11 Ways to Fix DPC Watchdog Violation in Windows

The Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) is a common issue on Windows computers. Of all the BSoD errors, the one with the stop code DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error is more annoying than the rest. It can lock your computer and does not let you in. Imagine having to work with your PC and you are locked out of it.

It can be pretty frustrating. With this article, dedicated to fixing the DPC Watchdog Violation issue, you will know what to do if you are in this exact spot that has destroyed many an hour of productivity.

What is the DPC Watchdog Violation Error?

The Deferred Procedure Call (DPC) is a Windows feature that takes care of interruptions in the Operating System (OS). The main function of the DPC is to permit a task to start on your computer but it is not executed, because of a request from the highly prioritized interrupt request level (IRQL).

The DPC lets the needed driver organize the Interrupt Service Routine (ISR) fast, as it refers to the process of the lower-level IRQL codes being executed.

The Watchdog is a bug checker which helps supervise both the background and foreground processes on your computer.

The DPC Watchdog Violation error occurs when Watchdog has to wait for over 100 microseconds(ms) without a response. The error message comes up in the form of a Blue Screen of Death if there is no response from the bug checker.

What are the causes of the DPC Watchdog Violation Error?

  1. The driver could be old, corrupt, or absent. One of the most common causes for any issues on your computer is an incompetent driver. You can get rid of it or get an upgrade to stop the issue from coming from this source. For instance, the absence of the video card driver can cause the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION in your computer, when you run a video on your browser.
  2. The Operating System finds your hardware incompatible. Your OS may not support the hardware. This incompatibility can cause a number of issues regarding the software and the computer performance.
  3. The SSD firmware is out of date. The SSD drivers and the firmware need to be up to date. There are chances that the old firmware may become the reason this becomes the cause of this issue on your PC. 
  4. You could be having corrupt system files. Corrupt system files can be responsible for causing a number of antics on your computer. You may not be able to boot up properly.
  5. Two applications might be having problems with each other. Some software may not get along with the other programs on the computer. For instance, you can’t be running two antiviruses.

Locating the source of the DPC Watchdog Violation error

It can be easier to fix the issue if you find out where this issue comes from. You can find out what caused the DPC Watchdog Violation error and where it came from using the minidump file. The minidump is a report with the important details about a system crash. 

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The minidump is stored in C:\Windows\Minidump and is accessible through the Event Viewer, with the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the Start button or press the Windows key + X on your keyboard to bring up the Quick Link menu.
  2. Click on the Event Viewer option to open it.
  3. On the left pane, expand the Custom Views section and choose Administrative Events.
The Custom Views section in the Event Viewer
  1. In the Number of Events list, locate the BSoD that you wish to see the details of.
The list of Events in the Event Viewer
  1. Click on it and then press the Details tab to view all the information about it.
The Details tab in Event Viewer
  1. Note the Event ID down and run a search of it on the internet.

Each Event ID code is a unique identification of a problem. The internet has a lot of forums and communities that will give you more information about the error. 

Methods to fix the DPC Watchdog Violation error

The DPC_Watchdog_Violation blue screen error might appear to be scary. If you were to face this specific stop code error, these are the steps you can undertake:

  1. Disconnect External Devices attached to the Computer
  2. Update your SSD’s firmware
  3. Supplant the iaStorA.sys with the Storahci.sys
  4. Run a Check Disk scan (CHKDSK) 
  5. Perform a System File Check (SFC scan)
  6. Repair the system image files via DISM
  7. Download OS updates 
  8. Uninstall Recently Installed Applications
  9. Scan the PC completely
  10. Troubleshoot the Blue Screen error
  11. Reset the Computer

Fix DPC Watchdog violation error on Windows 10

These are the procedures that can help you fix the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error.

1. Disconnect External Devices attached to the Computer

The presence of devices like printers, external storage devices, HDMI cables, and game controllers in the ports of the computer is one of the reasons why the DPC Watchdog violation error occurs on your computer.

Remove all of these from their ports and keep only the keyboard and mouse. Now, check to see if the problem exists. If it does not, it means that the problem was caused by the devices that were attached. If you wish to know which device was responsible you can connect them one after another and see which causes the issue. 

Sometimes, the cables on your device may not be connected properly and the DPC Watchdog Violation can come up. If the disk cables are loose, there is a likelihood that the disk goes undetected by the computer, causing it to crash and throw this error at you. Make sure every cable is connected correctly to avoid such errors.

If this does not work, we recommend keeping the devices disconnected while you try out the other fixes to rectify this error. 

2. Update your SSD’s firmware

If your SSD is old or incompatible with the Operating System, it may become the reason why the DPC Watchdog Violation error appears on your computer. Updating it is the only solution in this situation.

Here’s how you can update the SSD firmware:

  1. Press the Windows + X key together for the Quick Link menu to come up from the Start menu. 
  2. Choose Device Manager to open the window. 
Device Manager option in Quick Link menu
  1. Press the section named Disk Drives to expand it into the list of the storage drives attached to your computer.
The SSD model name in the Device Manager
  1. Jot down the SSD’s model number.
  2. Use the model number to search for a new firmware version on the manufacturer’s website.
  3. Download the firmware update from the manufacturer’s website and install it. 

3. Supplant the iaStorAC.sys with the Storahci.sys

  1. Launch the Device Manager through the search bar or by selecting it in the Quick Link menu (Windows + X).
  2. Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers section into a list of the storage drivers, by clicking on it.
The IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers section in Device Manager
  1. One driver will have the term SATA AHCI controller in the name. Right-click on the SATA AHCI controller and click Properties to open the driver properties.
Properties option for the SSD
  1. Go to the Driver tab and click on the Driver Details button. Make sure that the iaStorA.sys is listed and click Ok to close the details dialog box. 
The Driver tab in SATA AHCI controller properties and the Driver Details window
  1. In the properties window, choose Update Driver
  2. When the driver update window appears, follow this path in it:

Browse my computer for driver software option > Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer option > Standard SATA AHCI Controller

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The Steps in the Driver updating process
  1. Select Standard SATA AHCI controller and then choose Next.
The Driver update device selection window
  1. Click on the Close button.
  2. After the operation is complete, restart your computer. 

4. Run a Check Disk scan (CHKDSK)

The Check Disk or Disk Checker scan is used to verify the integrity of the files and fix them. There is a chance for the DPC Watchdog Violation error to be caused by damaged files. If they are accountable, a CHKDSK scan run through the command prompt will help.

These are your steps to scan for corrupt files on your system:

  1. Open Command Prompt by searching for it in the search bar and choosing Run as Administrator
  2. In the script window, enter the following command and press the enter key.

chkdsk “disk letter”: /f /r /x

chkdsk c: /f /r /x command line
  1. The window will ask if you wish to arrange a scan when the system restarts the next time. Press Y and hit the Enter key.
  2. Restart your computer. This will trigger the scan and the files will be scanned thoroughly.

You have to enter the name of the disk partition, in the place of the “disk letter”. If you wish to scan the C:/ hard drive partition, your command should be “chkdsk c: /f /r /x”. This command, when executed, will run scans for hardware and software issues, detects them, and repairs them, in order to protect your disk.

5. Perform a System File Check (SFC scan)

The System File Checker (SFC) is a tool that can be used to scan the computer for corrupt files and restore the safe versions of them.

These are the steps to run this tool:

  1. Launch the Command Prompt tool as the system administrator. Search for command prompt or cmd and select Run as Administrator from the results.
  2. Type in this command and press Enter on your keyboard:

sfc /scannow

sfc /scannow issue

The SFC scan will take some time to finish. After it finishes, your computer will be rid of all damaged files. 

6. Repair the system image files via DISM

The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command can be used to restore files that are corrupt or missing from your system. This can be used to fix DPC Watchdog Violation on your Windows system.

  1. Launch the command prompt window with administrator privileges. This means that you can make integral changes in the Windows OS on your computer.
  2. Type in these commands and execute them one at a time, by pressing the Enter key after each command:
    1. DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth 
DISM command line for detecting corrupt files

This command checks for problems.

  1. DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
Command line for fixing detected corrupt files

This command repairs the problems detected by the previous command line.

7. Download Windows OS updates

A new version of the Windows Operating System may contain the fix to the DPC Watchdog violation. Even if it does not, it is best to keep the IS updated. 

  1. Open the Windows Settings through the Start menu or the shortcut (Windows + I keys).
  2. Go into the Updates & Security settings.
  3. In the Windows Update tab on the left panel, press the Check for Updates button. 
  4. If there are pending updates, click on Download and Install. 
Windows Update page in Windows Settings
  1. Restart the computer to begin the installation.

You will need a good internet connection to download the updates.

8. Uninstall Recently Installed Applications

Newly installed software may not get along with the hardware or other software and cause the DPC Watchdog Violation. You can fix this by removing them from your PC.

  1. Click on the Start menu and type “Add or Remove Programs”.
Search Result for Add or Remove Programs
  1. Open the first result and you will see a list of all the programs on your PC.
List of Applications on a computer
  1. Find the program which you think is causing the DPC Watchdog violation.
  2. Tap the application in the list and choose Uninstall to bring up the app’s uninstall wizard.
Uninstall button for Among Us in the Add or Remove Programs window

9. Scan the PC completely

A system scan can help you resolve the DPC Watchdog Violation by removing unwanted files from your system. If you have an antivirus, you can use it to perform a full system scan. If you do not have an antivirus, you use the Windows Security settings to scan the PC.

Follow these steps:

  1. In the search box in the taskbar, type in Windows Security and launch the best result.
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Search Result for Windows Securities
  1. As a substitute method, you can also open the Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Security tab > Open Windows Security.
Windows Security Page in Settings
  1. Click on the Virus & Threat Protection option on the left.
  2. Open the Scan options link and click on the Full scan radio circle.
  3. Press the Scan Now button to initiate the scan.

The duration of the scan depends on the number of files you have on your computer.

10. Troubleshoot the Blue Screen error

Troubleshooting the issue can not only find the issue but also fix it in most cases. Most aspects of the computer have a dedicated troubleshooter.

These are the steps you need to follow in order to troubleshoot the DPC Watchdog Violation crash:

  1. Press the Windows key + I to bring up the Windows Settings. You can also open the Start menu and choose Settings from the left panel.
Settings button in the Start menu
  1. Go into the Update & Security settings
The Update & Security tile in Settings
  1. Open the Troubleshoot tab from the list on the left.
Troubleshoot page in the Settings
  1. Select the Blue Screen menu. There are chances that you will not be able to see this option. 
  2. If you cannot see it, open the Additional Troubleshooter link below. You should be able to find it under the Find and Fix other problems category.
  3. Expand the Blue Screen section and choose Run the troubleshooter.
  4. Once the Troubleshooter window opens, do as the troubleshooter instructs and choose the options which you find apt for your system.

Once the troubleshooting is complete, you should be able to see the issue. It will be fixed by the system itself. 

Note: You may not be able to see the Blue Screen option in the Troubleshoot Settings’ main page if the diagnostic data of your system is not shared with Microsoft. This will also not appear on any of the pages in the Troubleshoot settings if the Windows Online Troubleshooting service is disabled on your computer.

11. Reset the Computer

Do not resort to resetting the computer until you are sure that all of the above methods did not work and you have cloud storage or an external storage unit to back up your data to. 

These are your steps to reset your Windows 10 PC:

  1. Bring up the Start menu by pressing the Windows key or by clicking on the Start button. 
  2. Click on the Settings cog icon on the left panel. This will launch the Windows Settings.
  3. Go into the Update & Security tile.
  4. From the left pane, choose Recovery.
Recovery page in Settings
  1. In the section named Reset this PC, click on the Get Started button to start the resetting process.
  2. A dialog box opens, asking you if you want to keep the data or delete them when the reset takes place. Choose your option.
Choose an option for Resetting the PC

This will take a lot of time and you have to be patient while the computer, resets itself and re-installs the OS.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Microsoft watchdog?

Microsoft Watchdog is a feature that resets the computer when software or hardware malfunctions. This is a guardian for software failures.

What is stop code clock watchdog timeout?

The stop code CLOCK_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT is a Windows 10 blue screen error (BSoD) that occurs when the processor fails to stop programs from interrupting system processes.

What is critical process died error Windows 10?

The Critical Process Died error is a Windows 10 error that occurs when a change in the system files’ data is detected by the critical components of the system.

What causes PDC watchdog timeout?

When a Windows 10 feature does not respond within a specific period of time, you see the PDC_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT error. This error appears because of old SSD versions, an outdated SSD driver, or damaged system files.

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