Fix DPC Watchdog Violation error in Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • The DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error is caused by a hardware component, its driver, or a software program.
  • Most often, the hardware component in question is a disk drive, and Windows crashes. 
  • First, check your data and power cables and then replace the iastor.sys driver.
  • Other solutions include checking your disk for errors, updating your drivers and more.
How to fix DPC Watchdog Violation Windows 10
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The DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION issue in Windows 10 is one of the most annoying Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) problems. Read below how you can fix it and put an end to this annoyance.

One thing that was persistent in all Windows versions was the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) and Windows 10 are no stranger to them.

One particular error has been giving lots of users a hard time recently, and this is the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION.

For those of you who witnessed this error, you might be wondering what it is and how to fix it.

We will try to shed some light on this matter and help you fix the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION issue in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7.

What causes DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION errors?

In some cases, this problem comes along with other BSODs and they all have a common cause. If you check the official Microsoft website, you will find some information on this error, and it goes like this:

This bug check indicates that the DPC watchdog executed, either because it detected a single long-running deferred procedure call (DPC), or because the system spent a prolonged time at an interrupt request level (IRQL) of DISPATCH_LEVEL or above.

The value of Parameter 1 indicates whether a single DPC exceeded a timeout, or whether the system cumulatively spent an extended period of time at IRQL DISPATCH_LEVEL or above.

What they are saying here, is that Windows 10 has stopped working because it was unable to get a response from a hardware component, its driver, or a software program that is related to it.

Most often, the hardware component in question is a disk drive, and Windows crashes once the disk becomes unreadable (similar to unplugging the data cable of the HDD when it’s in use).

In some cases, the problem can be a hardware incompatibility or even a virus infection.

Here’s a short list of what could be the causes of the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION:

  • HDD becomes unreadable
  • SSD Firmware not up to date
  • Old or damaged drivers
  • BIOS that has not been updated
  • Hardware incompatibility
  • Hardware was not installed properly
  • Overclock not done properly (in this case, do a BIOS Reset)
  • Malware infection

How can I fix DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION errors?

  1. Check your cables
  2. Replace the iastor.sys driver
  3. Check your disk
  4. Update your drivers
  5. Update your OS
  6. Run a full system scan
  7. Check software and hardware incompatibility issues
  8. Remove the recently installed software

1. Check your cables

As you can see, there are a number of causes for the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error, but luckily most of them can be ruled out with no effort. 

For instance, the first thing you should do is check all the disk data/power cables from your computer. In some cases, if they are not properly plugged in, the system might read that the disk is unavailable and crash.

If all the cables are intact and properly plugged in, you might want to move on and check the health of the disks.

2. Replace the iastor.sys driver

  1. Right-click the Start icon and select Device Manager.
  2. Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers.
  3. Select the controller with SATA AHCI in its name (such as Standard SATA AHCI Controller).
    • To verify that you’ve selected the right controller, right-click the controller, go to Properties, click the Driver tab, and then Driver Details. Verify that iastor.sys is a listed driver, and click OK.
  4. From the Driver tab select Update Driver.
  5. Select Browse my computer for driver software.
  6. Select Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
  7. Select Standard SATA AHCI Controller.
  8. Click Next, then Close, and then restart the PC.

Microsoft suggests that you should replace the driver that triggers this error message, meaning the iastor.sys driver with the storahci.sys driver.

3. Check your disk

  1. Type cmd in the Search tab in Windows 10.
  2. Click on Run as administrator to start Command Prompt with elevated privileges.
  3. Type the following command and press Enter to execute it (Replace C with the letter of your hard drive partition): chkdsk C: /f

Note: If you do not use the /f parameter, chkdsk displays a message that the file needs to be fixed, but it does not fix any errors.

The chkdsk D: /f command detects and repairs logical issues affecting your drive. To repair physical issues, run the /r parameter as well.

If you’re still running Windows 7, go to hard drives, right-click the drive that you want to check and select Properties, then Tool. Under the Error checking section, click Check.

check system drive for errors

Also, keep in mind that Microsoft is no longer supports Windows 7 so you should upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible.

There are a number of utilities you can use to check all the health-related aspects of your drives. For more information on the best tools that you can install to check your hard drive’s health, check out this list.

If you own an SSD, you might want to look for a firmware update (if you didn’t update it from the start). Keep in mind that if you update your SSD’s firmware, you will most likely lose all data from it.

4. Update your drivers

Updating all the drivers from your computer is another way to go if you have stumbled on in the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION. Check your components for their manufacturers and models and then check their websites for Windows 10 or previous versions compatible drivers.

Also, if there aren’t any Windows 10 ready drivers, contact them for more information.

Still, in the updating area, you should check the website of your motherboard’s developer for BIOS updates. Sometimes, if a BIOS is getting old and you add new hardware or operating systems to it, it might not work properly.

We strongly recommend DriverFix to automatically download all the outdated drivers on your PC. It’s very reliable can get the job done in just a few seconds and clicks.

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5. Update your OS

Make sure that you’re running the latest Windows OS updates on your machine. As a quick reminder, Microsoft constantly rolls out Windows updates in order to improve the system’s stability and fix various issues.

Installing the latest Windows updates on your computer could also help you eliminated the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error.

To access the Windows Update section, you can simply type update in the search box. This method works on all Windows versions. Then go to Windows Update, check for updates and install the available updates.

6. Run a full system scan

  1. Go to Start, type Windows Security, and click on the app from the results.
  2. In the left-hand pane, select the Virus & threat protection option.
  3. In the new window, click on the Scan options.
  4. Check the Full scan option and click on the Scan now button below to launch a full system malware scan.

Scanning your computer for viruses is something that you should do all the time, even if you don’t have the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error.

However, if you suffer from this issue, then you might want to scan your computer thoroughly and seek out any malware that might be hiding in it.

There are lots of great antivirus programs out there that can do a great job in searching for all kinds of malware and other errors. Check out this article to see what antivirus tool we recommend you to install on your computer.

Meanwhile, you can also use Windows Defender to scan your device.

7. Check software and hardware incompatibility issues

  1. Click the Start button and select the Settings option (the cogwheel).
  2. Select Update & Security and then Troubleshoot.
  3. Under Additional troubleshooters, select the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter and run it.

Most programs created for earlier versions of Windows will work on newer OS versions. However, some older programs might run poorly or even cause severe errors, such as the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error.

You can run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter as indicated above to automatically detect and fix some of the most common issues.

Hardware incompatibility is something to take into account also. If you’ve built a new computer and installed Windows 10, and nothing else, and you get this problem, then some components might not work well with each other or with the OS.

In this scenario, you should do more research on each component and if you don’t find anything of use, you should contact the store and get some tech support.

Keep an eye out for hardware that wasn’t installed properly. Most of the times, users don’t install the RAM correctly and a part of it doesn’t make contact.

If you want to check the RAM, take the DIMMs out and place them carefully back in, ensuring that you hear the click and that they are in place.

8. Remove the recently installed software

  1. Go to Start, type Control Panel, and select it from the results.
  2. Click on Programs and Features.
  3. Select the program(s) recently added and click on the Uninstall/Change button.

Then restart your computer, and see if the issue has been solved.

If you recently installed new software on your computer, try uninstalling the respective tools. Sometimes, third-party software may cause severe issues on your computer, including the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error.

9. Run system restore

9.1 Run system restore in Windows 10

  1. Go to Settings, click on Update & Security, and select Recovery under the left pane.
  2. Click on Get Started under Reset this PC and choose to Keep your files.recovery options reset this pc
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset.

9.2 Run system restore in Windows 7 and 8.1 (if the Restore option is activated)

  1. Go to Search, type system properties, and open System Properties.
  2. Go to System Protection and click on System Restore.
  3. Click Next and choose the preferred restore point in the new window.
  4. Once you’ve selected your preferred restore point, click Next and then Finish.
  5. Your PC will restart and the restoring process will start.

After the procedure has been completed, check if the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error persists.

If the problem has occurred after you’ve installed a driver or modified anything on the software level of your computer, then you should do a System Restore.

This will roll back your system to a point from before you’ve modified anything like instructed in the steps above and see if the problem still persists.

If indeed it was something you did or installed, then this should fix your Windows 10 DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION problems.

We hope that this guide is of use to you, and if you are still having problems, or if you know any other way to fix the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error in Windows 7, 8 or Windows 10, please leave us a comment and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

All these solutions also work if you encounter the following errors:

    • The error appears after booting up and might be caused by problems with the hard drive.
  • DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION when connecting to the Internet
    • The error appears after connecting to the internet and it’s caused by a problematic network card driver 
  • DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION when playing games
    • This error appears when you are trying to start a game or a more complex application. It is caused by a malfunctioning driver.
  • DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION while installing windows 10
    • This error appears while trying to install Windows 10 and it is triggered by a problem with your BIOS.
    • The issue arises randomly and it is probably caused by a faulty driver.
    • Stop code is another name for a BSOD. This is either a hardware problem or it might be caused by a problem with a malfunctioning driver.

We hope that our guide helped you fix the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION Windows 10 error. If you have any other suggestions, leave them in the comments section below.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in October 2017 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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  • I started getting this error after a fuse was blown when a contractor was working at my home. I have had outages before (due to weather) but this issue has never happened before. I have tried all of the fixes suggested, none have worked. This is a new pc, I am still using 8.1, I am not a huge fan of Windows 10. Thanks

  • I recently updated to windows 10 from 8.1 and I think my Logitech cam has a loose wire or something
    each time I try to open it after I re-plugged it in I get the DPC_WATCHDOG_VOLATION and the sad face and then it closes and restarts. I cannot use alt control delete to get a task manager on windows 10 so I guess you have to wait for the computer to do its thing. I do not know what to do.

  • I am having this error and it getting on my fucking nerves all Microsoft wants to do is scam me for 99.99 for support for a BSOD. Help ME!!!

  • dude i too got this error and after it my pc is showing no boot able device and after trying to install new windows it is showing that there is no hard disk :O pls help me…