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How to fix IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error on Windows

The IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error is a memory-related error that usually occurs when a system process or driver tries to access a memory address without the correct access.

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An IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error screen is shown below.

IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error screen

Cause of the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error

Corrupt system files

The most common cause of this error is a corrupted system file. This is due to a virus infection, power failure, or burning failure.

Incompatible device drivers

This is also one of the common causes of the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error. When installing a new device driver that is faulty, it will cause compatibility problems. You need to switch back to the old version to fix the problem.

  • 5 basic ways to update and install drivers for computers

Faulty hardware

This error can be caused by a faulty motherboard or RAM.

Incorrect software installation

Sometimes, this error is also caused by incorrect installation and configuration of Windows.

Downgrade the Windows version

The last common cause is an old version of Windows being installed on top of a new version. Sometimes, the system files are not in the right place, and users need to back up the files and perform a clean install to avoid conflicts between versions.

  • Here’s how to uninstall Windows 10 to return to using Windows 7 or 8.1

How to fix the “IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL” error

The following error fixes are applicable to Windows 10, 8, 7, Windows Vista, and XP.

1. Uninstall malware

If the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error occurs after you install software, it is most likely due to a virus on that software that caused the computer to get a blue screen error. So you can go through this method of uninstalling the software to see if this problem is resolved.

Step 1: Click Settings from the Start menu to continue.

Click Settings from the Start menu
Click Settings from the Start menu

Step 2: Click Apps on the Settings page to continue.

Step 3: Click Apps & features and set up a sort by install date on the right to continue.

Click Apps & features
Click Apps & features

Step 4: Uninstall the application by selecting it and clicking the Uninstall button.

Uninstall the application by selecting it and clicking the Uninstall button. 
Uninstall the application by selecting it and clicking the Uninstall button. 

If you uninstalled recently installed software and still get the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error, then you can try the next method.

2. Keep your computer cool

The computer generates a lot of heat when it is running. If the computer accessories don’t remove the hot air from the computer as soon as possible, it will cause the CPU temperature to be too high, so you need to take steps to cool down your computer. Here are some ways to reduce computer temperature:

  • CPU fan upgrade: If the CPU fan’s performance is not high, the heat generated by the computer cannot be removed in time.
  • Install another fan: Installing additional fans will help because one fan might not be enough to address the issue of an overheated CPU temperature.
  • Install the water cooler: If the computer is configured with many things and the fan does not solve the problem of the CPU temperature being too high, you can install a water cooler. This is a very safe accessory, and you don’t need to worry about damaging your computer.

Doesn’t this fix the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error? Then you need to try the next method.

3. Disable memory cache

To disable the memory cache on the system, you need to access the BIOS/UEFI menu. Refer to the article How to Enter BIOS on Different Computer Lines for more information. Once in the BIOS/UEFI menu, follow these steps:

Step 1. Access the Advanced menu. Depending on the BIOS/UEFI version, this menu will have different names.

Step 2. Find the Cache Memory option.

Step 3. Press Enter.

Step 4. Select Disabled.

Step 5. Press F10 to save your changes and exit.

Step 6. Restart the computer.

4. Install the latest update

In some cases, you need to make sure Windows 8/8.1 has the latest version installed to fix the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error. You should enable the Automatic Updates option for automatic updates.

Perform the following steps:

Step 1. Restart the Windows

Step 2. With Windows Vista, Windows 7, users can type update in the search box to open Windows Updates.

On Windows 8, users can open the Charm Bar by pressing Windows + C and then Settings > Change PC Settings.

Step 3. Click Update and Recovery.

Step 4. Click Choose how updates get installed.

Step 5. Select Install updates automatically.

Step 6. Check the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates box  in the Recommended updates box.

Step 7. Click OK.

Update the system

5. Perform the Clean boot

If the RQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error is caused by a running process, restart the Windows operating system by Clean boot to fix the problem. With Clean boot, only services or processes required for Windows operation will restart.

Follow these steps:

Step 1. Open Run dialog box.

Step 2. Type msconfig and press Enter.

Step 3. Access the General tab > check the Selective Startup option.

Step 4. Uncheck Load startup items.

Step 5. Access the Services tab.

Step 6. Check the Hide all Microsoft services box in the lower left corner of the window.

Step 7. Click Disable all > OK.

Step 8. Restart the Windows.

To reset these changes and start Windows normally, follow these steps:

Step 1. Go to the General tab.

Step 2. Check the Normal Startup option.

Step 3. Click OK > Restart again.

Perform the Clean Boot

6. Remove unnecessary devices

A simple but sometimes effective way to fix this is to remove all unnecessary hardware from the computer and see if it boots normally.

7. Repair corrupted files in the Registry

Sometimes, the reason for the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error is corrupted files. To fix this, you must fix the corrupted files in the Registry. Perform the following steps:

Step 1: On the Windows Taskbar (taskbar), click the Search icon.

Step 2: Search for Command Prompt.

Search for Command Prompt
Search for Command Prompt

Step 3: Right-click the search result and select Run as Administrator.

Right-click the search result and select Run as Administrator
Right-click the search result and select Run as Administrator

Step 4: In the Command Prompt, type the command sfc /scannow.

Type the command sfc /scannow
Type the command sfc /scannow

Step 5: Click Enter after writing the command, and the scan will begin.

Scanning for problematic system files will begin
Scanning for problematic system files will begin

Step 6: Restart the PC after the scan is complete.

Restart the PC after the scan is complete
Restart the PC after the scan is complete

Good luck!

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