FIX: System scan at raised IRQL caught improper driver unload error

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • BSoDs are the worst possible type of errors you can receive on your Windows system, but knowing what causes them can help you prevent them from happening.
  • BSoD will always leave log file that you can analyze for later reviews. However, knowing exactly where they are can be a bit tricky.
  • As you will see, keeping your drivers updated is extremely important for preventing BSoDs. Thus, knowing multiple ways to keep them updated can be quite crucial.
  • Our website contains plenty of articles on how to fix various BSoD errors, and you can view them all by searchingthis page.
Driver unload error

Blue Screen of Death errors are probably one of the most serious errors that you can get on Windows 10. Errors such as SYSTEM_SCAN_AT_RAISED_IRQL_CAUGHT_IMPROPER_DRIVER_UNLOAD will restart your computer in order to prevent damage to your PC, therefore it’s crucial that you know how to fix them.

SYSTEM_SCAN_AT_RAISED_IRQL_CAUGHT_IMPROPER_DRIVER_UNLOAD can be a problematic error, and users reported the following issues as well:

  • System_scan_at_raised_irql_caught_improper_driver_unload Windows 10
    • This error can affect any version of Windows and users reported this issue in Windows 10.
  • System_scan_at_raised_irql_caught_improper_driver_unload spac.sys, nvlddmkm.sys
    • Sometimes this error message will give you the name of the file that caused it.
    • If this happens, you can use the file name to easily find the software, hardware or driver that is causing this issue.


1. Update Windows 10

Windows 10 isn’t a perfect operating system, and there are some minor flaws with it. Apparently, certain hardware or software isn’t fully compatible with Windows 10 and that can cause Blue Screen of Death errors to appear.

Fortunately, developers are working hard to fix these issues, and they are frequently releasing new patches through Windows Update.

Many of these patches bring security improvements and bug fixes related to both hardware and software, therefore if you want your PC to be safe and without BSoD errors, we strongly advise you to update Windows 10 frequently.

2. Download the latest drivers

In order for certain hardware to work with Windows 10, it’s necessary that you have appropriate driver.

If a driver for certain hardware is outdated or if it contains bugs, Windows 10 won’t be able to use that hardware and you’ll get SYSTEM_SCAN_AT_RAISED_IRQL_CAUGHT_IMPROPER_DRIVER_UNLOAD error.

To fix this and many other BSoD errors, it’s important that you update the necessary drivers. These types of errors usually report which file caused them to crash, and with little research you can easily find which driver you need to update.

If you don’t know exactly which driver is causing this error, it’s always a good idea to update all installed drivers. Updating driver is relatively simple, and you just need to visit your hardware manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers for your hardware model. Be sure to update as many drivers as you can in order to fix this error.

If you want to fix system crashes it’s crucial to keep your drivers up to date, but downloading drivers manually can be a long and tedious process, therefore you might want to use this Driver Update software that automatically downloads and installs the necessary drivers.

This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus. After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best-automatized solution. Below you can find a quick guide on how to do it.

driver updater starting window

  1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updater
  2. Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically.
  3. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates.
    • All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
  4. Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC.
  5. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once.
    • To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name.
    • Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
      driver updater scan finished
      Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Disclaimer: some functions of this tool are not free.

3. Uninstall the problematic drivers

Sometimes certain drivers just aren’t compatible with Windows 10, and in order to fix this Blue Screen of Death error, you’ll have to remove them. Graphics card drivers are usually the cause for this error, therefore it’s recommended to uninstall the problematic driver. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Power User Menu.
  2. Select Device Manager from the list.
    System_scan_at_raised_irql_caught_improper_driver_unload nvlddmkm.sys
  3. Once Device Manager opens, locate your graphic card driver, right-click it and choose Uninstall device.
    System_scan_at_raised_irql_caught_improper_driver_unload Windows 10
  4. If available, check Delete driver software for this device and click OK.
    System_scan_at_raised_irql_caught_improper_driver_unload Windows 10
  5. Wait for Windows 10 to remove your driver and restart your PC.

Some users are also suggesting to use Display Driver Uninstaller to remove your graphic card driver, so you might want to try that as well. After your PC restarts, check if the problem appears again. If there are no errors, you can continue using the default driver, or you can try to update to a newer version.

We have to mention that this problem was reported by SiS Mirage 3 Graphics owners, but even if you own a different graphic card you can still try this solution.

4. Uninstall your antivirus / firewall

Firewall and antiviruses are important for your system safety, but sometimes these programs can interfere with Windows 10 and cause SYSTEM_SCAN_AT_RAISED_IRQL_CAUGHT_IMPROPER_DRIVER_UNLOAD error to appear.

According to users, Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series was causing this error to appear, and after removing this tool the BSoD error was fixed.

We have to mention that almost any antivirus or firewall program can cause this error, and in order to fix it you’ll have to remove all third-party antivirus programs from your PC.

Bear in mind that uninstalling your current antivirus program might not fix the issue, and you’ll have to use a dedicated removal tool to remove all files associated with your antivirus program.

To download the removal tool for your antivirus, simply visit your antivirus developer’s website and download it from the support section.

If removing the antivirus fixes this error, you can now install the same antivirus again, or you can switch to an alternative software. Currently, the best antivirus solutions on the market are Bitdefender and Bullguard, so you might want to consider them.

5. Run Chkdsk scan

Blue Screen of Death errors can sometimes occur due to corrupted files on your hard drive, and in order to find and fix those files, it’s recommended that you perform a chkdsk scan. To perform a chkdsk scan, do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
    System_scan_at_raised_irql_caught_improper_driver_unload spac.sys
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter chkdsk /r X:.
  3. Press Enter and wait for the scan to finish.

We have to mention that you’ll have to repeat this scan for all hard drive partitions in order to fix this error. Bear in mind that you won’t be able to scan C partition while in Windows 10, and you’ll get a message saying that your computer needs to restart in order to scan the C drive.

Note: If you cannot access Windows 10 at all due to this error, you can run Command Prompt by following these steps:

  1. Restart your computer few times during the boot sequence to start Automatic Repair.
  2. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt.
  3. Run the chkdsk scan.

6. Remove overclock settings and check your hardware

Many users tend to overclock their hardware in order to get better performance, but overclocking your hardware comes with certain risks. If you’re not careful you can cause permanent damage to your PC by overclocking, or you can get a Blue Screen of Death error.

Several users reported that they managed to fix this error by setting their RAM settings to default. Bear in mind that almost any overclocked component can cause this error, so be sure to remove all overclock settings.

If your PC isn’t overclocked, this error could be caused by faulty or recently installed hardware, so be sure to remove any new hardware since it might not be compatible with your PC. If that doesn’t work, check your RAM, motherboard, hard drive, and all other major components.

SYSTEM_SCAN_AT_RAISED_IRQL_CAUGHT_IMPROPER_DRIVER_UNLOAD error is usually caused by incompatible drivers or overclock settings, but you can easily fix this error by using one of our solutions.

By following these steps you should be able to quickly and easily get rid of any driver unload errors that you may encounter while using your Windows 10 PC.

Let us know which one of the above-mentioned methods worked best for you by leaving us a message in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in march 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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