Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL – What is it?

Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL is a code on Windows that is often caused by the installation of a faulty BIOS, faulty device driver, or faulty system service.

Common symptoms include:

  • Blue screen will appear, stopping operation
  • Windows cannot be accessed
  • PC may restart or shut down at unexpected times

There are a number of methods that can be used to fix Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. The method you must use will depend on what content you can access on your PC and what exactly caused the issue. If you recently installed a new Windows update, new software or a new driver, you may need to uninstall this new content from your PC. If you recently added new hardware to your PC, it may be faulty and you may need to remove it.

If you cannot access your desktop to uninstall faulty drivers or software, there is also a method to help you. This can be quite a complex issue and it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint the issue. If you cannot resolve the issue yourself, you may want to consider contacting a certified Windows technician.


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Recommended: Download the Automatic Repair Utility to correct this and other PC performance issues.

Error Causes

There are three main categories for error causes for Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. One category involves hardware changes to your system – for example, this could be a new hard drive, graphics card or network card. The second category involves new software, new Windows updates or new driver installation. The third category involves a conflict with anti-virus software, especially AVG anti-virus.

Further Information and Manual Repair

We have split this section into four basic methods that users can attempt to follow to resolve Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. Each of the first three methods are suited for particular scenarios, whilst the fourth method is available for those who cannot resolve the issue even after following one of the three prior methods.

If you believe that you are seeing the error after installing new software, a new driver or a new Windows update, please follow Method One.

If you have recently installed new hardware into your PC, please follow Method Two.

If you have not installed new hardware, software or recently updated your Windows or drivers, but you use AVG anti-virus, please follow Method Three.

If Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL appears on a blue screen and you cannot get back to the desktop or follow any of the above steps to fix the issue, please refer to Method Four.

Here are the top methods for addressing Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL:


Method One:  Uninstall the software, driver or un-do latest Windows Update


If  Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL recently appeared after installing a new driver, new software or a new Windows update, you’ll need to revert your changes and uninstall the new content. First, restart your PC and let it boot back into Windows.

If you installed new software, you can uninstall it by opening ‘Add or remove Programs’ by searching for it in the Start Menu. If you installed a new driver, open the Start Menu and search for ‘Device Manager.’ Open Device Manager and locate the hardware or item you installed the new driver for. Right click the item, click properties, then driver, then uninstall and go through the uninstall process.

If you recently installed a new Windows update, open the Start Menu, search for and open ‘Fix problems with your computer,’ click ‘Backup and Restore’ at the bottom left of the new window, click ‘Recover system settings,’ then click the Administrator ‘Open System Restore’ button. Choose a point to restore to that was recorded before the latest Windows update and go through the system restore Wizard.


Method Two:  Remove New Hardware From Your PC


If Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL appeared on your PC after inserting new hardware into your PC, your best bet is to remove the hardware. First, switch off your PC and remove it from the mains. Then, go through the process you went through to install the new hardware, but in reverse. For example, for a network card, open your PC case by removing the side panel, unclip the network card from the PCI-E slot and then remove the network card from your PC. Next, re-attach the PC side panel, plug the PC back in and boot it back up.

The process you go through for this method will depend on what hardware you installed and the steps you took to install it. If you hired a technician to install the hardware for you, we would advise contacting the technician to ask them to remove it for you.


Method Three:  Remove AVG Anti-Virus


AVG Anti-virus has been known to be a cause of Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. The issue happens when AVG conflicts with the PC’s pre-installed Windows Defender software. To remove AVG, download the AVG removal tool from their website. Run the AVG removal tool to remove AVG anti-virus. Next, type ‘Windows Defender’ into the Start Menu and open Windows Defender.

In Windows Defender, click Tools, Options, Administrator and tick the check-box beside ‘Use this Program,’ then click Save. If you have other anti-virus software but may think that this could causing you an issue, go through the same process as above, but instead search for the anti-virus removal tool for your own anti-virus software. For example, Norton anti-virus also has a separate ‘Norton removal tool’ available on their website.


Method Four: Re-install Windows


If neither of these methods have fixed the issue for you, or if you cannot get to your desktop to fix the software related issues, you may need to re-install Windows.

To do this, you will need to own a Windows installation CD. Switch your PC off, then insert the CD into your PC or laptop’s CD drive. Go through the setup stage to re-install Windows. If you choose the right options during setup, this method will not delete your previous data on your hard drive.


Method Five: Use An Automated Tool


If Error Code IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL still prevails or you cannot resolve the issue yourself, you may prefer to use a utility tool that can fix this error and other Windows related issues. You can download and install this powerful automated tool here.


For further information you may be interested in these similar issues:


How to Fix Windows 10 Error Code 0x800703e3

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How to Fix Windows 10 Error Code 0x8000222

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