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How to Fix a DPC Watchdog Violation in Windows

You are working on a Windows 8, 8.1, or 10 computer when suddenly it freezes or appears with a blue screen of death, informing you that your computer will restart in 5 seconds due to a DPC Watchdog Violation error.

If this happens over and over again for a while, then a permanent solution to the problem needs to be found.

What is a DPC Watchdog Violation?

There are a lot of issues related to Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, just like the other versions before them. One of such problems is the DPC Watchdog Violation error, which forces the system to reboot to prevent any serious or permanent damage. When an error occurs, the screen will turn green, and an error code will appear along with a countdown timer for the system to restart.

DPC Watchdog Violation Error Message
DPC Watchdog Violation Error Message

As a result, the system is abruptly shut down, and you may lose any data that was not saved.

The problem can be caused by a number of reasons, but one of the main culprits is outdated, problematic, or improperly installed device drivers. Another possible cause of the DPC Watchdog Violation error is an incompatible hardware change. When you have two or more conflicting software programs or problems with your sound card, that can also cause errors.

How to fix the DPC Watchdog Violation error in Windows

If the problem keeps coming back, you need to fix it. However, because, as noted above, problems can be caused by different things, not all solutions work for everyone.

Before deciding which solution to use, it’s a good idea to run the Events Viewer (it can detect the problem and let you know). To do this:

  • Press Win+X and select Events Viewer from the list.
  • On the left panel, click Windows Logs > System. A report will appear.
  • Check if there are any error messages. Here you can find out what and when the problem occurred.

If you don’t see anything important there, follow the methods below to try to fix the DPC Watchdog Violation error.

Method 1: Examine and reconnect system hardware

The first thing to do is check your system hardware for anything out of the ordinary. Most likely the cable is loose, the drive is misplaced, the RAM is not mounted properly, etc. The following video explains how to reassemble the hardware and check that everything is safe:

Computer cleaning

While opening the computer case, you should clean your hardware as well. Of course, don’t use soap and a sponge! Instead, you should use compressed air to clean the cooling fan section and complete some general PC maintenance steps. Remember, your PC is just like any other piece of hardware you own. With proper care, its lifespan will last longer.

  • 8 taboos when cleaning computers

Method 2: Check the system status

After physically cleaning, you should perform a system health check. Check system health using third-party tools to indicate if any hardware is about to fail. There are many tools to support Windows PC health, but one of the easiest to use is Speccy. Speccy displays a wide range of PC health metrics in a single program, making it a great benchmarking tool.

Once installed, you can open various tabs and drop-down menus to check the drive’s health, operating temperature, voltage, etc. If the temperature is too high, you should consider finding a fault with the component or replacing it altogether.

Speccy is one of the easiest tools to use

Speccy is one of the easiest tools to use. If Speccy shows problems with your SSD, you can always learn more. Check for warning signs that your SSD is about to fail.

Method 3: Chipset Driver Update

The first thing you might want to do is update your chipset driver by following the steps below:

1. Open Device Manager by clicking on the Start menu and searching.

2. Double-click IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers.

3. Look for SATA AHCI, right-click on it, and then select Properties.

4. Click on the Driver tab and select Driver Details to confirm that you have storahci.sys listed as the driver.

Click on the Driver tab and select Driver Details
Click on the Driver tab and select Driver Details

5. Click OK, and you will be returned to the previous box.

6. Now, click on the Update Driver button.

7. Click Browse my computer for driver software and choose from the list of drivers.

8. The following step is to select Standard SATA AHCI Controller from the list and then click Next.

9. When the process is complete, restart the computer.

Method 4: Update drivers

The next thing that you may need to do is update the driver, as problems with the driver are one of the causes of the error. You can do this manually or use the driver updater to check and see if any drivers are available to update or need to be changed.

Refer to 5 basic ways to update and install drivers for your computer for more details.

Method 5: Software or hardware conflicts

There are some software programs, especially anti-virus programs, that you are not allowed to run together. If you’ve installed new software and are starting to have problems, the best thing you can do is uninstall the program. Plus, if you have two antivirus programs running on your computer, deactivating one can help prevent problems.

Also, if you made any software changes to your computer before it started to have problems, you might consider removing the software to see if that fixes the problem.

Method 6: Use the Disk Check tool

Another cause for this error could be a problem with the drive. To check, follow these steps:

  • Open Command Prompt with administrative privileges.
  • In Command Prompt, type chkdsk /f /r and press Enter.
Type chkdsk /f /r and press Enter
Type chkdsk /f /r and press Enter
  • Select Y so that the next time the computer boots, the drive will be checked.

Method 7: Restore the computer to a previous time

One more thing that you can do if the above methods fail is to restore the system to a time when it was working fine. If the error is due to changes made, this should be able to fix the problem.

To restore the system, follow the steps in the article: Instructions to create a backup and restore point (Restore Point) on Windows 10.

Create a restore point
Create a restore point

Sometimes the DPC Watchdog Violation issue can even prevent you from using your computer, as it keeps crashing when you turn it on. In such a case, you can try to fix the error via Safe Mode by pressing the Ctrl+F8 while the system is in the boot process.

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