Fix: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL stop code [7 Tested Solutions]

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL  in Windows 10 is a BSoD that usually occurs when Windows is starting up. 
  • To attempt fixing the blue screen irql_not_less_or_equal in Windows 10, you might have to work in Safe Mode.
  • Here,  you can attempt to repair corrupt registry files, if any.
  • Or easier, you can restore the entire system and start fresh.
Fix: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL stop code
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All Windows users at some point have had problems with a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) caused by incompatible drivers or hardware malfunctions, and Windows 10 users have not seen the end of it.

Some Windows 10 users have reported that they have been encountering the MSDN bugcheck irql_not_less_or_equal (0x0000000a).

In this guide, we will try to shed some light on how to fix this issue. As we’ve gotten used to by now, there are many causes and just as many solutions for these kinds of Windows errors.

We’ve even seen a similar irql_not_less_or_equal error in the form of the ntoskrnl.exe, which was most likely caused by Realtek HiDefinition Audio drivers.

Here are some of the most common situations where this error occurs:

  • irql_not_less_or_equal ntoskrnl.exe

As a quick reminder, this executable file is the kernel (core) of the operating system and usually indicates that the issue is pretty severe.

  • irql_not_less_or_equal overclock

Many gamers confirmed that they often experienced this error after overclocking their computers. As a result, disabling overclocking may fix this error.

  • irql_not_less_or_equal cpu overheating

If your CPU is overwhelmed, it overheats and that may actually cause this error. As stated above, do disable overclocking to reduce overheating.

Check if there are any particular apps and programs that are putting a strain on your PC and disable them as soon as possible. Using dedicated cooling software and a cooling pad may also reduce the frequency of this issue.

  • irql_not_less_or_equal after RAM upgrade

Some users reported that this BSOD error occured shortly after they upgraded their RAM. Make sure that the new RAM is compatible with your device and that it’s properly installed.

  • irql_not_less_or_equal after Windows update

In rare cases, this error may occur after installing the latest Windows updates. As a result, uninstall the updates and check if the issue persists.

  • irql_not_less_or_equal and memory_management

Sometimes, these two BSOD errors go hand in hand. Users reported that when the first error occurs, the second one follows it after reboot.

We have a dedicated troubleshooting guide on how to fix MEMORY_MANAGEMENT errors on Windows 10. Do follow the instructions available in that guide as they may help you solve the problem.

Usually, an irql_not_less_or_equal  Windows 10 install error occurs after performing a Windows update. The usual culprit is one of the RAM modules but the update process might have met an error that caused this.

Like most other Windows errors, incompatible or badly installed drivers can be the cause, but at the same time, faulty hardware (in this case RAM or peripherals) or even a Windows upgrade can be blamed.

When a device driver or kernel process would try to access a memory location to which it isn’t authorized to have access, the operating system will issue an error, and the same is true if a piece of software is corrupted and tries to access the wrong memory addresses.

Before we continue with the solutions, like with all Windows errors, verify that you have installed all updates and have up-to-date drivers installed for all your devices.

Run a System Update which will apply all the new patches for your operating system and look for the latest drivers of your components and peripherals (visit the manufacturer’s website to see which is the latest driver for each device).

If you’re having trouble updating your Windows 10, check out this guide that will help you solve them in no time.

Additionally, you can check for updates on the third-party software you are using and if you have the possibility, try updating your BIOS.

How can I fix Windows stop code irql_not_less_or_equal?

  1. Start your computer in Safe Mode
  2. Run a dedicated troubleshooter
  3. Check your memory and hardware
  4. Refresh or restore
  5. Repair your registry to fix corrupted files
  6. Check your disk for errors
  7. Run a full system scan
  8. Perform a clean Windows install

1.  Start your computer in Safe Mode

  1. Hold down the shift key and click the on-screen power button
  2. Select the restart option while holding the shift key
  3. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > hit Restart.advanced recovery options Troubleshoot
  4. Wait until Windows 10 reboots, and select Safe Mode.
  5. Check if the problem persists.

By using this method, and setting it to the  Minimal configuration, you can start your Windows 10 computer with the bare minimum of features, drivers, and processes.

This ensures that you are using a clean environment with no third-party drivers and applications.

This method can have one of two outcomes: either the system will work as intended, therefore the problem must lie in one of the third-party apps or drivers you have installed on your computer, or it will once again crash, telling you that the problem has a deeper root, maybe within the hardware.

Once you have an answer to this question, you can move on and troubleshoot it by eliminating any other possibilities.


Safe mode is not working on Windows 10? Read more about it in this guide.


2. Run a dedicated troubleshooter

Restoro repair
Restoro is powered by an online database that features the latest functional system files for Windows 10 PCs, allowing you to easily replace any elements that can cause a BSoD error. This software can also help you by creating a restore point before starting the repairs, enabling you to easily restore the previous version of your system if something goes wrong. This is how you can fix registry errors using Restoro:
  1. Download and install Restoro.
  2. Launch the application.
  3. Wait for the software to identify stability issues and possible corrupted files.
  4. Press Start Repair.
  5. Restart your PC for all the changes to take effect.
As soon as the fixing process is completed, your PC should work without problems, and you will not have to worry about BSoD errors or slow response times ever again. Get Restoro Disclaimer: This program needs to be upgraded from the free version in order to perform some specific actions.

3. Check your memory and hardware

windows 8.1 bsod memory diagnostic utility RAM check
  1. Open the Search charm > type in Memory Diagnostic and open the Windows Memory Diagnostic utility.
  2. In the new window which opens, select one of the two options available. The first one will restart Windows immediately and let the system scan the RAM.
  3. If it will return an error, then you have your answer. Replace the RAM of your computer and everything should be working properly.
  4. On the other hand, if the scan didn’t return any errors, then the problem resides elsewhere.

Optional: If your motherboard’s BIOS has the Memory Caching feature, then you should disable this feature. Keep in mind that operating in the BIOS environment can be dangerous, so do not attempt to modify other settings if you don’t know what they do.


Accessing BIOS seems too big of a task? Check out more in this amazing guide!


Checking the hardware is somewhat of a tedious process. You will need to unplug all connected and non-essential devices from your computer (which basically means everything except your mouse and keyboard) and then disable their drivers.

Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

Restoro Scan
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Run a PC Scan with Restoro Repair Tool to find errors causing security problems and slowdowns. After the scan is complete, the repair process will replace damaged files with fresh Windows files and components.

After a reboot, check to see if all the drivers are still disabled and one by one, re-enable and reconnect the devices.

Do not plug in or enable more than one device at a time! Only one at a time and use the computer and the device after you have plugged it in.

If the error does not appear, then that driver is clear and you can move on to the next one. Do this until you have either added and enabled all the devices, or until the BSOD appears.

If the latter happens, this means that the last driver enabled is the problem. Enter Safe Boot and completely uninstall the driver and try downloading the latest one from the manufacturer and install it.

If it still won’t work, then that driver has a compatibility problem with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.

Optional: If the BSOD appears after a driver update, try rolling back the driver and see if the problem persists. Enter Device Manager and locate the driver in question, then right-click it and select “Properties”. Under the “Driver” tab, you will find the option to roll back the driver.


4. Refresh or restore

windows 8 system restore
  1. Go to Search > type system properties > open System Properties.
  2. Go to System Protection > click on System Restore.
  3. Click Next > choose the preferred restore point in the new window.
  4. Once you’ve selected your preferred restore point, click Next > click Finish.
  5. Your PC will restart and the restoring process will start.

Windows 10 offers users the possibility to refresh computers, which resets all the settings to their default values. This option will not affect any personal files you have on your computer, so you can run it without the fear of data loss.

However, if you’re facing a critical error and Windows deletes all your files in the update process, don’t panic just yet. We’ve written extensively about this and our guide will surely help you get all your files back.

A system restore is a viable option if the error manifested itself after you have installed multiple drivers and third-party software. In order for this to work, you would need to have created a restore point prior to the install of the software.

This is a good habit to have, and creating restore points can prove a lifesaver.


If System Restore isn’t working, check this useful guide and set things right once again.


Windows 10 offers a series of advanced recovery option that allows users to clean install the OS. If you’re a Windows 10 user, you can also use the Reset this PC recovery option.

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > click on Recovery under the left pane.
  2. Click on Get Started under Reset this PC > choose to Keep your files.reset this PC Windows 10
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset.

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.


5. Repair your registry to fix corrupted files

  1. Go to Start > type cmd > right-click Command Prompt > select Run as Administratorrun cmd as admin
  2. Now type the sfc /scannow commandsfc /scannow cmd
  3. Wait for the scanning process to complete and then restart your computer. All corrupted files will be replaced on reboot.

If you prefer to repair your registry automatically, you can use one of these registry cleaners. Also, if you’re having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin, then you better take a closer look at this guide.


Scannow has stopped before the process finished? Don’t worry, we’ve got an easy fix for you.


6.  Check your disk for errors

Speaking of corrupted files and errors, your disk may also trigger the irql_not_less_or_equal error. If you already applied the first solution listed in this guide, and checked your RAM, try checking your disk as well.

On Windows 10, you can quickly run a disk check using Command Prompt.

Start Command Prompt as administrator and type the chkdsk C: /f command followed by Enter. Replace C with the letter of your hard drive partition.

chkdsk cmd

As a quick reminder, if you do not use the /f parameter, chkdsk displays a message that the file needs to be fixed, but it does not fix any errors.

The chkdsk D: /f command detects and repairs logical issues affecting your drive. To repair physical issues, run the /r parameter as well.

chkdsk cmd

On Windows 7, 8.1 , go to hard drives > right-click the drive that you want to check  > select Properties > Tool. Under the ‘Error checking’ section, click Check.

check system partition for errors

7. Run a full system scan

  1. Go to Start > type defender > double click Windows Defender to launch the tool.
  2. In the left-hand panel, select the shield iconwindows defender summary
  3. In the new window, click the Scan options linkwindows defender advanced scan
  4. Check the full scan option to launch a full system malware scan.

Malware may cause various issues on your computer, including the irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD error. Perform a full system scan in order to detect any malware running on your computer.

IN case you need a more advanced antivirus solution, try one of these third-party tools.


Need more info on how to perform a full system scan? Find out how it’s done right here!


8. Perform a clean Windows install

irql_not_less_or_equal error

If everything else fails, and the error still appears even after you have exhausted all alternatives, the only thing left to do is to perform a clean Windows install.

This means you will need a Windows installation disk or USB drive and you will delete everything on your C: drive and install a fresh version of Windows 10, but as mentioned, this should be left as a last resort.

If you want to know how to create a bootable USB drive with Windows 10 on it, check out this step-by-step guide.

The easiest and quickest way to do that is by using the Windows Refresh Tool. We’ve got a step-by-step guide on how to use the Windows Refresh Tool to clean install Windows.

Follow the steps listed in that article and let us know if that solution fixed the problem. If you have questions or other tested solutions, note them in the comments section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Irql_not_less_or_equal Windows 10 startup error is usually caused by a driver incompatibility or a bad Windows Service. Learn more in our article about driver IRQL less or not equal.

  • As the name suggests, it is a memory issue that can be caused by a bug in the software that allocates memory wrongly, or a RAM issue. Use the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool to identify any RAM issues.

  • The error is caused either by a damaged system file, which usually happens after a Windows update or because of a faulty RAM module. See our tested solutions to fix this error.

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