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Driver IRQL Not Less Or Equal Error in windows 10/11 [Solved]

This is a common error that occurs when a driver tries to access a memory address that is not allowed by the system.

The “Driver IRQL Not Less Or Equal” error on Windows 10 indicates an issue with a device driver. The error message suggests that a driver ( especially the network driver,) tried to access a memory address at an inappropriate IRQL (Interrupt Request Level). Essentially, it means that a driver attempted to execute a task at a higher priority level than allowed, leading to a system crash. Outdated or incompatible drivers are the most common reason behind this BSOD error. However, it can also be caused by other factors, such as damaged system files, faulty storage devices, or incompatible hardware. This article explores effective solutions to fix irql_not_less_or_equal Windows 10 that work for most users.

Driver Irql Not Less Or Equal on Windows 10

The IRQL stands for Interrupt Request Level, which is a priority system that determines how the processor handles different requests from the hardware and software. The higher the IRQL, the more urgent the request. For example, a mouse click has a lower IRQL than a keyboard input, because the latter needs to be processed faster.

When a driver tries to access a memory address that has a higher IRQL than its own, it violates the system rules and triggers the BSOD error. There are several possible reasons behind this.

  • One of the most common causes of this error is outdated, incompatible, or corrupted device drivers. This could include drivers for hardware components such as network adapters, graphics cards, or other peripherals.
  •  Problems with RAM (Random Access Memory) can also lead to this error. Faulty RAM modules, incorrect memory timings, or overclocked memory settings can trigger the DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error.
  • Faulty hardware components, including a failing hard drive, defective CPU, or malfunctioning motherboard, can also trigger this error.
  • Conflicts between drivers, third-party software, or incompatible applications can lead to system instability and trigger this error.
  • Corruption in system files, particularly those related to device drivers or the Windows operating system, can lead to BSOD errors like DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL.
  • Overclocking your CPU, GPU, or RAM beyond stable limits can result in system instability and trigger BSOD errors

Depending on the cause of the error, you may need to use different methods to fix it.

Note: If the system restarts frequently can start Windows 10 in safe mode to perform troubleshooting steps.

Remove External Devices

External devices like USB drives, printers, or external hard drives can sometimes cause conflicts with device drivers. Disconnecting these devices eliminates potential sources of the error and allows you to identify if any of them are causing the issue. Whenever experience blue screen error, this is the very first thing to do.

  • First Completely shutdown your computer
  • Disconnect any external devices connected to your computer, including USB drives, printers, external hard drives, and any other peripherals.
  • Restart your computer and check if the error persists.
  • If the error is resolved, reconnect external devices one by one to identify the problematic device.

Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a diagnostic startup mode in Windows that loads the operating system with only essential drivers and services. It disables unnecessary programs and drivers, allowing you to troubleshoot and identify the cause of various system issues, including the “Driver IRQL Not Less or Equal” error. If due to this blue screen error windows 10 restarts frequently, starting your PC in safe mode is helpful.

Here are different ways to start Windows 10 in safe mode.

Safe Mode Boot

If the error doesn’t occur in Safe Mode, it indicates that a non-essential driver or software may be the culprit.

Update your Device drivers

Outdated or incompatible device drivers are a common cause of the DRIVER IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error. Updating drivers ensures compatibility with the latest Windows updates and addresses known compatibility issues, reducing the likelihood of driver-related errors.

How to update a device driver using Device Manager:

Right-click on the “Start” button and select “Device Manager” from the menu. Alternatively, you can press the Windows key + X and then press M

In the Device Manager window, you’ll see a list of hardware categories. Find the category that corresponds to the device you want to update. For example, if you want to update your graphics card driver, look for the “Display adapters” category.

lick the arrow next to the category to expand it and Right-click on the specific device you want to update. From the context menu, select “Update driver.”

  • Search automatically for updated driver software: This option allows Windows to search for the latest driver software online and install it automatically.
  • Browse my computer for driver software: This option lets you manually browse and select the driver software that you downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.

Update display driver

Select the first option and let Windows search for the latest driver online and install it if it finds one. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Also, you can Visit the website of the manufacturer for each hardware component (e.g., graphics card, network adapter) and look for the latest driver updates compatible with your version of Windows.

There are third-party driver update software that can scan your system, detect outdated drivers, and automatically update them.

Check for Windows Updates

Microsoft regularly releases updates and patches to improve system stability, security, and compatibility. These updates often include bug fixes, driver updates, and other enhancements that can address known issues. Checking for and installing available updates ensures your system is up-to-date and less susceptible to errors.

Ensure your Windows 10 is up to date with the latest updates

To check for updates:

  • Press the Windows key + X and select “Settings”
  • Go to “Update & Security” then “Windows Update” and click on “Check for updates.”
  • This will check for available updates, and install them, you only need to reboot your PC to apply the updates.

Download Windows 10 KB5037768

Check for System File Corruption

When system files are corrupted, it can lead to instability in the operating system, driver conflicts, and other errors that result in the DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL BSOD. You can use the System File Checker (SFC) and DISM restore health tool to scan and repair corrupted files on Windows 10.

Open Command Prompt as administrator by searching “cmd” in the Windows search bar, right-click on “Command Prompt,” and select “Run as administrator.”

  • In the Command Prompt window, type “sfc /scannow” and press Enter.
  • The tool will scan and attempt to repair any corrupted files.
  • Next, run the DISM command DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth to check the Windows system image and repair any issues if found.
  • Once the scanning process completes 100%, reboot your PC.

By running both the SFC and DISM scans, you increase the chances of resolving the “DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL” error caused by corrupted system files or problems with the Windows system image.

Perform System Restore

If the error started occurring after a recent change or update, you can use System Restore to revert your system to a previous stable state. System Restore allows you to revert your computer’s state to a previous point in time when it was functioning correctly, effectively undoing any changes that might have caused the error.

  • Type “System Restore” in the Windows search bar and open Recovery.
  • Click on open system restore and Follow the instructions to choose a restore point from before the error started and proceed with the restoration.

Perform System Restore

Test Hardware Components

Hardware failures, including issues with the CPU, motherboard, or hard drive, can cause the error. Verifying hardware integrity through visual inspection and diagnostic tests helps identify and address hardware-related issues.

Running a memory diagnostic tool helps identify and resolve memory-related issues, ensuring system stability.

  • Press “Win + R,” type “mdsched.exe,” and press Enter.
  • Select the first option “Restart now and check for problems” and Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the memory test.

Memory diagnostic tool

Alternatively, you can use third-party memory testing software like MemTest86 to perform a more thorough memory test.

Check for disk errors using the built-in Windows Check Disk utility (CHKDSK).

Open Command Prompt as an administrator and type chkdsk C: /f (replace C: with the appropriate drive letter) to scan and repair disk errors.

Also, you can use third-party tools like CrystalDiskInfo to check the health of your hard drives. Replace any faulty hardware if detected.

Disconnect any recently added external devices (e.g., USB devices, printers, etc.) and see if the error persists.

Undo Recent Changes

Changes to hardware or software settings, such as driver installations or system configurations, can trigger the error. Undoing recent changes allows you to revert to a previous stable state and isolate the cause of the error.

  • Press the Windows key + X and select “Control Panel.”
  • Go to “Programs” > “Programs and Features.”
  • Select “View installed updates” Right-click on recently installed updates or software and select “Uninstall.”
  • Back to “Programs and Features” and uninstall recently installed third-party apps.

Scan for Malware

Malicious software can interfere with drivers and cause errors like “Driver IRQL Not Less or Equal.” Perform a full system scan using a reliable antivirus or anti-malware software. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date and perform a thorough scan of your entire system.

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