What is “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error

Most of the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) errors are typically related to malfunctions of different parts of the system. There are plenty of errors that keep pestering and confusing most of the users. Today, we are going to discuss the “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error that can be seen on all Windows versions. Likewise, other system errors, “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” pops up when some processes failed to run properly and resulted in urgent reboot to fix the issue and prevent the damage. Below, you will learn the most typical reasons for the “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error occurrence accompanied by the most effective solutions.


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There are special repair utilities for Windows, that can solve problems related to registry corruption, file system malfunction, Windows drivers instability. We recommend you to use Advanced System Repair Pro to fix “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error in Windows 10.

1. Excessive CPU Temperatures

Usually, when CPU gets overheated, Windows shuts down your PC to avert physical damage by displaying the Blue Screen of Death. This can be because you are playing a high-consuming video game that eats a lot of resources, especially if your hardware cannot handle such pressure and lacks powerful coolers to sustain moderate temperatures.

To solve overheating, you should minimize the number of processes to alleviate your system, especially when you are launching “hard” applications like games. Also, if you spot that your computer is being heated significantly whilst simply surfing the web, not excluded that your PC is infected with malware that pressures your system. In both cases, I would recommend checking your temperatures via legitimate Hardware Monitor or AIDA64 utility that can be downloaded from official pages for free. After installing, you can check your CPU temperatures in both gaming and regular modes. The normal temperatures should vary from 45-55 C, in more stressful cases like videogames or editing videos the temperatures should be not over 80 C. You can also check your CPU usage to identify whether something secretly loads your system. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Find Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc buttons all together.
  2. In the opened window, go to the Performance tab.
  3. Amidst other indicators, you can see the CPU usage presented in graph and percentage.
  4. In case it is overloaded, you should go to the Processes tab, search for the CPU-consuming processes and remove them by clicking on the End Task button.

2. Malware infiltrations

Malware has been one of the most acute reasons for system errors since it can modify settings and corrupt system files that are vital for the proper work. On top of that, some unwanted programs can start on the boot and operate in the background without users’ permission. Such applications can overload your PC and soar up temperatures leaving users puzzled on why it is happening. To prevent this, you should scan your device for malware and potentially unwanted programs. We recommend using Norton Antivirus that has been accurate in doing so.

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3. Corrupted system files

As mentioned previously, damaged or missing files that play an important role in maintaining the system can lead to the “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error. Again, this can be done due to malware or third-parties software penetration that modified or damaged core files. Before going to the solution, you should first make sure that your computer is virus-free by running a scan. Once done, you can restore corrupted files with in-built Windows feature. And this is how:

  1. Open Command Prompt by typing cmd into the searching tab next to the Start Menu button.
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.
  3. Once opened, type the sfc /scannow command and click Enter.
  4. When the fixing process is done, restart your computer.

Now you can check if this method helped you get rid of the issue.

4. Damaged disk fragments

Disks are not only responsible for keeping data, but also of the memory-related processes. This is why disk malfunctions can put you into a risk zone of facing the “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error. Luckily, Windows provides an in-built ability to check the disks for available errors and momentarily fix them. This is how you can do this:

  1. Find Command Prompt by typing cmd into the searching box. Then right-click on it and choose Run as administrator.
  2. In the black console, you should paste the chkdsk /f /r C: command and press Enter. If necessary, replace “C” with the letter of your hard drive.
  3. The system will scan for both configuration and physical errors and automatically repair them.

Hopefully, the error should no longer persist, if not, go to the next method below.

5. RAM malfunctions

The “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error may be provoked by RAM malfunction. This does not necessarily mean that you should rush into buying and replacing the storage. Instead, you should first try to scan your RAM for integrities and let Windows resolve them. The underneath instructions are available and identical for all Windows versions:

  1. Type mdsched into the search bar next to the Start Menu.
  2. After opening, you will see a new tab that presents two options.
  3. Depending on which one you choose, Windows will scan your RAM for errors and instantly restore them.

Finally, you can identify whether the error disappeared and no longer occurs.

6. Hardware malfunctions

Sometimes devices or hardware configuration may be violated and needs to be fixed. You can do it by running an in-built Windows TroubleShooter option that will detect the related integrities and automatically fix them.

  1. Type trouble in the searching bar and open Troubleshoot settings.
  2. On the right side choose Hardware and Devices.
  3. In the drop-down click on the Run the troubleshooter button.
  4. Once finished, restart your computer and see if anything changes.

7. Out-dated drivers

Out-dated or malfunctioned drivers are also considered to be the common reasons for irritating BSOD errors. This is why you should try checking your drivers for new updates and install them as a sequence. You can update them either manually or by using the IObit Driver Booster utility that will automatically find obsolete or lacked drivers and replace them.

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To run a manual update, follow the guide listed below:

  1. Left-click on the Start Menu button and choose Device Manager.
  2. If you do not know which driver is causing the problem, then you should update them one-by-one. Right-click on them and choose Update driver. Sometimes malfunctioned drivers are marked with a yellow rectangle.
  3. Let Windows search for new drivers and download them by following the on-screen instructions.
  4. Restart your computer and see if anything has changed after updating.

The “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error may appear to be very annoying and disappointing for most of the users especially when it interrupts the main activity. However, with the help of this tutorial, resolving this issue has become clear and easy even for inexperienced people.

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