FIX: watchdog.sys system error in Windows 10/11

by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
Aleksandar's main passion is technology. With a solid writing background, he is determined to bring the bleeding edge to the common user. With a keen eye, he always... read more
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  • The watchdog.sys error results most of the times in BSoD and one of the culprits is corrupted system files.
  • You could try solve this problem by reinstalling certain drivers, but there are also other options.
  • Running the professional software we recommend might also be a perfect fix for the watchdog.sys bsod error.
  • Handling the BIOS settings could also work, and with our guide you won't have any difficulty with the process.
How to fix watchdog.sys system error in Windows 10

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Regardless of the fact that the transition to Windows 10 from previous iterations is rather seamless, certain issues can force you to reconsider the upgrade.

Especially if the error at hand is a critical system error that results in BSoD (Blue Screen of Death).

In this case, we’ll try to focus on the watchdog.sys error in Windows 10 that seems to bother a lot of folks recently.

Firstly, watchdog.sys is there to monitor the time that threads spend executing in the display driver.

So, basically, due to one or multiple reasons, the file gets missing or corrupted and your PC will crash for sure.

Since it’s related to GPU/Display drivers, predominantly Nvidia graphics, our main concern goes to false generic drivers provided by Windows update.

So, if you’re plagued by a lot of crashes lately, make sure to check the solutions below.

Can I fix BSoD error watchdog.sys in Windows 10?

1. Reinstall GPU drivers

Remember the days when you needed to meddle with GPU drivers after the system reinstallation? Well, those days are long gone after Windows 10 was introduced.

And, even though the concept of auto-installing drivers is legitimately an upgrade, users with old PC configurations occasionally run into a bunch of problems.

The watchdog.sys BSoD error occurs mostly due to the incompatibility of self-installed Nvidia drivers with certain motherboard drivers.

Basically, they just pop out the latest available driver version and don’t question the possibility that it won’t cut it for the older motherboard/GPU combo.

That will, consequently, result in slowdowns or, in the worst-case scenario like this is, it’ll cause system crashes and Blue Screen of Death.

So, the first thing we’ll need to do before we move is to check those drivers. But, this time, we’ll do it by hand and that includes stopping the automatic driver updates.

Driverfix uses a powerful technology to scan your system for out of date drivers and provide you with an accurate detailed report of your up-to-date and out-of-date elements.

This excellent tool incorporates a scheduled manager and other functions, in addition to over 18 million driver files that you can download in order to keep you PC running like new.

To make sure that everything goes smoothly and avoid any kind of GPU driver errors, be sure to use a complete driver update assistant that will solve your problems with just a couple of clicks, and we strongly recommend DriverFix. Follow these easy steps to safely update your drivers:

  1. Download and install DriverFix.
  2. Launch the software.
  3. Wait for DriverFix to detect all your faulty drivers.
  4. The application will now show you all the drivers that have issues, and you just need to select the ones you’d liked fixed.
  5. Wait for the app to download and install the newest drivers.
  6. Restart your PC for the changes to take effect.


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

2. Check for overheating

In the midst of possible troubleshooting steps in regards to software, we strongly encourage you to check the hardware, too.

Even though the system errors are rarely provoked by constant overheating, high working temperatures are something you can’t neglect.

The easiest way to determine whether your GPU is suffering from hellish temperatures is to install third-party software, like SpeedFan.

Besides the monitoring, this nifty and free application can be used to regulate the speed of cooling fans.

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Download and install SpeedFan, check the temperature, and optimize the cooling intensity in order to reduce the heating.

In addition, if you’re up to the task, you can unplug the graphics card from the motherboard and power supply and clean it thoroughly.

This process should help you fix the watchdog driver blue screen error on your Windows 10, however you can also try the following options.

3. Reset BIOS settings

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Select Update & security section.
  3. Open the Recovery section from the left pane.advanced startup windows 10
  4. Under the Advanced startup, click on the Restart Now button.
  5. Select Troubleshoot.
  6. Click on Advanced Options.
  7. Choose UEFI Firmware Settings and then Restart.
  8. Your PC should boot into BIOS Settings now.bios settings
  9. Reset the configuration and save changes.

If you’re unable to reset BIOS settings for some unknown reason, you can also just change something and change it back.

Even the slightest change will force the firmware to rebuild from a scratch.

Namely, this seems to be the rare but nonetheless occurring issue for users with an older motherboard that upgraded to Windows 10.

Basically, certain BIOS/UEFI settings might work like a charm on Windows 7, but, on the other hand, can wreak havoc on Windows 10.

Especially in regards to an already-mentioned collision between old motherboard sound drivers and GPU drivers.

So, what you’ll need to do is to reset the BIOS settings and let the BIOS rebuild from a scratch.

These actions should help you fix the watchdog.sys error that causes the blue screen of death on your Windows 10.

4. Disable Nvidia High Definition sound support

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Select Update & security section.
  3. Open the Recovery section from the left pane.advanced startup recovery settings windows 10
  4. Under the Advanced startup, click on the Restart Now button.
  5. Select Troubleshoot.
  6. Choose Advanced Options.
  7. Select Startup Settings and then Restart.
  8. Press F4 to boot in safe mode.
  9. Right-click on Start and open Device Manager.sound, video and game controllers device manager
  10. Navigate to Sound, video, and game controllers.
  11. Right-click on the Nvidia High Definition Audio Controler and uninstall it.
  12. Restart your PC but don’t let it perform the updating process.
  13. Run the Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter for Windows 10show or hide updates tool
  14. Block all updates related to Audio Drivers and you should be in the clear.

With that, we can conclude this article. This is a rare but quite resilient error which is occasionally hard to resolve.

Hopefully, with the provided solutions, you should be able to restore the full functionality to Windows 10.

In case you have any further questions or possibly an alternative solution, feel free to tell us in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Finally, as we already stated above, this problem predominately occurs with Nvidia graphics due to the incompatibility of Nvidia sound drivers and motherboard generic sound drivers.

In order to address this, you’ll need to get rid of the Nvidia High Definition sound driver and use exclusively the generic sound drivers.

That’s easier said than done for the sole reason Windows 10 will still install missing drivers, nonetheless.

So, that’s a reason more to use the Show or Hide Updates Tool and prevent further updates.

As you can see there are various way to fix the watchdog.sys error and in this article we offered the best and easiest solutions to solving this issue yourself.

We’d like to hear more from you on this matter so drop us a comment in the dedicated section below.

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