IRQL Not Less or Equal

By MonkeyforaHead
Oct 16, 2005
  1. Whoo, where to start. I've had this computer for a good while, and it's always had this stupid problem that crops up when playing games that make use of hardware acceleration. Computer came with 98SE, which would lock up every now and then, completely at random, while I was playing a game. Discovered after a couple OS reinstalls that if I just kept the original graphics card driver, stability would be much improved, though still far from perfect. Specs:

    AMD Athlon 900 MHz
    384 MB SDRAM
    nVidia Riva TNT2 Pro AGP (32 MB)

    All the obvious stuff hadn't worked, updating DirectX, making sure I had all the latest OS patches and such... so then I eventually went out and got an ATI Radeon 9200 (128 MB) to replace the nVidia card with. Ran things beautifully faster, but would still lock up every now and then in the exact same fashion.

    Then, several months back, I finally decided to get XP (Pro) and installed it on this. Being a relatively careful sort, I decided not to "upgrade" my existing 98SE installation, but rather break off 14 GB from the 60-GB HD and format it into a new partition for XP. So now I've still got 98SE on C:, and XP is on D: (which I've already been thankful for numerous times).

    Installation of XP went fine, but on my very first try to start it up, it froze at the black screen with the XP logo and the loading bar. Tried a second time, it started up and all was well, until I discovered that, at any moment whatsoever, playing games or not (although playing games certainly increases the frequency quite a bit), I could be struck by an IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error. Don't you just hate all-purpose descriptors? Apparently Microsoft doesn't. Also, XP will always freeze during that loading screen anywhere from 1 to 8 times before it'll boot up on a consequent attempt. Typically only 1 or 2 times if I first boot into 98SE and let it run for a bit, before switching over to XP. Yeah, it seems to want to let the computer warm up a bit before it'll work. Weird.

    So anyway, I'm finally fed up with it. I've tried everything I could think of, and all I've really discovered is that it's not bad RAM, and I may have an IRQ conflict. All the following devices are sharing IRQ 09 (in XP):

    RADEON 9200 [the display adapter]
    Lucent V90 WildWire Modem [which I've since disabled, seeing as I don't use it]
    HP EN1207D-TX PCI 10/100 Fast Ethernet Adapter [my 'net connection, from what I can tell]
    Creative AudioPCI (ES1371, ES1373) (WDM)
    Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System
    VIA Rev 5 or later USB Universal Host Controller

    In 98SE, the Radeon has the same IRQ as the Lucent V90 WildWire Modem (11), and the HP Ethernet Adapter is on the sasme IRQ as the USB (5).

    I've noticed that whenever I get the IRQL error, it tends to be accompanied by a random .dll or .sys that belongs to either the graphics card or the USB. So yeah, I'm thinking IRQ conflict, particularly as the Radeon is an AGP device and not a PCI one.

    My next plan is to reinstall XP with a "Standard PC" ACPI and manually reassign the IRQs, so I'm just checking to see if anyone thinks it's anything else obvious before I go ahead.

    Edit: Quite frankly, I haven't the faintest idea what these minidump things are, and contrary to what the sticky thread says, I don't appear to have a \minidumps directory of any kind in the Windows folder, so I wouldn't know how to attach any for inspection...
  2. cpc2004

    cpc2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,994

  3. meatologist

    meatologist TS Rookie Posts: 134

    The problem of XP booting and then hanging at the Windows XP logo with the progress bar thing... that happened to me - for MONTHS.

    The problem was that I had 2 CD drives on 1 IDE cable. As soon as I unplugged one of the drives, it booted first time and has done ever since.

    The drive that was causing me a problem was a Creative CD-RW - I figured I didnt need it anyway, as the other drive was a DVD-RW - and balls to on-the-fly copying.

    Not sure if this will help - but you never know !

  4. MonkeyforaHead

    MonkeyforaHead TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Odd, I've heard several accounts of people who had an AGP device sharing an IRQ with multiple PCI devices in XP, who then reinstalled XP with ACPI disabled so they could manually reassign IRQs, and it fixed their problem.

    And I didn't understand a word of that Understanding IRQL link. I'm relatively computer savvy, but that kind of tech chatter is just beyond my scope of comprehension. :p

    As for the two drives being hooked up to one cable, that's a distinct possibility. I'll crack this thing open and have a look as soon as I get the opportunity.
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