How to Solve ‘IRQL Not Less or Equal’ in Windows 10

In this article I will show you how you can fix ‘IRQL Not Less Or Equal’ error in Windows 10. When Windows encounters a fatal system error, it will display a stop error screen known as the Blue Screen of Death, or BSoD.

IRQL Not Less Or Equal

The PC is like to crash and then restart. It will then show you a blue screen detailing which error has happened.

There are many bug checks and stop errors possible with Windows 10 but this article refers to error 0x0000000A, or the ‘IRQL Not Less or Equal’ error.

There are various reasons why this error can occur, so let’s look at why it might have happened and what you can do to fix it.

What is the IRQL Not Less or Equal Error?

The most common reason you see the ‘IRQL_Not_Less_or_Equal’ error is either a memory access violation (trying to access an undefined page or write data to a read-only page) or a page fault (trying to access a non-resident virtual address).

Your PC uses a developer-provided exception or a system-supplied code to deal with these if they happen to be IRQL level 0 or level 1.

If your PC is dealing with IRQL level 2 tasks though, these exceptions can’t be addressed and that makes the PC crash.

Basically, error code 0x0000000A means an exception type Windows can only handle at level 0 or 1 happened when IRQL was at level 2 or more, which is not equal to or less than one.

The Windows or a kernel-mode driver tried to access page memory without a valid address while at a higher interrupt request level.

What Causes Error 0x0000000A?

There are other causes of this error as well as the memory access and page fault issues described above.

Here are several other possible causes of an ‘IRQL Not Less or Equal’ error.

  1. Damaged, outdated, incompatible, or incorrectly installed drivers can cause the error since it isn’t possible to sustain input or output executions. This means your PC is unable to do what you’re asking it to do because improper drivers mean the device isn’t supported.
  2. Incompatible RAM is another cause. If you updated the RAM recently or upgraded it in a computer shop or at a retailer, the error can crop up if the RAM wasn’t installed right or if it isn’t compatible.
  3. A Windows Update can also cause the ‘IRQL Not Less or Equal’ error. This is because of software update inaccuracies. In this case, you’d need to uninstall these updates. Whenever your PC has updates it’s typically best to wait a couple of weeks so any bugs can be ironed out.
  4. Perhaps a kernel of the OS can’t be used. If you see ‘ntoskrnl.exe’ with the error code then this is a more serious issue. The ntoskrnl.exe is a kernel, or core, of your operating system and the error is telling you there is a major issue when trying to run it. This problem is caused by Realtek HI Definition Audio Drivers and will need to be fixed.
  5. You might have overclocked your PC to get the components to speed up. This can cause problems with overclocking software or during the overclocking process. You will need to revert the overclocking process to try and solve the error.
  6. The CPU might be overwhelmed. It can overheat if you run CPU-intensive apps for a long time and don’t have enough ventilation. This results in the PC not being able to complete tasks properly and giving you the error. Consider a cooling system for a desktop PC or a cooling pad for underneath a laptop computer.
  7. Registry issues, faulty hardware, viruses, malware, and disk fragmentation can also cause the 0x0000000A error.

How to Fix the ‘IRQL Not Less or Equal’ Error

Let’s take a look at various methods that can be used to fix this annoying error.

Method #1: Boot into Safe Mode and Look for Software Problems

Although this isn’t technically an Error 0x0000000A solution, it should be able to tell you whether you are looking at hardware or software issues.

Booting the PC into safe mode and still seeing the error means it’s a hardware, not a software, issue.

Follow these steps to access Safe Mode:

run safe mode
  • Click the Power icon in the Start menu.
  • Select Restart while pressing the Shift key.
  • Select the “Troubleshoot” option after restarting.
  • Click “Advanced Options” then “Startup Settings” and press “Restart“.
  • Now choose the “Safe Mode” option.

See if the error still occurs in Safe Mode.

Method #2: Run the Windows Diagnostic Tool

This built-in program will check if there is a problem with your RAM.

  • Type this into the search bar: “Memory Diagnostic
  • Open the “Windows Memory Diagnostic” app which comes up.
memory diagnostic
  • Select the first option to make the app restart the PC and scan the RAM.

If this produces an error, check the RAM is installed correctly and, if so, replace it.

If not, RAM isn’t the problem and you can try some other solutions.

Method #3: Do a System Refresh or Reset the PC

Installing a lot of 3rd party software or drivers means they might be outdated over time, causing a conflict.

If you’ve installed a lot of drivers or software and you don’t know which is the problem, you can perform a system refresh.

This won’t cause any of your personal data to be lost. Your settings will be reset back to their default values.

You won’t be able to do a system refresh unless you have set a restore point before the appearance of the IRQL error.

  • Open the Control Panel.
  • Select “System & Security” and select “System” from the menu on the left side.
  • Click on “System Protection“, pick the location of the restore point and press “Finish“.
  • The PC will restart and then restore.

If you use the Reset this PC option instead, you can hard reset the computer without losing any personal files.

This is how to do it:

  • Type this in the search bar: Settings
  • Choose “Update & Security” and “Recovery” option.
  • Click “Get Started” which is under the “Reset this PC” option.
  • Choose to “Keep my files“.
Reset The Computer

Now follow the directions on the screen to complete the reset.

Method #4: Check for Damaged Files in the Registry

File corruption can sometimes cause the error ‘IRQL Not Less or Equal’.

  • Make a backup of your PC.
  • Type this in the search bar: cmd
  • Right-click the Command Prompt app and select “Run as an Administrator“.
  • Type in this: sfc /scannow
run the sfc scan

Windows will run the scan and, if it finds corrupt files, will automatically repair them.

Restart the PC to see if the error is solved.

Method #5: Check for Corruption on the HDD

There might be corrupt files on the hard disk drive, or HDD. Run the Command Prompt as described in method #4 and type in chkdsk C: /f (replacing C with the disk you want to be checked).

When the scan is over it will show you if it found errors.

If so, you need to open the Command Prompt again then type in chkdsk C: /r and press Enter to repair the issue.

Method #6: Check for Malware with an Antivirus Scan

Choose the Full System Scan on Windows Defender or your antivirus program to see whether you have malware or a virus on your system.

If you want to use Windows Defender, do this:

  • Type this in the search bar: Windows Security
  • Click on the “Windows Security” app.
Windows Security
  • Click on the “Virus & Threat Protection” shield icon that comes up and click the “Scan Options” button underneath the “Quick Scan” button.
  • Select “Full Scan” and press “Scan Now“.

Method #7: Update the Drivers

Right-click on This PC in File Explorer and select “Manage” to update hard drive drivers. Open the “Disk Drives” menu in Device Manager.

Right-click on every device under that and select “Update Driver“, rebooting your PC after each update.

In Conclusion

Hopefully one of the above methods will help with the ‘IRQL Not Less or Equal’ error, or 0x0000000A error.

If not, you might have to completely reinstall Windows from the Windows disk you got with your PC or a bootable USB drive.