How to resolve IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL crash?

by Julie Splinters - -

Crashes associated with the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL have increased recently. Some users reported that a blue screen of death or BSOD[1] linked to the IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL appears when running demanding program or when putting and even waking the PC to sleep. The issue starts with the ntoskrnl.exe driver. 

how to fix irql_not_or_equal crash

What is the ntoskrnl.exe executable?

The ntoskrnl.exe driver is the kernel image.[2] Particularly, the driver delivers the kernel and executive layers of the operating system kernel space. In addition, the executable is responsible for features including process and memory management and hardware virtualization. In other words, it could be said that the process is vital for any Windows system and PC. 

The error notifies users about an issue with the ntoskrnl.exe driver, however, it does not necessarily mean that the process is compromised. Usually, it indicated that some of the servers in a system that works through the kernel image are miss-functioning.  

This article will provide you with information how to fix the BSOD IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL crash. The following two methods can help you to resolve the problem.[3]

Method 1: fix the issue by uninstalling problematic applications

The IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL ntoskrnl.exe BOSD can be related to some third-party application, usually utility. There are many instances when users resolved the issue by identifying and removing the software which caused the BSOD. 

So firstly you have to check if you have Glary Utilities or EaseUS Todo Backup installed. If you have one of them or both installed on your PC, make sure to uninstall them and reboot your PC. If you do not have any of mentioned applications, try to delete any third party utility that you installed on the PC. After you delete the third-party application, reboot your PC and check if the crash returns. 

Once you removed the applications, stress your computer or just leave it on idle. If the BSOD crash does not return, you resolved the issue. 

Method 2: fix the issue by installing the missing USB driver

This issue is common among those users that have recently updated their operating system. According to the scenario, the USB driver should be updated and adjusted automatically in order to fit a new operating system, however, sometimes it does not happen automatically and that is why the BSOD can be caused. In order to fix this issue take the following steps:

  1. Press Windows key + R and launch a Run command. In the search box type or paste ‘devmgmt.msc’ and press Enter. The Device Manager should appear. 
  2. Locate Universal Serial Bus controllers and check for any yellow exclamation marks related to the USB driver. 
  3. If you see a yellow exclamation point next to the USB Host controller, it is a sign that the driver has some problems. Right-click on it and select Uninstall device
  4. After you remove the USB drive, restart the PC in Safe Mode. (Hold Shift while clicking Restart).
  5. After your PC has been put into safe mode, launch your PC’s manufacturer’s website and search for the USB driver linked to your operating system and model.
  6. Copy the missing driver and restart your PC. After this restart, the problem should be solved. 

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - VPN service analyst

Julie Splinters is a VPN service analyst at, who specializes in VPN services and anti-spyware applications. Her major of English Philology and her passion for IT helped her choose the path of an IT writer.

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