View Full Version : Help: IRQL errors and BSODs driving me crazy

28-12-2004, 11:41 PM
Hi all,

I'd be grateful for some helpful suggestions...

I built a PC about 6 months ago and it has been running perfectly up until the last couple of months or so when it started to suffer from the dreaded random restarts. After enabling the BSODs to come up, the errors generated have nearly always been IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL or occasionally DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. Very rarely any other useful information from the BSOD is given and no reference to any particular files.

Having searched the net for possible causes it seems that it's most likely to be a driver problem or a hardware failure (usually RAM). However I'm not sure either of these are to blame.

The crashes seem to occur when there is an increased CPU load, especially when playing games or watching DVDs. As soon as it's crashed and restarted, it seems to be vulnerable to crashing again very shortly. The pc will run for hours quite happily downloading, emailing or surfing the web however.
I've reinstalled windows numerous times to no avail. The crashes have occasionally occured during windows installation and I've had to wait to let the computer "cool off" to complete a successful installation.

I've tested both sticks of RAM, swapped them around, taken one out, replaced one, and still the crashes persist. Memtest does not return any errors, so I'm inclined to believe it's not a RAM problem (unless both bits of RAM are faulty and memtest is lying).

I've also removed various bits of hardware (modems, tv tuner card) to get down to the bare bones but crashes persist.

I'm wondering whether it's the video card given that the crashes seem to happen during gaming or video applications. However, since the crashes have also occured outside of windows and immediately after a previous crash, then I'm thinking it's something else.

I downloaded an application called Hot CPU tester, to test CPU stability (designed for overclockers I think). It took only a couple of minutes for the pc to crash using this app. So maybe it's a failing CPU?
Looking at the normal running temps for the CPU, they are generally around 42degC while idle. Temperature soon after crashing seems to be around 55degC (although the BIOS says it's slightly higher at around 60degC). These temps dont seem to be abnormal for an AMD CPU, so I don't think overheating is the problem.

Has anyone else here suffered similar problems with BSODs?

Can any suggest what might be wrong?

I'd take the CPU back today if I could, but being Xmas I can't do anything until at least the 5th (local store is shut) and want to be sure I've found the problem before getting parts replaced.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated. :)

This is my system:

Motherboard: Asus A7N8X-X
CPU: AMD Athlon XP-A, 2300 MHz
RAM: 768 MB (DDR SDRAM) (1 x 512, 1 x 256)
Video: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200, 128MB
Storage: Seagate (160 GB, 7200 RPM, Ultra-ATA/100)
Seagate (120 GB, 7200 RPM, Ultra-ATA/100)
LITE-ON LTR-52246S (52x/24x/52x CD-RW)

29-12-2004, 09:51 AM
I have had a few of those horrible IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL and DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL crashes and after the last one I allowed Windows to send a report to Microsoft. The result was a message that the cause was Outpost firewall and that there was a fix for it for Outpost Pro so if you have not done so I would recommend allowing Windows to send home an error report.

Although my crashes were much more frequent prior to installing SP2 (have only had one since reformatting and installing SP2 actually) I am wondering whether your problem is with SP2 and a software conflict between them?

If not, then I am afraid that I have no idea what your problem could be, sorry. You do have my sympathy though. :dogeye:

Speedy Gonzales
29-12-2004, 12:22 PM
1. Did u u scan for spyware, before installing SP2??

What drivers did u install for the videocard?? The 67.02/67/03 drivers??
from the Nvidia site?

You didnt install the videocard drivers, from windowsupdate did u??

Look in control panel/admin tools/event viewer. Whats it say here?

29-12-2004, 01:28 PM
The only time I've seen those errors were with a bad memory/bad motherboard combo.

But that was straight out of the box.

29-12-2004, 08:48 PM
Thanks for your suggestions so far.
What I did today was to go into the BIOS and reduce the CPU FSB clockspeed from 200mhz to 166mhz and then run this CPU burn-in program I've got, which runs the CPU at 100% to test stability. So instead of a 2.29 GHz machine I've now got a 1.91 GHz machine.
So far it hasn't crashed again, although the temps have only just creeped up to 52degC at 100% instead of 55degC as before.

Does this mean there is definitely something wrong with the CPU? Or could it still be the motherboard or something else causing the restarts?

It seems odd that the CPU runs fine at lower speeds but can no longer handle the speed it is supposed to do.

Any more suggestions would be gratefully appreciated. :)

29-12-2004, 09:08 PM
Any more suggestions would be gratefully appreciated. :)[/QUOTE]

Look at cooling.

The readings you are getting on temp are indications, unless you are using a pyrometer/thermocuple.

Is heatsink/fan still clean is/was paste used between h/s and CPU?

Are any of the fans getting tired.

This could also be component failure at high temp only, due to constant overheating.

Try redirecting cool air flow to memory and cpu and running at the originall speed.

However if any component has been over stressed it may now not be capable of the same sustained high load it was.

This is why used cpu and memory from home user machines is to be viewed with extreem suspicion and priced accordingly.