IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error in Windows 11

Claudiu Andone
by Claudiu Andone
Windows & Software Expert
Oldtimer in the tech and science press, Claudiu is focused on whatever comes new from Microsoft. His abrupt interest in computers started when he saw the first Home Computer as a kid. However, his... Read more
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  • The IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error on Windows 11 is a BSoD usually caused by memory problems or system corruption.
  • Think about any recent changes to your hardware or software because they might have produced this situation.
  • The stop code could also be triggered by a virus or malware infection of your system.
Fix IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error on Windows 11
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The IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL blue screen error is pretty well known from Windows 10 and unfortunately, it seems that Windows 11 has inherited it.

When you see this stop code, you need to think about drivers because they are the main culprits for this issue.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL BSoD error

Of course, like with any other blue screen, it can also be a problem with your hardware so you should be ready to make some changes in that department too.

What is the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error?

The IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error code refers to a memory-related issue that happens when a system process or a device driver needs access to a memory address but it doesn’t have the right for that.

IRQL stands for Interrupt Request Level and NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL defines the boundary level which is outside the value.

So, basically, you should look for any changes you performed on your system before this happened. For instance, this can occur if you added or exchanged the RAM modules on your PC.

How can I fix the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL BSoD error?

1. Use the Startup Repair

  1. Create a bootable media and start Windows 11 with it or use a hard power off for three times in a row to boot the OS into Recovery Mode.
  2. Click on Troubleshoot.
  3. Select Advanced options.
  4. Now choose Startup Repair.
  5. If the system detects any problems, it will atempt to solve them. If it doesn’t find any, you will receive the message that Startup Repair couldn’t repair your PC. Click on the Advanced options button.
  6. This will bring you back to the main screen. Select again Troubleshoot, then Advanced options, and in the new window click on Startup Settings.
  7. Now click on Restart to start the PC in Safe Mode.
  8. From the previous menu, you also have the option to select Uninstall Updates and roll back any recent update if you suspect that they caused this issue.
  9. From the same menu, you can also choose System Restore and roll back your system to a previous restore point in time, when this error didn’t occur yet.
  10. Once the PC restarts in Safe Mode, see if the issue persists. If it doesn’t, that basically means that a third party is causing this issue and you need to uninstall it. If it does, you need to go further with a solution below.

If you need to use bootable media, do not hesitate to learn how to create a Windows 11 bootable USB drive.

2. Check the memory on your PC

  1. Click the Search icon from the Taskbar, type memory diagnostic, and select the app from results.
  2. Choose the first option, Restart now and check for problems.
  3. The PC will restart and make the necessary check for your RAM and if it finds any problems, you will receive a report so you can deal with the problem.

Since the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error can be caused by some problems with the memory, it’s important to use the dedicated Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool to get a reading on your modules.

3. Update, uninstall or rollback your drivers

  1. Click the Search icon from the Taskbar, type device manager, and select the app from the results.
  2. Select any section to expand it (we recommend starting with the Network adapters), right click the driver, and select Properties.
  3. Now click on the Driver tab and then start by selecting Update driver. If the system will find a better driver, it will install it. If not, you can also try the Roll Back Driver or the Uninstall Device options, one by one and see if that changes the situation.

We demonstrated this procedure on the Network Adapter driver because it’s more likely to cause this error but you should update all drivers. For automatic scans of outdated or missing drivers, do not hesitate to use a dedicated tool such as DriverFix.

4. Run a SFC scan

  1. Click the Search button from the Taskbar, type cmd, and select Run as administrator to start Command Prompt with full privileges.
  2. Type or paste the following command and press Enter to run it: sfc /scannow
  3. Wait patiently for the scan to finish as it will take a few minutes. If there are any corrupted system files, the tool will detect and repair them.

5. Check the drive for errors

  1. Select the Search button from the Taskbar, enter cmd, and select Run as administrator to start Command Prompt with administrative rights.
  2. Type the following command in the window and hit Enter to run it: chkdsk C: /f

Although the error is often related to memory issues, it can also be caused by disk problems so it doesn’t hurt to check it using the solution above.

The command checks the C: drive on your PC, because we’re interested in the system partition (which is C: by default), but you can replace the letter if you want to check the other partitions.

6. Scan your PC for viruses

  1. Click the Search button on the Taskbar, type windows security, and select the app from the results.
  2. Now select Virus & threat protection.
  3. Click on Scan options.
  4. Choose the Microsoft Defender Offline scan option and hit the Scan now button. That will prompt you to restart the PC.

This problem can also be caused by virus or malware so we recommend performing a full scan of your system, preferably offline, because some threats may escape the regular full scan.

In this solution, we showed you how to perform an offline scan using Microsoft Defender but if you have a third-party antivirus, you can use it instead.

7. Reset your PC

  1. Hit the Start button on the Taskbar and select Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update from the left pane, then click on Advanced options.
  3. Now select Recovery from the list of options.
  4. Click on the Reset PC button.
  5. Now we have two options. We recommend going with the first, Keep my files because the other will wipe all data from the system partition. If you still want to remove everything, cancel this procedure and back up your files first.
  6. Next, we recommend selecting the Cloud download option but if you have a Windows 11 kit, you can also go with the second option.
  7. Windows 11 will be downloaded and reinstalled on your PC if all the necessary requirements are met.

How to check the system stability in Windows 11?

Usually, a blue screen error is due to various problems or instability issues that are detected by the system, thus creating an error report.

If you want to see if a software installation or hardware change has created such disturbances, you can check the Reliability Monitor app in Windows 11. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Click the Search icon from the Taskbar, type reliability, and select View reliability history from the results.
  2. At the bottom, you can see all the recent event and you can click on them to find out what were the implications and data for each one.

We hope that you managed to fix the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error in Windows 11 by using one of our solutions and now your PC is working fine.

If you still didn’t solve this issue, remember if you performed any changes to your system or installed any software and try to undo them.

This method works in a lot of situations even though Windows 11 is still new and the bugs are still unpredictable.

We don’t recommend installing the new OS on your main PC just yet but if you still want to try it, you can run Windows 11 on a virtual machine and see how it goes.

For any suggestions or questions we wait for your input on the comments section below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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