Fix: DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL (storahci.sys) on Windows 10

Storahci.sys is the name of a .sys (system) file that is used by the Microsoft AHCI controller. .sys files come as a part of the Windows operating system, and are usually either critical system files, or device drivers. Storahci.sys is a generic controller that comes bundled with whichever version of Windows you are using. For the optimal experience, however, it would be best that you install the AHCI controller driver from the appropriate chipset that you are currently using in your system (Intel, nVIDIA, AMD).

The DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL (storahci.sys) issue commonly comes with a system crash, and it may even bring along the notorious BSOD. The main cause of this problem is either a recent hardware change, a lack of device drivers, or a failure of communication between the software and hardware of your computer. It is commonly known to appear when upgrading to Windows 10 from earlier versions of Windows, however it can also appear when you’ve changed some of your hardware, such as your storage drive.

There are a couple of solutions that can help you fix this problem, and we’re going to detail them in this article in order to help you solve your problem with methods that have worked for a number of users so far.

Method 1: Disconnect any non-essential computer peripherals when installing

Since the release of Windows 10, the operating system has been plagued with a number of strange problems that come with even stranger fixes, and although this is one of them, it has been proven to work for a number of users. This method, however, applies when you’re installing Windows 10 and you get the aforementioned error during setup. What you can do is disconnect any non-essential peripherals during the setup.

This includes any storage devices such as additional SSDs and HDDs, and CD/DVD drives. The reason behind this is that the AHCI controller tends to get confused when you have multiple storage locations during setup, which might result in this error.

The method is as simple as unplugging the storage devices you don’t need, but be careful not to unplug the SSD/HDD that you’re installing the operating system on. When you’re done, the only storage device you need to have connected to your computer is the one that you’re installing the operating system on.

For a desktop computer, this is fairly easy. Open the side panel of your computer. See how many hard drives and optical drives you have connected, and identify the one that you will be installing Windows on. Follow the cables of the remaining ones, and unplug them from the ports on the motherboard. If you have a laptop, however, this might require taking it apart and if you aren’t completely sure what you’re doing, find someone who is and have them do this for you. Some laptops offer a separate cover that holds the storage devices – this can be often taken off with a few screws and it gives you access to the storage devices. Others, however, need to be completely taken apart and this shouldn’t be attempted by anyone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Again, once you have access to the storage devices, disconnect the ones that you won’t be needing, to avoid confusing the AHCI driver. You can then begin installing Windows 10 on the SSD/HDD of choice.

Method 2: Check the AHCI controller driver and install an appropriate one

Since, as we mentioned earlier, this is most often a driver issue, and you can try fixing it by updating the appropriate AHCI controller driver. The choice is either an Intel or an AMD driver, and which one you install depends on which chipset you are using. The method to check this is fairly easy:

Hold the Windows Key and Press R. Type msinfo32 and Click OK. And look at the Processor field.

This should give you an idea about the Processor you have and the driver’s you should seek.


If you have an Intel processor and chipset, you need Intel’s AHCI driver, or, more specifically, the Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver. You can get this from Intel’s website, where you can download the correct version for your operating system. Once you’ve downloaded it, the installation process is fairly straightforward. You should reboot your system afterwards and it should all work great.


For those who have an AMD chipset, the appropriate AHCI driver can be found on AMD’s website, where you will find an automatic scanner. Download and install it, and it will tell you which drivers your specific system needs, as well as download and install them for you, saving you a lot of time in the process.


Method 3: Run Windows Updates

Windows Update is no longer only a method of updating the operating system, but it also checks your entire system for any missing drivers and it downloads and installs them for you. This has turned into a very useful tool for anyone who would rather avoid the hassle of searching for and installing every driver by themselves. If you can boot into Windows 10 despite the issue, somehow then run Windows Updates.

Click Start -> type Windows Update and choose Check for Updates. If there are any updates available, install them and then reboot the PC and test.


Method 4: Perform a clean installation of Windows 10

If all else fails, what you’re left with is to perform a clean installation of Windows 10. While this might sound hard and troublesome for you, you can follow our guide on how to perform a clean installation of Windows 10.

Whilst you do this, you do not need to you can skip the prompts for entering the product key because when you upgrade to Windows 10 from a Windows 8 or 7, the 10 thing ties itself with the hardware and your Microsoft ID. So as soon as you will login it will activate itself. However, whilst doing this make sure you do not connect any external devices or peripherals. Once you’ve reinstalled Windows, run Windows updates so only the essential drivers are updated. Run your system for a day or two and then start adding peripherals and devices one by one to re-assess.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.