How to Fix an irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD:
If your Windows PC suffers from a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) Error, it means that a catastrophic error has occurred that caused Windows to stop working. While BSoDs are far less common in Windows 10 than in earlier releases, you will still see a BSoD error when Windows encounters a problem it cannot recover from.
Difficult to understand BSOD error messages, with names like clock_watchdog_timeout which provide the least amount of information about the cause. For example, if you see an irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD error, you need to follow the steps below to troubleshoot the issue.
What causes irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD on Windows 10?
To understand the possible reason behind an irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD error message, you need to understand what this error code means.
This error is essentially a security error. A device driver, system process, or running app is attempting to access a portion of system memory that is otherwise unavailable to it, usually because it is not allowed to access it.
This is why this error message is often associated with ntoskrnl.exe (Windows Kernel) in BSOD dump files, because the kernel process itself will crash if this BSOD occurs. This could be caused by a fault or bug in a device driver, such as corrupted system files, overheating or damaged hardware, or incompatible drivers or system updates.
Thankfully, there are some general steps you can follow that should help you restore your PC if this error appears, as described in this guide below.
Boot Windows in Safe Mode to Troubleshoot
After any BSOD error, your PC will reboot. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to troubleshoot, especially if you are stuck in a BSOD loop. A BSOD loop is where your PC reboots after a BSOD, with another BSOD error message appearing shortly after the reboot process is completed, repeating the cycle indefinitely.
To help you diagnose an irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD error, especially if Windows is not booting properly, you should: boot in safe mode. Safe Mode is Windows’ troubleshooting mode, booting the Windows desktop with the minimum number of services, drivers, and apps required to run.
In most cases, this allows you to bypass the BSoD error if a driver or software issue is at fault, although this is unlikely to help if your hardware is faulty. If you recently updated your PC or installed a new driver, you can use Safe Mode to revert your changes using the steps in the section below.
- If Windows is not booting up, you can boot your PC into Start Mode by powering it on. When you begin to see the Windows logo (indicating that Windows is loading), press your PC’s restart button (or select and hold the power button) to interrupt the process. Repeat this step at least two or three times.
- If Windows does not boot successfully after three attempts, Windows will start automated repair process And offer various startup options. On automatic repair select screen advanced options > troubleshoot problems > advanced options > startup settings > restart.
- Windows will reboot and provide you with additional startup options to choose from. Select the appropriate number next to the Safe Mode option you want to boot into (usually 4) using your keyboard. For example, if you want to boot into Safe Mode with Networking enabled, select 5 option instead.
Once you are in safe mode, you can follow some additional repair steps below.
Update Windows Drivers and System Files
The Windows operating system relies on hundreds of different system processes, thousands of system files, and billions of lines of code to give you a functional user interface. It is not perfect, however, BSODs such as irql_not_less_or_equal error occur due to bugs in critical system or driver files.
If you haven’t updated your PC recently, you should check Windows Update for new drivers and system files that may contain important bug fixes. If your PC is currently not booting or if An update is not installing properly, however.
- To see new updates, right-click on the Start menu and select Adjustment.
- In the Windows Settings menu, choose Updates and Security > Windows Update. Follow any additional on-screen instructions to check for (and install) any available updates, including optional software and driver updates.
If any updates are available for your PC, install them and restart your PC afterwards. You should also check manufacturer websites for the latest driver releases, especially for devices such as graphics cards, where the updates are usually newer than the drivers released through Windows Update.
Check your system files for errors
You have updated the PC, but maybe your system files are still corrupted in some way. For example, it may be after malware infection Or after a failed update. If you are unsure, you can Check your system files for errors use of system file checker and DISM equipment.
- To start, you need to open a new windows powershell Window. Right-click on the Start menu and select Windows PowerShell (Admin) To do this.
- In the PowerShell window, type dism.exe /online /cleanup-images /restorehealth To update your Windows system image with the latest files by using the DISM tool. This step makes sure that when you scan your Windows installation using the SFC tool, it can replace any missing or corrupted files.
- After running the DISM command, type sfc / scannow To start scanning your PC using SFC Tool. Allow it to complete—Windows can repair any files or will warn you if it encounters any errors.
If DISM and SFC tools cannot repair your system files, you may need to consider reset windows 10 To give you a fresh and non-corrupt installation.
Roll back (or replace) conflicting drivers
An irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD is often caused by a driver issue. system driver Allow Windows to safely interface with, use, and control specific hardware components. If the driver is incompatible, corrupted or out of date, a BSOD can (and usually will) happen.
To fix this problem, you can replace any conflicting drivers, especially if you have recently updated the driver. It is possible to roll back the driver, or replace it with an option, using the Device Manager menu. You may need to boot into safe mode to do this.
- To access Device Manager, right-click on the Start menu and select device Manager.
- Locate any device that you think may be causing the BSOD error. you can check your BSOD Dump Files To help determine if you are unsure. Once you find them in the Device Manager window, right-click on the device and select a quality.
- Choose Driver Tab to view information about the currently installed driver. If you recently updated your driver and want to roll it back to an already installed version, select roll back Driver To move forward.
- If you prefer to check for driver updates directly (using Windows Update or manually selecting driver files), select update driver. To completely remove the driver, select uninstall device and confirm your choice.
- Follow any additional on-screen instructions. Once you have updated, rolled back or removed your device drivers, restart your PC to confirm the changes by right-clicking on the Start menu and selecting . shut down or sign out > restart.
Test your hardware for failures
System BSOD errors are not always caused by a driver conflict or with your Windows installation. If your hardware fails somehow, system instability (and BSOD) is likely to follow.
Before you rush to change anything, run some general system maintenance checks on your PC. for example, cleaning your pc Dust and other contaminants can lower your system’s temperature, reducing the demand for your PC hardware and helping it work more efficiently.
If your PC is clean, you can run CPU stress test To check if your processor is working properly or not. You can also run tests similar to check bad system memory, as these are the most likely reasons behind an irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD where a hardware failure is suspected.
Repeat these tests several times to determine if your hardware is failing. If so, you’ll need to replace those components (or replace your PC entirely).
Repairing BSOD Errors on Windows 10
If your PC is plagued with an irql_not_less_or_equal BSOD error, the steps above should help you resolve it. While you can’t prevent BSODs, you can prepare for them in advance. Backing up your important files in cloud storage. you can also enable system restore To allow you to restore your PC files to an earlier time.
Sometimes, the only way to recover from BSOD error is to consider Wipe and reinstall Windows 10, returning it to the default configuration. However, if your hardware is failing, reinstalling Windows won’t help, and you’ll need to think about it. upgrade your pc to fix the issue.