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Unable to start in normal mode--IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL error

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Last Modified: 2013-11-13
My trouble started when I got an about:blank virus on my computer. McAfee caught the virus, but couldn't delete all the files. I looked on the McAfee website and it told me to turn off the system restore capability and run again and it was able to delete the files in safe mode (they were in folder 1024 of the system 32 folder). However, at this point, my computer started crashing on startup and could only be started in safe mode. The error is the IRQL error, with the following numbers


I can't restore the system because I turned that off. Incidentally, that didn't get rid of the viurs but I ran the online scan from Trend Micro and it cleaned it right up. Does anyone know how I can fix this?

Thanks for any help!
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Software Engineer
Hi thomapg5,

Try the instructions here.......


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Pull the drive out of the system, find another with XP running with McAfee, install this drive temporarily in place of the CD ROM (can stay master, as it is on secondary controller) and boot the good system and purge the drive of everything that relates to the virus (McAfee site tells you file names or types).  Then put back into original system, boot from windows CD, and go thorugh CD as if you install windows again, but at the screen where it finds an existing windows install, then press R to repair.  This will copy back the original files that were corrupted by the virus.  You will have to reapply all services packs after this.  It is big hassle, that is why you should not turn off system restore on boot drive, if you left it on, it would have saved you several hours of much hassle.  I do this kind of thing all the time, it works.  Good luck.
Distinguished Expert 2019

i would run a ram test too : memtest86+ from   http://www.memtest.org/      

can you boot to safemode again?
or the advanced options and choose last known good config that worked.

also in safemode check your boot.ini   sometimes a bad shutdown changes the boot.ini
r/click my computer properties advanced start up and recovery settings edit.
also in control panel administrative tools event viewer applications what errors are in there.
check the devices for any yellow question marks.
Roll back any drivers you recently installed.



I can boot to safemode and all my programs work fine. Haven't recently installed drivers. It looks like I will have to do the Windows reinstall. What is the risk to my other files with that procedure (I will obviously backup, but I'm just curious).

Distinguished Expert 2019

if your problem is not solved, why did you accept an answer yet?
Hello thomapg5
How to: Repair Windows XP/2000 if you are unable to boot into Windows.

Is your system unable to boot into Windows XP/2000 or even Safe Mode? Whether you get a blue screen or XP/2000 just hangs, then this information is for you. This will allow you to repair your Windows XP/2000 installation (hopefully) without having to losing your data or settings.

Good Luck Merete


Okay, I've gone through the windows reinstall and it all worked beautifully. Then I started reinstalling the updates (now in Normal mode) got through a bunch of the early ones, then came to Service Pack 2. Service Pack 2 installed "succesfully" but now I can't connect to the internet. It said the network would no longer assign a network address to the computer (its just my open ethernet network at work). I tried connecting to the work wireless network and windows no longer could find the wireless connection software.
awe fix one created another, was the internet working before installing xpsp2?
The process of removing certain malware may kill your internet connection.
If this should occur, these programs, LSPFIX and WINSOCKFIX, will enable you
to regain your connection.
NOTE: It is reported that in XP SP2, the Run command

netsh winsock reset

will fix this problem without the need for these programs. (You can also try
this if you're on XP SP1. There has also been one, as yet unconfirmed,
report that this also works there.) Also, one MS technician suggested the
following sequence:

netsh int reset all
ipconfig /flushdns

See also: [url]http://windowsxp.mvps.org/winsock.htm[/url] for additional XPSP2
info/approaches using the netsh command.

An alternative approach with necessary .reg files which will often work even
when the above doesn't is defined here, courtesy of Bob Cerelli:
[url]http://www.onecomputerguy.com/ie_tips.htm#winsock_fix[/url] Recommended.

for Win2k/XP
Info and download here: [url]http://www.spychecker.com/program/winsockxpfix.html[/url]
Directions here: [url]http://www.iup.edu/house/resnet/winfix.shtm[/url]

 could you please supply the specs of your internet setup there, dial up? dsl? lan? domain? single computer?
firewalls? what anti virus.
Are you still running mcfee?
With this information we can provide more precise help.

If you dont feel ready to tackle xpsp2 you could uninstall for it now from add remove programs in control panel
As this is a recent install it should not have any adverse affect on your system, but you will have to check for updates again for xpsp1.


you people are amazing. this has saved me so much time and effort, everything seems to be working, but i'll finish installing the updates make sure.

using the "netsh winsock reset" command and a reboot completely sorted the internet connectivity problem.

thanks again

its always such a good feeling when we can help out.

as you are new to EE thomapg5 and it sounds like you have solved your problem please  accept the answer by clicking on the name of the expert that helped you. which I think should be my name since  I suggested the final "netsh winsock reset"
regards Merete

Distinguished Expert 2019

if you think more than one helped you out, choose the split points option

thanks Nobus I did start to type in that but wasnt sure how they go about splitting points as I dont use it :)


Tried to split the points up relatively rationally. The link in the first answer was what I used to do the major fix, though other's comments were informative in that regard. The internet connectivity fix was based entirely on the "winsock reset" command answer. Thanks again for everyone's efforts!
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