Fix DPC Watchdog Violation error in Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • The DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error is caused by a hardware component, its driver, or a software program.
  • To resolve this blue screen issue, make sure to check any of your data and power cables.
  • You may also try to replace the iastor.sys driver, a solution confirmed by many users.
  • The DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION glitch in Windows 10 can be diagnosed with the OS built-in troubleshooting tools.
dpc watchdog error
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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 computers.

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

  • DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION on bootThe error appears after booting up and might be caused by problems with the hard drive
  • DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION when connecting to the InternetThe error appears after connecting to the internet and it’s caused by a problematic network card driver 
  • DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION when playing gamesThis error appears when you are trying to start a game or a more complex application, and it is caused by a malfunctioning driver
  • DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION while installing windows 10This error appears while trying to install Windows 10 and it is triggered by a problem with your BIOS
  • Bugcheck DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATIONThe issue arises randomly and it is probably caused by a faulty driver
  • Stop code: DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATIONThis is either a hardware problem or it might be caused by a problem with a malfunctioning driver

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, BIOS that has not been updated, SSD issues, overclock not done correctly, or even a virus infection.

How can I fix DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION errors?

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. 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. Use a dedicated tool

Fortunately, there are great software programs that can help you to troubleshoot numerous blue screen errors and a lot more other computer issues.

Restoro repair

Restoro is powered by an online database that features the latest functional system files for Windows 10 PCs, allowing you to easily replace any elements that can cause a BSoD error.

This software can also help you by creating a restore point before starting the repairs, enabling you to easily restore the previous version of your system if something goes wrong.

This is how you can fix registry errors using Restoro:

  1. Download and install Restoro.
  2. Launch the application.
  3. Wait for the software to identify stability issues and possible corrupted files.
  4. Press Start Repair.
  5. Restart your PC for all the changes to take effect.

As soon as the fixing process is completed, your PC should work without problems, and you will not have to worry about BSoD errors or slow response times ever again.

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Disclaimer: This program needs to be upgraded from the free version in order to perform some specific actions.

3. 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.

4. 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

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.

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 to check your hard drive’s health, use our dedicated guide.

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.

5. 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.

We strongly recommend you use a tool that automatically downloads all the outdated drivers on your PC. It’s very reliable can get the job done in just a few seconds and clicks.

Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

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6. 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.

Windows Update not working in Windows 10? Use our dedicated guide and solve this problem with ease.

7. 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 our detailed 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.

8. 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.

Windows Troubleshooter has stopped working? Our detailed guide will help you with solutions for this problem!

9. 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, try uninstalling them. Sometimes, third-party software may cause severe issues on your computer, including the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error.

10. Run system restore

  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.

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, please leave us a comment and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

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