Understanding the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL Error
If you’re a Windows 11 user, you might have encountered the blue screen of death error that reads IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL_ERROR. This blue screen error is also present in previous versions of Windows and is usually caused by hardware or software issues. The error message indicates that a kernel mode process or driver attempted to access a memory address that it doesn’t have permission for.
When the error occurs, you may notice:
- The system frequently reboots itself or crashes.
- The system hangs or freezes frequently.
- There’s a sudden reduction of system processing speed.
- It’s impossible to load up the Operating System.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s highly probable that you’re getting the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error.
The following elements might cause the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error:
- A driver trying to access a page of memory that doesn’t exist or attempting to access memory past the end of an allocated page of memory.
- A device driver encounters an IRQ conflict. An IRQ (Interrupt Request) is a signal that’s sent to the CPU from an input device, indicating that it requires attention. The system responds by stopping the current processor activity and processing the device’s request. If there’s a conflict on who has priority to send signals to the CPU, an error occurs.
- The overclock processor forces the hardware to work faster than its intended speed, which causes instability.
- The hard disk, RAM or BIOS has become corrupted or faulty.
The IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error in Windows 11 can be difficult to resolve, but some basic troubleshooting steps can be undertaken to ensure this is corrected.
The first thing you should do is check for Windows updates. Compared to previous versions of Windows, Windows 11 is more secure and stable. There’s a possibility that the issue is already addressed in a recent update that you have yet to install.
If there’s an external device connected to your computer, check and confirm that it’s receiving enough power. If this does not resolve the problem, try uninstalling the device driver for the conflicting hardware or upgrading the device driver for that hardware.
Alternatively, if you overclocked your CPU to increase its processing speed, this could be the cause of the problem. As a result, you should underclock the processor to the usual specifications.
If there’s a blue screen error, attempt to limit the booting of Windows 11 in Safe Mode. If the system boots properly, use System Restore to revert the machine to an earlier point in time when it was operating correctly.
In other instances, the RAM may have become problematic and should be substituted with good hardware. The object is to find the problematic RAM module by “swapping out” or substituting a known good RAM module for the current defective one.
In conclusion, the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error in Windows 11 may be caused by various issues, notably hardware or software-related. Before making any changes to your system, attempt to restart or reboot your computer. This alone may fix the issue. If the problem persists, always remember to back up your data before attempting to troubleshoot your computer.
Restarting Your Computer
If you are facing the irql_not_less_or_equal error on your Windows 11, then restarting your computer can be a simple yet effective way of resolving the issue. Simply press the power button on your computer to turn it off and wait for a few seconds before turning it back on again. Alternatively, you can also use the restart option in the Windows 11 operating system. To do this, click on the Windows icon in the taskbar, then click on the power button and select “Restart.”
This simple action can help to resolve many software issues that might have caused the irql_not_less_or_equal error. When you restart the computer, Windows 11 will close all open applications and processes and reload them when the computer powers back on. This acts as a fresh start for the operating system and can clear any temporary files that might be causing the error.
If restarting your computer does not fix the irql_not_less_or_equal error, then there could be other underlying issues that need to be addressed. You can proceed to the next troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue.
Updating Your Drivers
Out of date or incompatible drivers can cause a plethora of issues, including IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL errors. To fix this error on your Windows 11 PC, you’ll need to update your drivers through Device Manager, Windows Update, or by downloading them directly from the manufacturer’s website.
Device Manager is a built-in tool in Windows 11 that allows you to manage and control hardware devices connected to your computer. Follow the steps below to update your device drivers using Device Manager:
- Step 1: Right-click the Windows icon on the taskbar and select Device Manager from the list.
- Step 2: Expand the device category you want to update drivers for (e.g. Network adapters).
- Step 3: Right-click the device you want to update and select Update driver.
- Step 4: Choose how you want to search for the updated driver. If you have the driver files on your computer, select Browse my computer for drivers. If you want Windows to search for the updated driver online, select Search automatically for updated driver software.
- Step 5: Follow the on-screen instructions to install the updated driver.
If updating your drivers through Device Manager doesn’t work, you can try updating them via Windows Update. Windows 11 automatically checks for system updates, including driver updates. Follow the steps below to update your drivers using Windows Update:
- Step 1: Click the Windows icon on the taskbar and select Settings from the list.
- Step 2: Click on Windows Update, then select Check for updates.
- Step 3: If an update for your device driver is available, select Install now. If not, check back at a later time to see if an update becomes available.
If neither of those options work, you can download and install the latest drivers directly from the manufacturer’s website. This can be a bit more time-consuming and requires a bit more technical know-how, but it’s often the best way to get the latest drivers for your system. Follow the steps below to update your drivers using the manufacturer’s website:
- Step 1: Determine the manufacturer and specific model of the device you want to update. For example, if you want to update your graphics card driver, go to the website of the graphics card manufacturer (e.g. AMD, NVIDIA).
- Step 2: Navigate to the manufacturer’s website and find the drivers/download section.
- Step 3: Select your device model and operating system (e.g. Windows 11).
- Step 4: Download the latest driver available, then install it on your computer.
Updating your drivers is a crucial step in fixing the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error on your Windows 11 PC. If you’re unsure of what drivers to update or how to perform the updates, seek help from a technical professional or the manufacturer’s support team.
Running a System File Checker Scan
If you’re experiencing the irql_not_less_or_equal error on your Windows 11 PC, one of the easiest things you can do is run a System File Checker (SFC) scan. This tool is built into the Windows operating system and is designed to detect and repair any corrupted or missing system files that may be causing the error.
The SFC scan process is relatively straightforward and can be completed in just a few steps:
- Open the Command Prompt by searching for it in the Windows search bar or by pressing the Windows key + R and typing in “cmd.”
- Right-click on the Command Prompt and choose “Run as administrator.”
- Type “sfc /scannow” into the Command Prompt window and hit Enter. This will initiate the SFC scan.
- Wait for the scan to complete. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more depending on the size of your hard drive and the number of files on it.
- If the scan detects any corrupted or missing files, it will attempt to repair them automatically. If it’s unable to do so, it will provide you with a list of the files that need to be repaired or replaced.
It’s important to note that when you run an SFC scan, your computer may become unresponsive or slow down temporarily. This is normal and is a sign that the scan is working. Make sure not to interrupt the scan or turn off your computer until it’s complete. Doing so could cause additional errors or problems.
If the SFC scan doesn’t fix the irql_not_less_or_equal error, you may need to try other troubleshooting methods such as updating your drivers or performing a clean boot.
In conclusion, running an SFC scan is a simple and effective way to fix the irql_not_less_or_equal error on your Windows 11 PC. Make sure to follow the above steps carefully and allow enough time for the scan to complete. If you continue to experience the error despite running an SFC scan, consider reaching out to a professional for further assistance.