How to Fix: DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL on Windows 10

In this article I will show you how to resolve the BSOD driver_irql_not_less_or_equal on Windows 10 which will appear on any windows 10 machine.  This happens when the operating system failed to process a system memory command correctly.

This is usually caused by some sort of an issue with a devices driver or a file that has been corrupted. Your system will crash at random times and will display the error message shown to the left.

To jump directly to the driver_irql_not_less_or_equal blue screen of death fixes click here


Below is a youtube video I created which shows you all the steps to resolve the BSOD driver_irql_not_less_or_equal Windows 10.

When your machine crashes to a blue screen of death you might see the message your pc ran into a problem driver_irql_not_less_or_equal on your screen.

Causes of driver_irql_not_less_or_equal Windows 10

This issue is usually caused by one of the following

  • Some sort of issue with a device driver
  • Corrupt windows 10 operating system
  • Hardware issue
  • Virus or Malware

Issue With Device Driver – If you are using an older version of a driver it is possible there is a bug in this driver which will cause your system to crash and show the driver_irql_not_less_or_equal error.

Corrupt Windows 10 Operating System File – If one of the windows 10 operating system files has become corrupt this will cause your operating system to behave strangely (Including system crashes)

Hardware Issue – It is possible one of the hardware inside your machine has an issue, Usually your hard drive has bad sectors on it.

Virus or Malware – If your system is infected with a virus or malware this will also cause your system to crash to a blue screen of death





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Troubleshooting The driver_irql_not_less_or_equal on Windows 10

The good news is that we get a lot of information on the blue screen of death screen which we can use to troubleshoot and fix this issue.

driver_irql_not_less_or_equal

driver_irql_not_less_or_equal

The first thing we can see is the Stop Code ( driver_irql_not_less_or_equal ) which you can locate as shown in the below picture

Looking at the microsoft web site that the driver_irql_not_less_or_equal stop code is related to a kernel-mode driver that attempted to access a pageable memory at a process IRQL that was too high (Which is usually because of a device driver).

driver_irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD Error

Below the stop code we can see which file caused the crash.  In the screenshot below we can see the “netwtw04.sys” caused this crash.

driver_irql_not_less_or_equal stop code

We now need to find out what driver uses this file, if you google the file name you will be able to find out.  I can see this file belongs to the intel network driver.

Below is a list of the most common files to cause this driver_irql_not_less_or_equal stop code on Windows 10.

File Name : netwtw04.sys
Driver : Intel Network WAN

File Name : igdkmd64.sys
Driver : Intel(R) HD Graphics 4000

File Name : atikmdag.sys
Driver : ATI Display Driver

File Name : NDIS.SYS
Driver : Network LAN

File Name : storahci.sys
Driver : Microsoft AHCI controller

File Name : Netio.sys
Driver : NVIDIA network adapter

File Name : amdsata.sys
Driver : AMD Sata


How To Fix driver_irql_not_less_or_equal on Windows 10

Now we have finished troubleshooting the driver_irql_not_less_or_equal error we can now try the following fixes

  • Upgrade The Device Driver
  • Fix The Corrupt Operating System Files
  • Troubleshoot Hardware Issues
  • Check For Virus / Malware

Upgrade / Re-install Device Drivers

Now we know which file is causing the crashes we can now resolve this error. We now need to see if there is a update for the driver which uses the files that is causing the crashes. First we need to see what version of the driver we are using. To do this click on the windows 10 start menu and type in Device Manager and hit enter.

Next find the device you are looking for and right click on it and select properties. Then in the window that pops up click on the driver tab and take a look at the number next to the “Driver Version” Below we can see my Broadcom 802.11 Network Adaptor is using driver version 7.35.333.0.

Install a Newer Driver – Now we need to visit the Broadcom website to see if there is a newer driver we can download and install. If there is a newer version download the driver and install on to your system. Reboot your system and hopefully the issue is now resolved.  If not resolved continue to the next step.

Re-Install The Current Drivers – If you already have the latest drivers installed we will uninstall the current drivers and re-install. Go in to device manager and find your device, Now right click on the device and click on uninstall. This will now uninstall the driver from your system. When the uninstall has finished reboot your machine, then re-install the driver.

Use Old Driver – Still having stop code crashes? If yes uninstall the driver again, then see if you can download an older version of the driver for your hardware. It is possible the latest newest driver has a bug that causes the driver_irql_not_less_or_equal crashes.

Fix The Corrupt Operating System Files

The CHKDSK program can check your windows 10 system for file corruption and bad sectors. The scan will automatically fix and issues it finds which will hopefully prevent the driver_irql_not_less_or_equal blue screen of deaths.

To run this tool click on the windows 10 start menu and type in CMD then right click on command prompt and right click the mouse and select “Run as administrator”

a black window will now open, in this window type in CHKDSK C: /f /r you will then get prompted y/n type in y and hit enter. Your system will now reboot and run the CHKDSK, This program could take 20 minutes to 2 hours to run.

Troubleshoot Hardware Issues

If you are still having an issue it is possible a hardware device inside or connected your system itself has an issue. Try the following

  • Remove any external devices connected to your machine (Printers, scanners and so on)
  • Remove any USB hard drives / sticks that are connected
  • Remove any recently installed hardware
  • Reseat all the memory modules in your system
  • Make sure the CPU fan is connected properly

Check For Virus / Malware

It is possible you have a virus on your system which is causing this driver_irql_not_less_or_equal blue screen error.

Make sure your local virus scanner is updated and run a full system scan. When the scan has finished run a second online virus scan, I find this scanner very good.

If you don’t have any virus scanner installed I highly recommend the free version of AVG.


Other driver_irql_not_less_or_equal Fixes

Listed below are other fixes that could help you resolve this issue

Stop Code 0x000000d1 driver_irql_not_less_or_equal – If you get the stop code 0x000000d1 when your system crashes this could be because you have recently installed windows hotfix 2738401, this hotfix is known to cause this error.  Check your system under programs if this hotfix has been installed on your system, If it is installed simply remove the hot fix and reboot your machine.

Stop Code driver_irql_not_less_or_equal 0x00000001 – If you get the stop code 0x000000d1 when your system crashes this is because the system was unable to write to a part of the system memory, this is due to some sort of driver issue.  Find out what driver is causing the crashes (Take a look in the troubleshooting section above) and update that driver

Run a SFC Scan – This scan will check all of the windows 10 operating system files or issues and will fix if it finds any. To run this scan click on the windows 10 start menu and type in CMD then right click on command prompt and right click the mouse and select “Run as administrator” In the black window type in SFC /scannow and hit enter

Run a dism/online/cleanup-image Scan – This scan will check all of the windows 10 operating system updates / hotfixes and will fix if it finds any. To run this scan click on the windows 10 start menu and type in CMD then right click on command prompt and right click the mouse and select “Run as administrator” In the black window type in dism/online/cleanup-image and hit enter

Other Fixes – If you are aware of any other fixes for this blue screen of death please let us know about it by posting in a comment below


Preventing The BSOD driver_irql_not_less_or_equal Error

There are a few things that we can do to try to prevent the driver_irql_not_less_or_equal blue screen of death error showing on our machines, these are

  1. Keep Your Device Drivers Up to Date – Once a month check all your device drivers and install any updates you might find
  2. Install Latest Service Pack – Make sure the latest service pack is installed for your windows 10 system. It is possible the service pack includes a fix for the stop code crash you are getting
  3. Install Latest Windows Updates – Click on the windows 10 start menu and type in check for updates hit enter then click on the check for updates button. Your system will now contact microsoft and download the latest updates for your system and will install them.
  4. Update Anti Virus – Make sure your anti virus software is regularly updated

If you are aware of anything else that can be done to prevent this error please let us know about it in a comment below.

Conclusion For How to Fix: DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL on Windows 10

Nine times out of ten this issue is caused by some sort of issue with a device driver, After performing the troubleshooting steps in this article it will help you to understand what driver is causing the issue.  Thank you for reading this post, I hope it was helpful for you.

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