Random BSOD "driver irql not less or equal" when playing games

By tmw ยท 13 replies
Jun 6, 2009
  1. Hi.

    While playing certain games, more specifically 'The Sims 3' which I bought only yesterday, I often receive the above error - driver irql not less or equal - and the BSOD. This has happened both before and after installing "Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family" latest drivers both from Windows Update and from the Intel website.

    I am running 1.86ghz dual core, 3gb RAM on Vista Home Premium SP2 (although the error has olso occured playing Civ 4 before installing SP2.)

    I have even tried running the game in 'windowed' mode on 800x600 resolution, and with the windows classic theme enabled, but the game still seems to want to crash.

    I am by no means a technophobe (lol) and I am quite willing to tinker in order to solve the problem, but I am at a loss as to what to do next.

    All replies would be appreciated.

    Kind regards,

  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Sounds like a video driver issue. Your particular error is driver related. Go instead to your laptop manufacturer's website, find your particular model, and update from their website instead.
  3. tmw

    tmw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I will certainly try those things thank you.

    As it happens, it seemd to play OK this afternoon, but that was on the lowest possible GX settings, and I tried to incrementally increase things such as the texture detail and at the first attempt the program closed after not even 5 mins.

    Although (please bear with the explanation, I'm trying to make sure I'm understood lol) I read something somewhere that said about how high use of the CPU and the GX card can use a lot of electricity, causing the power to fail. So after reading this I poked around with the power options in Vista and set the 'Processor Power Management Maximum' setting to 50% hoping this would stop the CPU from being overworked.

    When I looked under Task Manager this seemed to have no effect on the CPU however when playing the game it did not crash once when on the lowest setting, so I thought this may have been successful, but again when increasing the GX level, the game soon crashed.

    Any advice on if anything I tried would have helped or not? I will try the solution posted here.

    Thanks a lot for a quick reply. I will tell about what happens. Thanks again.
  4. tmw

    tmw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have followed the instructions I received via email. Strangely enough when running both driver cleaning programs I found remains of both ATI and Nvidia drivers :suspiciou but they are now long gone and I did a clean install of the Intel drivers that I downloaded from the official Acer site.

    I shall see how things go, hopefully with more success!

    Thanks for the help, will post back.
  5. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Left over drivers can cause all kinds of conflicts including system crashes because they "compete" with the new drivers.

    Many times a clean uninstall is not a clean uninstall.

    Sounds like you've gained stability. Let us know in the near future if it continues to work for you (or if not).
  6. tmw

    tmw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Things seemd to be going ok until this afternoon, I was even playing with medium GX, then I got another BSOD and the error messgae was the following

    "an attempt was made to write to read only memory" involving the file 'win32k.sys'

    So I don't know what this involves.

    Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
  7. tmw

    tmw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have managed to locate the last 2 of my mini dumps, the latest of which was the 'win32k.sys' error. Please could someone read these for me and help out as I don't know hou to use these files at all.

    From using google my guess woud be a RAM fault but I sincerely hope not as sending my laptop away is a last resort

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again in advance.
  8. tmw

    tmw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    "driver irql not less or equal" message returned, have attached another mini dump file
  9. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Your 0xA minidump specifically cited memory corruption as the cause of your crashes. Therefore you'll need to run Memtest on your RAM. Do not run it for less than 7 Passes. Start it before going to bed and check it the next morning. If you have any errors you have corrupted memory that needs to be replaced.

    See this link and follow instructions: https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic62524.html

    * Get back to us with the results.
  10. tmw

    tmw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It does appear that I have a RAM fault indeed, and now the laptop refuses to turn on most of the time so I have arrived at my last resort and posted it back to Acer. It is still under warranty so they have said they will replace it. DHL will be picking it up tomorrow morning and I will be without it for 5-10 working days.

    Thanks again for everyones time and effort.
  11. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Good to hear it is still under warrenty and that RAM was the cause because it is one of the simplest things to fix. And thanks for getting back to us. Let us know in the near future when you get your system back if you regained stability.
  12. tmw

    tmw TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I got into contact with Acer and asked for the laptop to be repaired. I phoned up and got through after a few minutes, and they agreed to repair it without any hassle. The laptop was collected the next day by DHL, was repaired and I was back using it with 4 days. All free of charge.

    Very satisfied with the customer service, and it appears to be fully working now. I was told the entire "main board" was replaced, as with a laptop everything is integrated isnt it.

    Thank you for everyones help, I'm back up and running now :grinthumb
  13. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Glad to hear this! And we appreciate the feedback. So if I read you correctly Acer determined it was the motherboard itself or do you feel it was more a future proof move on their part? Certainly a new motherboard is nice!
  14. tmw

    tmw TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm not really sure, all I know is what it said on the letter, it said,

    "replaced the main board"

    So I don't know whether it was future proofing or simply because everything on a laptop os integrated so it was simply easier to replace everthing rather than test each individual component. I'm not sure. I ddin't really get much of an explanation so really thats the best I can give you.

    At least they replaced it eh like you said. And there was no hassle and it was quick and easy. Really good customer service, I didn't even have to wait long on the phone.
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