How to fix the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error in Windows 11

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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  • The DPC_Watchdog_Violation Windows 11 BSOD error can occur because of incompatible hardware, iaStorA.sys driver files, and software conflicts between programs.
  • Some users have fixed the problem by simply installing a Storahci.sys driver file.
  • Windows 11’s system file and disk-scanning command-line tools can come in handy for fixing the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error and other BSOD issues.
  • Disconnecting incompatible hardware and removing conflicting software might also solve this Black Screen of Death error.
whea error black screen whea_uncorrectable_error windows 11

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The DPC_Watchdog_Violation error is another of those scary BSOD issues. Some users contacted us about that error occurring within Windows 11.

In this OS, the Watchdog_Violation error is a Black Screen of Death, which is the same as a blue screen issue. When the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error arises in Windows 11, a black screen appears with a 0x00000133 stop code.

The error can occur quite randomly or when users utilize certain software. Like any BSOD error, it forces PCs to restart whenever it happens. That’s precisely what Windows 10 users claimed too when encountering the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error.

If you’re among those who need to resolve that error in Windows 11, the potential resolutions below might help you fix it.

What are the causes behind the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error?

This error occurs when the DPC (Deferred Procedure Call) runs longer than it should do. Then the Watchdog bug checker has to wait too long for a DPC response, which triggers the DPC_Watchdog_Violation BSOD error.

This issue often arises on PCs with SSD storage. When Microsoft first rolled out Windows 10, this error was prevalent because SSD drive manufacturers needed to release updated drivers or firmware for the latest OS. So, it’s not that surprising the same issue is now arising for Windows 11.

However, this error doesn’t just occur on computers with solid-state drive storage. It can be related to corrupted system files, incompatible external hardware, and software conflicts.

Another widely cited cause is an incompatible SATA AHCI driver file. For more details, check out what can cause a Blue Screen of Death.

How can I fix Windows 11’s DPC_Watchdog_Violation error?

1. Unplug external hardware devices

An external drive dpc watchdog violation windows 11

First, try plugging any non-essential external hardware from your PC, such as printers, game controllers, and external USB storage devices. You can keep your mouse and keyboard plugged in, but unplug anything else.

Does the error continue to occur when you’ve disconnected external hardware? If not, one of the previously connected peripheral devices is probably incompatible with your PC.

Try re-connecting one device at a time to discover what one is incompatible. Updating an external device’s driver might fix its compatibility with the computer.

2. Run a System File Checker scan

  1. Bring up the search box, which has a handy Windows key + S hotkey.
  2. To find the Command Prompt, type cmd within the search box.
  3. Right-click the Command Prompt search result to select a Run as administrator context menu option.
  4. Input this command and press Enter: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  5. To run a file scan, enter this SFC command and press Return: sfc /scannow
    The sfc command dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  6. Wait until the SFC scan has reached the 100 percent mark and displayed an outcome within the Prompt’s window.

3. Run a CHKDSK disk scan

  1. Open the Command Prompt as outlined in the first three steps of the first resolution.
  2. Type in this command and press Enter: chkdsk c: /f /r /x
    Chkdsk scan dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  3. Press Y and Enter to confirm.
  4. Thereafter, select the Power and Restart options on Windows 11’s Start menu.

4. Replace the SATA AHCI device’s driver file

  1. First, right-click the Start menu taskbar icon and select Device Manager’s shortcut.
    Device Manager dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  2. Double-click IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers to extend that category.
  3. Then double-click Standard SATA AHCI Controller, and click the window’s Driver tab.
  4. Press the Driver Details button.
    Driver Details button dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  5. If the Driver File Details window shows the device has an iaStorA.sys file, you’ll need to change than to a Storahci.Sys one. Click OK to close the window.
    Driver File Details window dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  6. Press the Update Driver button on the Driver tab.
  7. Click the Browse my computer for drivers option.
    Browse my computer for drivers option dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  8. Select the Let me pick from a list of available drivers option.
    Let me pick from a list of available drivers option dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  9. Then select the Standard SATA AHCI Controller within the selection box, and click the Next button.
  10. Thereafter, restart your desktop or laptop.

5. Update the firmware for your PC’s SSD

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If your PC has a solid-state drive, try updating its firmware. To do so, open the manufacturer’s website for your solid-state drive. Then download the latest firmware for your drive from the driver & firmware download section of that website.

To find model details for your SSD drive, simply open the Disk Drive category within Device Manager. Your PC’s SSD drive will be listed there with its full model number. Enter the model name for your SSD in the search box on its manufacturer’s website to find it there.

Alternatively, you can utilize third-party driver updater software to update an SDD’s driver like DriverFix. A driver updater will scan your PC’s devices to show you what ones have outdated drivers. Then you can download and install new drivers by clicking the appropriate option.

6. Choose an appropriate restore point

  1. Right-click Start to select the Run accessory shortcut.
  2. Type this text in Run’s Open box: rstrui
  3. Click OK to bring up System Restore.
  4. Select the Choose a different restore point option, and click Next to continue.
    Choose a different restore point option dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  5. If there’s a Show more restore points checkbox available, select that option.
  6. Choose a restore point that will restore Windows 11 to a date that predates the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error on your computer. Or simply select the oldest restore point date available.
    System Restore window dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  7. Select Next and Finish to roll back Windows 11 to the chosen restoration point.

Rolling back Windows 11 will uninstall software installed after the chosen date. The software this system restoration removes might have been causing the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error.

You can check what software gets removed by clicking System Restore’s Scan for affected programs button. If you haven’t enabled System Restore, try manually uninstalling some recently installed software via Programs and Features.

7. Reset Windows 11

Note icon
Resetting Windows 11 will restore your PC to its default settings and remove all third-party software that didn’t come pre-installed with it. As you’ll need to reinstall software afterward, a system reset is recommended as a last resort resolution.

  1. First, click Start to open the menu.
  2. Select the pinned Settings shortcut.
    The Settings app dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  3. Click the Recovery navigation option.
    Recovery navigation option dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  4. Press the Reset PC button to open its utility.
  5. Next, select the Keep my Files option (if you prefer to retain your user files).
    Keep my files button dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  6. Choose either the Cloud download or Local reinstall option.
  7. Press the Next button, and click Reset to confirm.

How can I troubleshoot BSOD errors in Safe Mode?

If you can’t log in to Windows 11 because of the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error, try applying the above resolutions in Safe Mode. That’s a special Windows-troubleshooting mode for which only a minimal set of essential drivers and system services are enabled.

First, you’ll need to enter WindowsRE (recovery environment) by hard-booting your PC three consecutive times during the system startup.

Press and hold the Power button for five to 10 seconds at the Windows logo to hard reboot. Then you can activate Safe Mode in WindowsRE as follows:

  1. First, select troubleshoot with your keyboard and press Enter.
    Troubleshoot option dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  2. Choose Advanced options to bring up that menu.
  3. Then select Start-up Repair on the Advanced options menu.
    Start-up Repair option dpc watchdog violation windows 11
  4. Press the Reset button to reboot.
  5. Select the Restart option.
  6. Thereafter, press the F5 key to select Safe Mode with Networking.

The DPC_Watchdog_Violation error is one of the more commonly reported BSOD errors for Windows. However, many users have been able to fix that issue by applying the potential resolutions above.

Yet, we can’t promise those solutions will be enough to eliminate the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error for all users. Those who still need further resolutions can check out Microsoft’s blue screen troubleshooter. That troubleshooting webpage includes more potential fixes for the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error.

Even more, see this guide on how to fix laptop crashes when turning on Wi-Fi. This is related to the same error and the solutions here detailed may be applied by Windows 11 users as well.

You can also discuss the DPC_Watchdog_Violation error in more detail within the comments section below. If you’ve discovered another way to solve the issue, which isn’t cited above, feel free to share your resolution below.

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