How to Fix a DPC Watchdog Violation in Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide

What is DPC Watchdog Violation?

DPC Watchdog Violation

A DPC Watchdog Violation is an error that occurs in Windows 10 when the operating system detects a problem related to Deferred Procedure Call (DPC) and Watchdog timer. These two components ensure your computer’s hardware and software work together efficiently. When Windows encounters an issue with DPC or Watchdog, it triggers the infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) to appear, displaying the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error.

The DPC is a mechanism that allows high-priority tasks to temporarily interrupt lower-priority tasks, ensuring that critical system operations run smoothly. The Watchdog timer monitors these DPCs to ensure they do not surpass a specific time limit, which may cause system instability.

Several factors can lead to a DPC Watchdog Violation. Some common causes include outdated, incorrect, or incompatible drivers, issues with your computer’s storage device (such as a Solid State Drive or SSD), or corrupted system files.

Understanding the root cause of the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error is essential in finding the right solution. In the following sections, you will learn about specific methods to fix this issue and prevent it from reoccurring. Remember to stay patient and follow the steps carefully to resolve the DPC Watchdog Violation error on your Windows 10 computer.

Causes Of DPC Watchdog Violation

Causes Of DPC Watchdog Violation

DPC Watchdog Violation errors occur due to incompatibilities between your PC’s hardware and software. Understanding these incompatibilities can help you address the issue effectively. This section will outline some common causes for DPC Watchdog Violation errors in Windows 10.

Outdated or Missing Drivers: One of the most common reasons for the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error is having incorrect or missing drivers. Having the latest drivers for your devices is essential for a smooth and stable system performance. It’s crucial to keep your drivers up-to-date, especially for components such as your SSD (solid-state drive) or external devices connected to your PC.

Hardware and Software Conflicts: Sometimes, the DPC Watchdog Violation error can be caused by conflicts between installed hardware and software. Check any recently installed hardware or software on your system, as they might be causing system instability.

SSD and SATA Controller Settings: In some cases, the DPC Watchdog Violation error can be related to the SATA controller settings in your system, particularly if you have an SSD. Ensuring that your SSD and SATA controller settings are correctly configured will help prevent this error.

Corrupted System Files: Errors in your system files can cause DPC Watchdog Violation and other blue screen errors. Running a system scan to check for corrupted or broken system files can help you identify and fix these issues.

Keep in mind that every system is unique, and the causes of a DPC Watchdog Violation error may vary between different systems. Addressing these common causes can help you diagnose and fix the issue, ultimately improving the stability of your Windows 10 machine.

Preliminary Steps

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Before diving into more advanced troubleshooting steps, it’s important to take some initial actions that may help fix the DPC Watchdog Violation. These preliminary measures resolve the issue easily, allowing you to continue using your Windows 10 device smoothly.

Disconnect external devices: Start by removing any external devices connected to your computer, such as printers, scanners, or portable hard drives. This helps eliminate potential compatibility issues that might be causing the DPC Watchdog Violation error.

Check for Windows updates: It’s important to always keep your operating system up-to-date. Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click on Check for updates. If any updates are available, install them and restart your computer.

Update your device drivers: Driver-related issues are a common cause of DPC Watchdog Violation. Ensure that all your device drivers are up-to-date by going to Device Manager and looking for any devices with a yellow exclamation mark. You can update drivers manually by right-clicking the device and selecting Update driver.

Run a system file check: Corrupted system files can also lead to DPC Watchdog Violation errors. To check for such issues, open the Command Prompt as an administrator and type sfc /scannow. Press Enter and wait for the process to complete. If any errors are found, the system will attempt to fix them.

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Once you’ve completed these preliminary steps, check to see if the DPC Watchdog Violation error has been resolved. If the issue persists, you can proceed with more advanced troubleshooting methods, such as modifying IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers settings or performing a system restore.

How To Update Drivers?

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Updating drivers is essential to maintaining optimal system performance and addressing potential issues such as DPC Watchdog Violation in Windows 10. In this section, we will discuss two primary methods for updating drivers: using Device Manager and the manufacturer’s website.

Updating Through Device Manager

Device Manager is a built-in Windows tool that provides an overview of your computer’s hardware and allows you to manage individual devices. Here’s how to update drivers through Device Manager:

  1. Press Windows Key + X and select Device Manager from the menu that appears.
  2. In the Device Manager window, locate the device you want to update. For example, if you suspect an outdated driver for your graphics card or storage controller, expand the appropriate category.
  3. Right-click on the device and select Update Driver from the context menu.
  4. Choose Search automatically for updated driver software. Windows will search for available updates and install them if found.

Remember that sometimes Device Manager does not detect the most recent driver versions. In this case, turn to the manufacturer’s website.

Updating Through Manufacturer’s Website

If you know the manufacturer of your device, you can visit their website to search for the latest driver updates. Here’s how to update drivers through the manufacturer’s website:

  1. Identify your device’s make and model. This information can be found on a sticker on the device, in the device manual, or in the “Properties” section of the device in Device Manager.
  2. Visit the official website of the device manufacturer. Navigate to their support or downloads section.
  3. Enter your device’s make and model into the search box, or locate your device using the provided categories or drop-down menus.
  4. Check for the most recent driver appropriate for your operating system (i.e., Windows 10) and download it.
  5. Install the downloaded driver by following the manufacturer’s instructions, contained in a readme file or displayed during the installation process.

Remember to restart your computer after updating your drivers. Updating drivers may help resolve the DPC Watchdog Violation issue and improve your system’s overall performance.

Checking Disk Errors

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A DPC Watchdog Violation in Windows 10 can sometimes be caused by disk errors or corruption on your hard drive. To fix these issues, you can perform disk error checking using the built-in Windows CHKDSK tool. This will help identify and resolve any errors or corrupted data on your hard drive.

Using Windows CHKDSK Tool

To use the CHKDSK tool, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin) from the menu. This opens the command prompt with administrative privileges.
  2. In the command prompt, type the following command and press Enter:
chkdsk C: /f /r
  • Replace C: with the letter of the drive you want to check.
  • The /f parameter tells CHKDSK to fix errors on the disk.
  • The /r parameter tells CHKDSK to locate bad sectors and recover readable information.
  1. If you see a message asking “Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)”, type Y and press Enter.
  2. Close the command prompt and restart your computer. CHKDSK will run automatically during the boot process and fix any identified issues.

Remember to be patient, as the CHKDSK tool might take a while to complete its work, depending on the size and state of your hard drive. Once the tool has completed its task, check if the DPC Watchdog Violation error is resolved. If the issue persists, you may need to try other troubleshooting methods such as updating drivers or performing a system restore.

Restoring System Settings

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Sometimes, a DPC Watchdog Violation error in Windows 10 may occur due to changes in your system settings or after a software installation. In such cases, restoring your system to a previous state can help resolve the issue.

Using System Restore Point

System Restore is a built-in feature in Windows 10 that allows you to revert your system settings to a previous state when your system was functioning well. To use System Restore, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel: Press the Windows key + S to open the search menu, and type “Control Panel” in the search box, then click on the result to launch the Control Panel.
  2. Access System Restore: In the Control Panel, click on “System and Security” and then select “System”. Look for “System Protection” on the left side panel and click on it.
  3. Create a Restore Point: If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to create a Restore Point right now, in case something goes wrong during the restore process. Click on “Create” and follow the instructions to establish a new Restore Point.
  4. Choose a Restore Point: After entering the System Restore window, click on “System Restore”, then “Next”. From the list of available Restore Points, choose one that was created before you started experiencing DPC Watchdog Violation errors, and click “Next”. If you don’t see any Restore Points, ensure that the “Show more restore points” checkbox is marked.
  5. Start the restoration process: Review your chosen Restore Point and confirm your decision by clicking “Finish”. Keep in mind that this process may take some time, and your computer will restart during the process. Ensure that you have saved any ongoing work and close all open applications as the system proceeds with the restoration.
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Once your system has been restored to the selected Restore Point, check if the DPC Watchdog Violation has been resolved. Remember to maintain a regular backup of your system and create Restore Points frequently to ensure you can quickly revert to a stable state if any issues arise in the future.

Checking For Windows Updates

Automatic Windows Update

Windows Update is an essential feature that helps you keep your system up-to-date with the latest security patches, bug fixes, and performance improvements. By default, Windows 10 automatically updates itself. However, it’s crucial to ensure that your system is set to receive updates automatically:

  1. Click the Start button and type Windows Update into the search box.
  2. Click on the Windows Update settings from the results.
  3. Under the Update settings section, click on Advanced options.
  4. Ensure that the toggle switch under Choose how updates are installed is set to Automatic (recommended).

With this setting enabled, your system will periodically check for updates and install them automatically in the background.

Manual Windows Update

In some cases, you may want to manually check for Windows updates to ensure that your system is running the latest patches. This can be helpful for troubleshooting and resolving issues like the DPC Watchdog Violation error. Follow these steps to check for updates manually:

  1. Click the Start button and type Windows Update into the search box.
  2. Click on the Windows Update settings from the results.
  3. In the Windows Update tab, click the Check for updates button.

Windows will now search for available updates and display them on the screen. If any updates are found, click Install now to start the installation process. After the updates are installed, it may require a system restart for the changes to take effect.

By regularly checking for Windows updates and ensuring your system is up-to-date, you can minimize the chances of encountering a DPC Watchdog Violation error.

Last Updated : 06 November, 2023

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