Fix: Driver_Irql_Not_Less_Or_Equal on Windows 10

You just booted your PC and this is what you got – “Irql_Not_Less_Or_Equal”. It keeps restarting itself every 5 minutes. If you were greeted by this error, then Welcome to another BSOD error fix.

Starting your day with a BSOD error is not a great start but fortunately, this can get better. The error code driver_irql_not_less_or_equal is an error often seen in Windows 7/8/10. If you are currently facing this error then we have the solution to solve this problem.


After reading this post you will know-

  • What is driver irql not less or equal error?
  • What causes this error and how dangerous it is?
  • How to solve this error and avoid it from happening?

What is The Driver_Irql_Not_Less_Or_Equal Error?

As we all know that BSOD is caused due to hardware or software malfunctions or incompatibility. The Driver_irql_not_less_or_equal error is caused due to the software malfunction. To be precise, you will face this error when your system drivers will start misbehaving. This could happen when-

  • You installed a new module and the drivers are incompatible.
  • Your system got infected with any Virus and caused this to happen.
  • They got corrupted while updating.
  • Downgrading your Windows from 8 to 7 or XP or Vista.
  • or You may have really old drivers installed.

The above-given reasons are some possible scenarios which could have caused this issue. And since it is all software, it can be fixed really easily without causing any real damage. Keep in mind that the exact reason for this error is not known so, go through all the steps one by one.

How To Fix Driver_Irql_Not_Less_Or_Equal Error?

Since we now know everything about the error, it is time to fix it. In order to fix irql_not_less_or_equal error, you might need to run all the fixes. So please be patient and follow through.

But before trying any of these you must start your machine in safe mode. This can be done whether you can access your Windows or not.

– When you can access your Windows,

  • In Windows go to Settings-> Update and Security -> Recovery.   

  • Now select Restart Now under Advanced Startup.
  • Navigate through Troubleshoot-> Advanced Options-> Startup setting-> Restart.

  • Now select Safe mode and press Enter.

-When you can’t access the Windows,

  • Reboot your PC and insert a bootable drive with any windows on it.
  • Now navigate to the Installation screen and click on Repair your computer.

  • In the Choose an option menu, go to Troubleshoot-> Advanced Options-> Startup setting-> Restart.

Click on Troubleshoot

  • Select Safe mode and press Enter.

1. Scan For Error: Use chkdsk, Dism, and SFC

Well now you have access to your Windows in safe mode, so let’s start with the basics. As I mentioned before the driver_irql_not_less_or_equal error is caused due to drivers. So let’s check for error by scanning them using different Windows tools. To run-

a. chkdsk

  • Start by opening Command Prompt as an admin. Press Windows+X and go to Command Prompt(admin).

open cmd as administrator

  • Now type in “chkdsk /f” and press Enter.

Use CMD to check for corrupted file

  • Keep in mind that it won’t work until there is no background app running. So Press Y and Enter.  Reboot your PC to start the scan.

b. SFC Scannow

  •  Again, open Command Prompt as admin like above.

Use cmd as admin to run sfc/scannow

  • Now type in “sfc /scannow” and press Enter.
  • Wait till the scan is complete and move to the next one.

c. Dism

  • Open Command Prompt as admin.
  • Now type the following-
  • Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth” then press Enter.
  • Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /Scan-Health” then press Enter.
  • Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth” and press Enter again.

  • Reboot your system to check if the problem persists.

2. Scan For Viruses

There is no denying to the fact that viruses can manipulate or corrupt Windows drivers. And the best way to find is to run a full system scan. If you own an antivirus, use that to do a full system scan. If you don’t, you can always rely on Windows Defender. Here is how,

  •  Open start menu and type Windows Defender in the search bar.

  • On the right side of select Full and click on “Scan now“.

The Windows Defender will at least take 3-4 hours to complete the scan. After the scan is complete, delete the infected files and restart your PC.  Also, update your Windows defender in case it is not up to date.

3. Update Your Windows

There are over 500 BSOD error codes, but there are some faults common in them. Incompatible or outdated drivers are one of them. Most of the times BSOD is caused due to new hardware/ software on old machines. The easiest way to avoid it is to regularly update your Windows. in order to do so,

  •  Open Start menu and type “Windows Update” in the search menu.

  • Go to Windows Update and click on Check for Updates.

  • Wait for the Windows to search for updates. Now click on Install to install updates.

  • After the installation restarts your PC and checks if the problem persists after.

4. Try Clean Boot

If none of the above methods worked so far, then you can try Clean Boot. In some cases, it is often found that misbehaving Windows startup services also cause these problems. You can use “Clean boot” to start your Windows without any services or process. To do so,

  • First, press Windows + R to open Run.
  • Type in msconfig and press Enter.

  • Now go to General-> Selective Startup and uncheck Load Startup.
  • Navigate to Services tab and select Hide all Microsoft Services, Click Disable all and OK.

  • Check if the problem persists.

To reset changes-

  • Open msconfig, and in the General Section, Check normal startup option.
  • Click OK and restart.

5. Restore Windows

In BSOD, restoring Windows is often taken as last resort before reinstalling it. And if none of the above methods worked out for you then this is the last you can try.  To restore your Windows,

  •  Open start menu, type “Recovery options” and, press Enter.
  • Under ” Reset This PC” section, click on Get Started. If you are using Win 8.1, it will be under Refresh.

  • Click on Keep my file and wait till it completes the whole process.

Bottom Line

The BSOD is caused due to several reasons and driver incompatibility is one of the few common reasons. The driver_irql_not_equal_or_less is one of the codes you get in this type of scenario. The easiest way to fix that is by running an antivirus scan and using Windows repair tools. The above-given methods will help you solve the issue. If none work you can always try Windows recovery as it will restore your computer to a previous recovery point.

With that said, there is nothing much you can do. If nothing works, you can always re-install a new Windows. In the end, thanks for reading this article. I hope the information helps you solve your issues.

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