Over the years, Microsoft has built Windows into a wonderfully stable OS for just about everyone to use. However, that doesn’t make it immune to the occasional bugs or glitches that might pop up out of nowhere.
In this article, we’re looking at IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error, its causes and the steps you can take to solve the problem.
What is the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error?
IRQL is a memory-related error you’ll most likely see on a blue screen when your PC is booting. The error may or may not cause a BSOD as well.
Apart from your RAM modules failing, there are several reasons why you may be seeing the error, including but not limited to
- Corrupt or damaged system files.
- Incompatible device drivers.
- Faulty device drivers.
- Incorrect or incomplete software installation.
- Out of date Windows installation.
How to fix the IRQL error?
Here are a few solutions to the IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error.
Remove external peripherals
The first thing you should do is try and remove any external peripherals you may have connected to your PC. External peripherals can sometimes conflict with some of their internal counterparts triggering hardware errors of all sorts.
Run the Windows hardware troubleshooter
Windows 10 comes with a few handy troubleshooters that can resolve a bunch of issues. However, for some reason, Microsoft has removed the hardware troubleshooter from the troubleshooter’s menu. So here’s an alternative way to run the hardware troubleshooter.
Step 1: Press Windows key + R to open the Run prompt. Type cmd and hit enter.
Step 2: Type msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic and press enter. This will launch the hardware troubleshooter.
Proceed along as instructed by the troubleshooter.
Disable the memory cache
Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Safe Mode. Click the corresponding search result.
Step 2: Under Advanced startup, click on Restart now.
Step 3: When your PC reboots, click on Troubleshoot.
Step 4: Head over to Advanced Options.
Step 5: Select UEFI Firmware Settings.
Step 6: Once you’ve entered the BIOS, find the Cache Memory feature and disable it, saving the changes on exit.
Note that since different PC manufactures make their BIOS interfaces different, you may have to look around a bit to find this option.
Run an SFC scan
Corrupt files are the number one reason why your PC might be behaving weirdly. Here’s how you can get rid of them and potentially resolve your issue.
Step 1: Press Windows Key + S to bring up the Cortana/Search box and search for Powershell. Open Windows Powershell from the search results.
Step 2: Type sfc /scannow to scan your system for issues.
Step 3: If the SFC scan finds any problem, use the following command to resolve them.
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
Restart your PC, and the error should’ve been resolved. If that doesn’t help, you can also run a DISM scan to fix any other errors by using this guide.
Also read: Getting Windows Ready stuck: 5 Fixes
Run the Windows Memory Diagnostics tool
If your RAM is seated properly but is failing, it can trigger this error. To check if there’s an issue with your RAM, follow these steps.
Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Windows Memory Diagnostics. Then, click the corresponding search result.
Step 2: Run the tool and click the Restart now button to check for problems.
If you see some issues, try running the auto-troubleshoot to resolve the error.
Run the Check Disk utility
The BSOD can very well be a sign of your boot drive failing to perform as it should. Try running the check disk utility to check whether or not your storage drives are, in fact, functional.
Update your drivers
Out of date or corrupt drivers can also cause numerous hardware problems leading to BSODs. If you haven’t updated your drivers in a while, now’s the time to do so, especially for your display drivers.
Step 1: Right-click Start and select Device Manager from the menu.
Step 2: Under Display Adaptors, find your graphics card’s name, right-click on it and click on Update Drivers.
Step 3: Click on Search automatically for drivers. Windows will then automatically look for and download the latest drivers for your particular GPU.
While this should help resolve the error, in case it doesn’t, click Uninstall device and restart your PC to force Windows to install the required drivers. You can then update them later.
Perform a clean boot
To isolate the problem, perform a clean boot and then start the missing processes one at a time to find your culprit.
Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for System Configuration.
Step 2: Head over to the Services tab.
Step 3: Uncheck the Hide all Microsoft Services checkbox. Now click the Disable All button.
Step 4: Now head over to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
Step 5: Click the Startup tab again, select all the services and click the Disable button.
This should fix your problem.
Repair your system
If nothing else works, the best way to get rid of the error is by simply reinstalling or repairing your OS.
The Windows Media Creation tool is a great way to install Windows and repair the OS. Using this, you can perform a clean installation or repair your OS without affecting your data.