IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL BSOD could be a memory-related issue

I recently built my wife a new computer, and right off the bat we started getting IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL BSOD (blue screen of death) problems. We researched high and low online for answers to fix this problem, but most sites accuse device drivers to be at fault, that most likely we installed the wrong driver for one of the installed devices or computer component. But the problem we were seeing was we’d get the bsod after a fresh new installation of windows, and one time even DURING the windows installation, so it couldn’t have been a device driver problem unless Windows 7 itself was installing a driver it should not have, which is usually not the case.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL: What does it mean?

The IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL bsod is commonly interpreted as a problem when the computer attempts to access an illegal space in memory, so instead of ripping your computer apart out of frustration, best thing to do is to check your memory first and see what the problem is.

Steps you should take to fix this problem (if it IS a problem with your memory):

  1. Check your memory speed in your bios settings. You can access your bios screen by pressing F2 or del when your computer boots up. Your memory speed should be displayed in the same page as your processor information. If your memory speed show differently from what it really is, then you need to buy new memory.
  2. Check your memory total in your bios settings. Make sure the memory total displayed in your bios settings is what it really is.
  3. Re-seat your memory sticks. Perhaps you didn’t install your memory correctly. Most motherboards make a clicking sound when seating the memory, you should look out for that.
  4. If your memory is setup as dual channel, then make sure the memory sticks are seated in the correct slots. Usually you can seat them in slot 1 & 3, or slot 2 & 4. Check your motherboard manual for that information.

In my case, I solved the problem using step 1. In the bios settings the memory speed was displayed as 1066 MHz when it should have been 1333 MHz. I exchanged the memory for a new one and that fixed my problem.

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