Fixing Driver IRQL Not Less Or Equal Error

It’s a worst-case scenario we’ve all found ourselves in at one point: you’re be furiously working away on your Windows PC in the midst of a big project and suddenly a wild blue screen appears. Your heart skips a beat as those dreadful words “Driver IRQL Not Less Or Equal” flash on the screen before your eyes, and you realize that your computer just crashed and there’s only thing you can do: restart.

Understanding the driver irql not less or equal Error

In order to effectively fix the driver_irql_not_less_or_equal error, it’s essential to understand what IRQL is in Windows and what causes this error to occur. IRQL, or Interrupt Request Level, is a part of Windows that helps prioritize processor interruptions and allows the operating system to operate smoothly.

If there are devices or drivers that are in conflict with one another, then a IRQL not less or equal error can occur, which can disrupt the normal operation of your computer. Once you know why this error is occurring, you can take the steps required to fix it and stabilize your system once more.

What is IRQL in Windows?

In Windows, “Interrupt Request Level” is what IRQL stands for. Hardware peripherals and processes running on your system assign different priority levels to interrupt requests. There are 32 IRQL levels (0 to 31) with highest priority to 0 and lowest to 31.

Windows uses this IRQL system to determine which priority interrupt request to process first when multiple interrupt requests are received simultaneously. By effectively partitioning the available resources in this way, critical Windows system processes get immediate attention from the system. Hence, your computer performs better and the system response time is increased.

Common Causes Behind the Error

The driver IRQL not less or equal error can occur due to various causes. Some common causes of this error include:

Incompatible or outdated device drivers

Hardware conflicts

Memory-related issues

Corrupted system files

Software conflicts

Identification of the specific cause of the error is critical if you’re to implement the appropriate solution to it. Gaining an understanding of what’s causing it means you can take steps that will alleviate it and prevent its recurrence.

Reboot the Computer

The driver IRQL not less or equal error can often be fixed with nothing more than a reboot. Just restarting your PC can refresh your system and, hopefully, clear up any temporary glitches or conflicts that might be causing the problem.

Here’s how to reboot a Windows computer:

Click on the Start button, which is located in the lower left corner of your desktop.

Click on the power icon, which is located above the Start button.

Select Restart from the dropdown menu.

Wait for your computer to shut down and then power back on.

If the driver IRQL not less or equal error was caused by a temporary issue, like a conflicting driver or system glitch, restarting your computer should resolve the error. If the error persists after your PC reboots, however, you’ll need to try some other methods to fix the error.

Fix Corrupted System Files with DISM & SFC

Corrupted system files can be a common cause of the driver IRQL not less or equal error. The Windows DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) and SFC (System File Checker) are built-in utilities that can search for and repair corrupted system files.

Here’s how to use these utilities to fix the driver irql not less or equal error caused by corrupted system files:

Type “Command Prompt” in the Windows search bar, then right-click the Command Prompt app that appears and select Run as administrator.

Run the following command in the Command Prompt and hit Enter : dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

Wait for the DISM tool to scan your system and repair any corrupt files. This process may take some time.

After the DISM tool has repaired your files, restart your computer.

After your computer restarts, run the Command Prompt as an administrator again.

In the Command Prompt, run the following command and hit Enter : sfc /scannow

Wait for the System File Checker to scan your system and repair your files. Note that while the scan is running, you will not be able to use your computer.

After the SFC tool has repaired your files, restart your computer again.

Running the DISM and SFC tools are your best alternative to fixing the .csv file without using a .csv file. Be sure to do so if you are still experiencing this issue after running the tools.

Run chkdsk Command

The driver IRQL not less or equal error may have also appeared because of some file system and disk drive errors. The chkdsk command can help detect and also repair such errors. This is how you can run chkdsk.

Press the Windows key + X to open the Power User menu.

Select Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin) to open an elevated command prompt.

Type chkdsk C: /f /r (replace “C” with the drive letter). The command will include both the /f and /r fix and recover C.

Press Enter, and then enter “Y” to schedule a disk check for the next system restart.

Restart your desktop after scheduling the disk check for it to run.

chkdsk will then scan the disk drive for file system errors and corrupted files. It might take more than hour to scan it, so be patient for the process to complete. Thereafter, a summary of the disk scan will appear to tell you if the disk includes any errors that have been fixed.

The chkdsk scan will have fixed any file errors that could have generated the driver IRQL not less or equal error.

Remove Peripheral Devices

If you’re facing the driver IRQL not less or equal error, it’s possible that there’s some conflict between the peripheral devices connected to your computer. By removing or disconnecting these devices, you can remove potential conflict sources, and hard troubleshoot the issue.

To identify and remove peripheral devices, follow these steps:

Turn off your computer and unplug it from power outlet.

Disconnect all devices connected to your computer, such as printers, external hard drives, USB devices, and any other devices that are not needed for your system to run at its basic state.

After disconnecting all devices, plugin your computer and power it on.

Check to see if the driver IRQL not less or equal error is resolved. If the error is resolved, you can plugin and run your devices one by one to find out a device causing the conflict.

If plugging a specific device brings the error again, you should try to find updated drivers for that device or find another device instead.

By removing peripheral devices, you can resolve conflicts resulting in the driver IRQL not less or equal error. By keeping the devices that are unnecessary disconnected, you can isolate and troubleshoot the issue effectively.

Run Hardware Troubleshooter

The Windows Hardware Troubleshooter is a powerful tool designed to diagnose and fix hardware-related issues that may be causing the driver IRQL not less or equal error. By running the hardware troubleshooter, you can identify any underlying hardware problems and take the appropriate steps to resolve them.

To run the hardware troubleshooter:

  1. Press the Windows key and R simultaneously to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type control panel and press Enter.
  3. In the Control Panel window, select Troubleshooting.
  4. Click on Hardware and Sound and then select Hardware and Devices.
  5. Click on Next to start the troubleshooter.
  6. Follow the on-screen prompts and allow the troubleshooter to scan your hardware for any issues.
  7. If any hardware problems are detected, the troubleshooter will attempt to fix them automatically. If not, it will provide you with further instructions on how to resolve the issues manually.

This process will help you troubleshoot and resolve any hardware issues related to the driver IRQL not less or equal error, ensuring optimal performance of your computer.

Update Windows & Drivers

Use the following guidelines to update Windows and device drivers in effort to fix the driver IRQL not less or equal error:

Outdated windows can also cause the Driver IRQL Not Less or Equal error. So, It is always recommended to keep your system up to date with latest patches and updates. These updates helps in resolving compatibility issues, security updates, patch, and much more. It can also help in improving system stability and optimize performance. Therefore updating windows help to fix this Driver IRQL Not Less or Equal error

Follow these steps to update Windows:

Click on the “Start” menu and then click “settings”.

In the settings window click on “Update & Security” .

In the left-hand menu select “Windows Update” .

Now click on “Check for updates” and wait for it to search for offers

Now if “Update” is available then click on “Download and install”. Once the windows have finished downloading and installing, then restart if your computer is required.

As we discussed above, that the Driver IRQL Not Less or Equal error can be caused by outdated or incompatible versions of device drivers. Drivers are updated regularly by manufacturers to fix bugs and add new features to improve the performance of a hardware device or to resolve device hardware and related software problems. So, it is always recommended to keep the device drivers up-to-date.

Follow these steps to update drivers:

Click on the “start” menu and type “Device Manager”.

Click “Device Manager” from the search results to open the device manager window.

In the Device Manager window, locate the device category with an exclamation point in the beginning or have a forced related name to the error (as the video card shown below) and double-click to expand the full list.

Now right click on the conflicting device and click on “Update driver”.

Select the option to “Search automatically for updated driver software

And finally then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the driver update process

Updating Windows and drivers is a potential fix to the driver IRQL not less or equal error. Doing this regularly can help keep your system running smoothly and prevent future errors.

Run Windows Memory Diagnostic

The IRQL not less or equal driver error may be caused by memory issues. Windows includes a memory diagnostic tool that can identify and potentially repair memory problems. Here’s how to use it:

Press the Windows key + R to bring up the Run command, then type mdsched.exe. Press Enter or OK.

Choose to restart your computer and run a memory check.

You’ll need to save your work as your computer will need to restart to run the check.

The computer will restart, and the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool screen will appear. The tool will begin checking your computer for memory errors.

After the diagnostic is complete, your computer will restart again, and you can see the results of the test in the Windows Event Viewer under the System log. If the tool finds memory errors, it’s recommended to replace the faulty memory module or contact a professional for further assistance. Fixing your memory can help alleviate the IRQL not less or equal driver error and will make your computer more stable overall.

Clean Install Graphics Drivers

If you’re getting the driver IRQL not less or equal error, it could be due to graphics driver issues. This error can occur and disrupt your typical PC operation if you have outdated or conflicting graphics drivers. You can resolve the problem by performing a clean installation of your graphics drivers to remove any outdated or conflicting drivers and install the newest version.

Here’s how to clean install your graphics drivers and resolve the driver IRQL not less or equal error:

Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.

Type devmgmt.msc and click Enter to open the Device Manager.

In Device Manager, expand the Display adapters category.

Right-click on your graphics driver and select Uninstall device.

In the uninstallation dialog box, click the checkbox for Delete the driver software for this device and click Uninstall.

After your driver is uninstalled, restart your computer.

Once you’ve started up again, visit the website of your graphics card manufacturer (NVIDIA, AMD, Intel, etc.) and download the latest graphics driver for your specific graphics card model and operating system.

Run the downloaded graphics driver installer and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the driver installation.

After the installation is complete, restart your computer one final time to allow the changes to take effect.

That’s it — you’ve successfully performed a clean installation of your graphics drivers to resolve the driver IRQL not less or equal error. As always, make sure to keep your graphics drivers up to date to avoid potential compatibility issues or errors.

Disable Third Party Services

Some third-party services or programs running in the background can conflict with system processes and lead to the driver IRQL not less or equal error. By disabling these services, you can troubleshoot and potentially resolve the error.

To disable third-party services, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type msconfig and press Enter. This will open the System Configuration window.
  3. In the System Configuration window, go to the Services tab.
  4. Check the box that says Hide all Microsoft services.
  5. Click on the Disable all button.
  6. Go to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
  7. In the Task Manager, go to the Startup tab.
  8. Disable all startup items by right-clicking on each item and selecting Disable.
  9. Close the Task Manager and go back to the System Configuration window.
  10. Click on Apply and then OK.
  11. Restart your computer to apply the changes.

Disabling third-party services can help identify and troubleshoot service-related issues causing the driver IRQL not less or equal error. If the error is resolved after disabling the services, you can gradually enable them one by one to determine which specific service is causing the conflict. Remember to restart your computer after each change to test for the error.

Perform a System Restore

If you have started experiencing the driver irql not less or equal not less or equal error after making recent changes or updates to your computer, performing a system restore can help you revert your system back to a previous state and potentially resolve the error. A system restore will undo any recent modifications that may be causing the issue and restore your computer to a functioning state.

Here’s how to perform a system restore:

  1. Open the Start menu and search for “System Restore”.
  2. Select “Create a restore point” from the search results.
  3. In the System Properties window, click on the “System Restore” button.
  4. Click “Next” in the System Restore dialog box.
  5. Choose a restore point from the list that corresponds to a date and time before the driver IRQL not less or equal error started occurring.
  6. Click “Next” and then “Finish” to start the system restore process.
  7. Wait for the system restore to complete, and then restart your computer.

Performing a system restore can help resolve the driver IRQL not less or equal error if it was triggered by recent changes or updates to your system. However, please note that a system restore will undo any modifications made after the chosen restore point, so it’s essential to back up any important files or data before proceeding.

By following these steps, you can use the system restore feature to troubleshoot and fix the driver IRQL not less or equal error on your Windows computer.

Reset Windows

Resetting Windows can be a more comprehensive solution to fix the driver IRQL not less or equal error. This option allows you to reinstall Windows while keeping your personal files and settings intact. By performing a Windows reset, you can eliminate any potential software conflicts or errors that may be causing the driver IRQL not less or equal error.

There are different reset options available, depending on your Windows version and preferences. These options include:

  1. Resetting Windows from Settings: This option is available in the Windows Settings menu and allows you to reset your PC while keeping your personal files. It’s a convenient option if you want to start fresh without losing your important data.
  2. Using the Windows Installation Media: If you have a Windows installation media, you can use it to reset your PC. This method gives you more control over the reset process and allows you to choose whether to keep your personal files or remove everything.
  3. Resetting through the Advanced Startup Options: The Advanced Startup Options menu provides additional troubleshooting and recovery options. You can access this menu by restarting your PC and pressing a specific key combination. From there, you can navigate to the reset options.

Before performing a Windows reset, it’s crucial to back up your important files to an external storage device or cloud storage. This ensures that you don’t lose any valuable data during the reset process. Once you’ve backed up your files, follow the appropriate reset option based on your Windows version and preferences.

After the reset is complete, you can reinstall your programs and restore your files from the backup. This should resolve any software-related issues that were causing the driver IRQL not less or equal error.


To fix this error, you can follow the solutions and troubleshooting steps provided in this article. These include rebooting your computer, fixing corrupted system files, running the chkdsk command, removing peripheral devices, running the hardware troubleshooter, updating Windows and drivers, running the Windows Memory Diagnostic, performing a clean install of graphics drivers, disabling third-party services, performing a system restore, resetting Windows, checking storage health, and considering replacing the OS drive if necessary.


Can RAM cause IRQL not less or equal?

Yes, RAM-related issues can contribute to the IRQL not less or equal error. If the RAM modules are faulty or incompatible with the system, it can lead to conflicts and result in this error. To fix it, you can try reseating the RAM modules, running a memory diagnostic test, or replacing the faulty RAM.

How to fix Irql_not_less_or_equal errors?

To fix Irql_not_less_or_equal errors, you can try the following solutions:

  • Restarting the computer
  • Updating Windows and drivers
  • Running hardware diagnostics
  • Disabling third-party services
  • Performing a system restore
  • Resetting Windows

These steps can help identify and resolve the underlying issues causing the error.

Can SSD cause IRQL not less or equal?

While it is uncommon, SSD (solid-state drive) issues can potentially lead to the IRQL not less or equal error. This can occur if there are firmware issues, driver conflicts, or hardware problems with the SSD. Updating the SSD firmware, checking for driver updates, or replacing the SSD may help resolve the error.

What causes IRQL not less or equal in Windows 11?

Several factors can cause the IRQL not less or equal error in Windows 11, including:

  • Outdated drivers
  • Incompatible software
  • RAM or memory issues
  • Corrupted system files
  • Hardware conflicts
  • Driver or firmware incompatibility

Identifying and addressing these underlying causes can help resolve the IRQL not less or equal error in Windows 11.

Nilesh Kamble is Certified in Microsoft & GCP, having 13+ Years of Experience in IT Industry. As a Senior IT Employee, having vast experience on Windows Server, Windows Client, Powershell, Cloud Technologies. Passionate about Laptop, Mobiles & Other emerging Technologies.