. Press Enter.

Note: CHKDSK is the short form of Check Disk, C: is the drive letter you want to check, /F is used to fix disk errors, /R stands for recover information from bad sectors and x for dismount the disk.

Step 3: Now, replace the letter ‘C’ with the letter of your hard drive.

Step 4: When it prompt, “Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)”. “ Answer Yes to that question by pressing the Y key on your keyboard and press Enter. Restart your computer. After restarting, the disk checking operation should start. Wait until Windows check your disk for errors. 

For Windows 7 or 8.1 users, the steps are below:

Step 1: Navigate to hard drives. Now, from the drives, right-click on the drive that you want to inspect, from the options, select Properties.

Step 2: A window will open up. Now, go to Tools.

Step 3: In the Error-checking section, click on the Check option. It will then check the drive for life system errors.

Method 6 – Run a Full System Scan

If none of the above solutions worked, then your PC needs a full system scan. Since the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error can also be caused by viruses, malware, or third-party security software in your system, performing a full system scan can detect and delete all the malicious and infected files from your PC which might be the roots factor of the issue.

For performing the full system scan proceed with the instruction provided :

Step 1: First of all, navigate to Start. In the search tab, type ”Defender”. Select Windows Defender Firewall.

Step 2: Then, a window will open up. From the left panel, select the Shield icon.

Step 3: Lastly, click on the Advanced Scan option. Now, you need to check the full scan option to start a full system scan.

Method 7 – Perform a Clean Windows Install

We have tried every possible solution, even if the issue persists then you are left with only one alternative, i.e., to perform a clean Windows installation. But one thing to note here is that, on a clean installation, everything on your C: drive will get removed.

Now, let’s have a look at how to perform a clean Windows installation :

Step 1: Firstly, press Windows Key + I hotkey to open the Settings.

Step 2: Secondly, select the Update and Security option. From the left panel, select the Recovery option.

Step 3: Next, in the More Recovery Option, you will find a link that reads Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows. Click on it.

Step 4: After that, you will find an option Download Tool. Click on it. Double click on the Refreshtool.exe extension file.

Step 5: Accept the License terms to continue the process. From “Keep personal files only and Nothing,” choose one that suits you.

Step 6: Now, click on the Install option to begin the clean installation of your Windows. The Refresh Tool will start to download and reinstall the latest version of Windows on your computer.

Step 7: In case if you change your mind, you can cancel the process anytime.

Conclusion

Blue Screen of Death error issue is one of the most common issues faced by Windows users. Among them, the most notorious BSOD is IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error. There are different origins of this error, and we have discussed and clarified all possible solutions to fix the error. Hopefully, you would be able to fix the error after performing the above-discussed solutions.