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How to Fix IRQL Blue Screen Errors

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 9/30/2010

Getting the Windows blue screen of death, or BSOD, can be a frustrating and a bit frightening event for any Windows user. The IRQL not less or equal blue screen error can be easily solved, once you know what could be causing it.

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    The Blue Screen of Death

    If you're a Microsoft Windows user, you may have unfortunately encountered the infamous 'blue screen of death'. The BSOD is just an error screen that users may encounter when a software or hardware does something or reacts to something that it shouldn't have. A BSOD is basically the system telling you that an error has prevented Windows from starting or loading something properly.

    There are many different types of BSOD; it is the error code that will tell you what type of error you've encountered. When encountering an IRQL not less or equal blue screen error, there can be several reasons as to why you are receiving this message.

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    IRQL Not Less or Equal

    First, to understand the type of error that this, we first need to understand what an IRQ is. IRQ stands for interrupt request, which is a channel within a system that tells the CPU to stop working so that it can receive more information from other components. It's not uncommon for IRQs to be shared among multiple devices, however this can sometimes lead to errors like the one first mentioned above.

    An IRQL is an interrupt request level, which is the priority setting for an IRQ. If the priority is set above that of the processor, it can interrupt any current operation; anything that is set below is marked for proper request.

    For the IRQL not less or equal blue screen error, it usually occurs when the system has encountered a bad software driver or a recently added piece of hardware has been installed. This can also sometimes be a memory or RAM issue, meaning a stick of memory is either going bad, is incompatible, or has been inserted improperly. In the next section, we'll look at some common issues of the IRQL not less or equal blue screen errors and their possible solutions.

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    IRQL Errors and Fixes

    Cause & Solution #1: Bad RAM - RAM memory is an important component to every computer system. Depending on the makerof the computer or if a user has built their own, having the correct type of RAM is crucial. However, sometimes even when the best type and the correct type of RAM is bought, it may be faulty. The solution to discovering if you have faulty RAM is to run the MemTest, a test designed to figure out RAM issues on a computer.

    Cause & Solution #2: Bad Driver - Sometimes drivers don't install correctly, either because it was downloaded wrong or it is an incompatible version. This is probably the easiest of solutions, as you will just need to uninstall your current driver and either reinstall it or try downloading it again.

    Cause & Solution #3: Incompatible software or hardware - While Windows 7 is quite capable of running a variety of software and hardware, there may be some things that it may be incompatible with. The best course of action is to ensure that what you have installed can indeed work on Windows 7 and that there is a driver (if possible) that is Windows 7 approved.

    Most often, once these causes and solutions have been addressed and taken care of, a BSOD shouldn't plague your computer again.

    (Image content @ Wakefield Computers)