How to fix IRQL DRIVER NOT LESS OR EQUAL in Windows 8.1


What is “IRQL DRIVER NOT LESS OR EQUAL” error in Windows 8.1?

IRQL DRIVER NOT LESS OR EQUAL is a blue screen of death (BSOD) that provides the following information: “STOP: 0x000000D1 (0x0000000000000002, 0xFFFFF8024E22CAA8, 0xFFFFF803F28B9030, 0xf862000000000000)” that represents the location and other additional data about the problem.

It may cause your computer to completely freeze or restart randomly if it occurs while you’re playing games or running other demanding software. This is because high-intensity programs take more memory than Windows can allocate and will be ejected from the system memory.

However, if you’re using your computer for simple things like browsing the Internet or checking e-mails the error will likely appear less frequently.

When it appears on startup, it may cause Windows to crash before you are able to enter Safe Mode, which is why you should start-up in Safe Mode with Command Prompt and run a scan on your hard drive right away.

What causes this error in Windows 8.1?

1. Lack of administrative access on your computer

The IRQL error is a memory access problem that occurs when a system or driver attempts to access a memory address without having the correct permissions.


You must have administrative access on your computer so that you can manually change file permissions and registry entries.

Gaining administrative access to all the files may be a time-consuming task which could also lead to permanent damage to your system files and stop Windows from loading completely, hence we recommend using our computer repair services if you are facing a permissions issue.

2. Hard drive corruption

IRQL DRIVER NOT LESS OR EQUAL blue screen error may also occur when your computer hardware has failed but the data stored on the hard drive is not corrupted. If the problem is due to bad sectors, corrupted file systems or fragmented HDD, you can take advantage of the built-in Windows CHKDSK tool to check and fix errors on your storage drives.


  • You should restart your computer and press F8 repeatedly after the BIOS screen disappears to access the Advanced Boot Options. After that, select Safe Mode with Command Prompt to boot into it. Type ” chkdsk c: /f /r” at command prompt without quotes and press Enter key to start running a full check on your system hard drive if you want to fix the IRQL DRIVER NOT LESS OR EQUAL blue screen error in Windows 8/8.1 from there or manually from Windows desktop if needed.
  • When you are booted into Safe Mode, you can type “sfc /scannow” without quotes and press Enter key to have a check on your system files as well.



  • After a reboot, if the error is gone, it was probably caused by a corrupted file or some incompatible driver on your PC running Windows 8/8.1. In such a case, install the latest official drivers for your hardware components from the original manufacturers’ website, and do not forget to perform another full chkdsk scan as an extra precaution measure.
  • IRQL DRIVER NOT LESS OR EQUAL can also occur if you have a bad sector in your hard disk drive, it is likely that “IRQL” parameter will be making faulty comparisons with memory data as unmapped memory might lead to this stop error. To solve this problem, defragment your disk and ensure all sectors on your HDD are mapped correctly.

3. Virus / Malware

IRQL DRIVER NOT LESS OR EQUAL not less or equal blue screen error just like the registry_error ntoskrnl.exe, may also occur if your PC is infected with a virus or malware. If you suspect that your computer might have contracted some sort of virus/malware infection, perform an in-depth scan on your system using reputable antivirus software.


  • First, boot your Windows 8/8.1 PC in the Safe Mode with Networking.
  • To get started, press “Win + C” keys together to show the Charms Bar on screen, and then move your cursor over to the “Settings” icon. Alternatively, you can always go for F4 key for the Settings menu.
  • On the next step click on the Power option under this settings page which will lead you to shut down Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 PC. Once your Windows 8 or 8.1 PC is completely shut down, press “Shift + F4” keys again to restart it in safe mode with networking.
  • If you are using a laptop just simply remove the battery of it if possible because removing the battery clears the stored energy up and reset the laptop to factory defaults and then you can restart your PC in safe mode with networking.
  • Now once Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 is started, you should be able to see “Advanced options”. In Advanced options click on the “Troubleshoot” option which will lead you to the Troubleshooting window.
  • In the troubleshooting window, select “Advanced Options” from there and press the next button available over there to continue further steps. On the next step select “Start Windows Normally” selection press the OK button so that computer restarts normally without any problem.

Once the PC restarts properly, run a virus scan on it because sometimes Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 PCs may be affected by a virus that may cause the above error.

4. Incorrect device driver

Incorrectly configured drivers can also cause IRQL DRIVER NOT LESS OR EQUAL blue screen error. This may be the result of installing a new device that was incorrectly built by its manufacturer or not downloading a critical system file that is used by Windows 8 for running properly.


  • To fix the first issue, uninstall recently installed devices and remove the drivers associated with them. Contact the manufacturer if further assistance is needed for any of your plug-and-play devices such as modems, sound cards, printers and network adapters.
  • To fix the second issue, install all available Windows 8 updates. Download critical system files from Windows Update if you are not already using them. If this fails to resolve the issue, reinstall your motherboard chipset drivers.
  • The Device Manager window will open in a new window so that you can verify whether or not there are any device drivers with problems or issues.  Click Start and type in “Device Manager” (without quotes) into the search box and press Enter on your keyboard.  You could also click on the arrow to open up all of your devices simultaneously instead of checking them one at a time.  Select any unknown devices that have an exclamation mark next to them.  This means that they either don’t have drivers installed for them or that the drivers are corrupted.  Right-click on each of the devices with an exclamation mark next to them and go to Update Driver Software.
  • Click once on “Update Driver Software” which will begin searching for available driver updates. When you see the list of drivers, select any device drivers that show up as being “Not Installed” even if it is not a device that you have connected to your computer.  This means that you need to install these driver software updates because they are missing from your system. The sequence of steps should be: Device Manager > right-click on “unknown device” choose Update Driver Software.


5. Failed Windows 8.1 update

Lastly, the IRQL DRIVER NOT LESS OR EQUAL error can also be caused by a failed Windows 8.1 update.  This is a problem that has been seen by many Windows 8.1 users and it can be caused by something wrong with the update itself.  When this happens, you’ll want to make sure that you check out our article on failed Windows updates for more information about troubleshooting the issue.

See steps below on how to force update your Windows 8.1:

  • Go to Settings – > Change PC settings – > Update and Recovery – > Advanced options – > View your update history (this will show you the status of all updates that have been applied to your machine)  – click on an update and then click on uninstall to remove it.
  • Be aware that some failed updates cannot be uninstalled through this method, so if you continue seeing this issue, we recommend performing a System Restore.
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...