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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
Step 4: 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.
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.
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.
Step 3: Right-click the search result and select Run as Administrator.
Step 4: In the Command Prompt, type the command sfc /scannow.
Step 5: Click Enter after writing the command, and the scan will begin.
Step 6: Restart the PC after the scan is complete.