Are you getting a blue screen that shows you “DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION”?
A DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION is one of the more ambiguous errors your PC can encounter.
This blue screen issue was most prevalent on the earlier releases of Windows 10, back when it was still a newly released OS. The error was derived from Windows being unable to communicate with its hardware or software components, like your SSD, graphics card, installed programs, and so on.
Despite there being a lot of methods to fix this problem, the quickest and easiest way to fix this is first to find out if there were any new changes made to your computer. Since the violation can come from many sources, your best bet is to first start with the area that was changed most recently.
The following solutions will start with a short introduction about what that method will fix on your computer. This will help you sort out which methods to try first based on your most recent activities. If the problem still persists after trying the fix that suited your situation, try to complete all the methods listed below instead.
Let’s get started.
- 1. Secure All Your Cables (Desktop Only).
- 2. Fixing Your SATA AHCI drivers.
- 3. Uninstall Recently Added Programs.
- 4. Update Your SSD and HDD Drivers.
- 5. Get Rid of All External Devices.
- 6. Cleaning Up Your Hard Drives.
- 7. Run Event Viewer.
- 8. Update Your Microsoft OS.
- 9. Initiate a Full System Scan.
- 10. Reformat Your Computer.
1. Secure All Your Cables (Desktop Only).
If you’re using a laptop, you can skip this method and read its conclusion below about what securing your cables does to fix this problem.
When you’re using a desktop PC, your computer is attached through interconnected cables. Although this helps the cooling and accessing of your components, sometimes poorly attached cables can render some components undetectable. In this step, we will be opening your desktop case and making sure that all your cables are tightly plugged into each other.
It would be best to do this with the help of a tech-savvy individual, but brave new souls will find this easy to do as well. Make sure the cable ends are the only things you fiddle with while on this step, messing with your RAM sticks or processor is the last thing you want.
Here are the steps to secure the cables of your desktop PC:
- Firstly, make sure your computer is turned off, and the power supply is unplugged to fully cut out flowing electricity.
- Next, go ahead and open your desktop case from the left side (most PC cases open from the left). There should be visible hints like sliding or unscrewing to remove your left side panel.
- Once removed simply look at your cables and make sure they’re securely plugged into your motherboards. If you aren’t familiar with desktop components at all, you can try looking at a youtube video about computer components. This should give you a picture of how a graphics card and hard drive looks like.
- Once you’ve made sure your cables are secure, attach the left panel of your desktop case back on and plug in your PC.
- Lastly, turn on your computer. You should be able to freely use your computer now.
If the problem persists, you can try the following methods below. Otherwise, we’d still recommend for you to try some of the methods, like updating your drivers and software, as this is generally good maintenance for your computer.
Securing your cables will make sure your motherboard can read all your external modules like your graphics card without a problem. This can solve the “WATCHDOG VIOLATION” of unresponsive hardware components.
For laptops, opening up your device can be much harder and delicate. That’s why we recommend you get a professional or an experienced friend to check it for you. But before you consider that option, try to go over the next methods which may help resolve your issue.
2. Fixing Your SATA AHCI drivers.
Arguably the method that works the best to fix the Watchdog error. Fixing your SATA AHCI drivers will help your motherboard coordinate with your hard drives. This method is usually required if you’re experiencing the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION shortly after purchasing an SSD.
Your AHCI software is a driver that allows your computer to communicate with hard drives better, primarily SSDs. This driver software is usually outdated or corrupted when upgrading to Windows 10 or installing a brand new SSD.
Here are the steps to fix your SATA AHCI drivers:
- Go ahead and press the Windows key and search for ‘Device Manager‘.
- Next, click on IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers.
- Then, select the SATA AHCI controller (or any controller with SATA AHCI).
- Confirm you’ve picked the right controller by right-clicking on the controller and click Properties.
- Open the Driver tab and click on Driver Details. Listed under driver files, there should be an iastor.sys.
- Now go back to the Driver tab and click on Update Driver.
- Next, click on Browse my computer for driver software.
- Go ahead and click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
- Select Standard SATA AHCI Controller.
- Finally, click Next and Close. You can now restart your PC.
This method should update the drivers responsible for your SSD, and even your HDD.
3. Uninstall Recently Added Programs.
Have you recently installed any programs onto your computer before getting the blue screen of death?
If so, try to uninstall your recent programs to see if they were the cause of the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION.
Almost all programs require access to your computer in some way. This can involve basic activities such as file transferring or even the use of your camera and microphone. During the process of your installation, or perhaps with your OS mismatching due to incompatible versions, some programs can run into hiccups that cause blue screens like this one.
Although the programs capable of triggering the DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION should only be programs that require full admin access like anti-virus software, it isn’t impossible for conventional productivity apps to cause this problem. Although other guides might recommend you to do a system restore, the complicated process basically works the same way as this method.
To resolve this, we will be uninstalling the most recent programs on your computer. Keep a list of all the uninstalled programs so you can diagnose or install them again later.
Here is a step-by-step process on uninstalling recently added programs:
- First, press your Windows key to open your search bar.
- Second, go ahead and type ‘Add or remove programs‘. This should open your Apps & Features tab.
- If you scroll down a bit a list of all your programs should be visible. On the top left above the list, there should be a setting that says ‘Sort by: Name‘ (its default setting). Click Name and replace it with Install Date.
- Now your programs should be arranged from most recently installed to the oldest. Uninstall any apps that were recently installed prior to the blue screen errors by clicking on the program and pressing Uninstall.
- After uninstalling all the necessary programs, proceed to restart your computer and see if it functions like normal.
If the error persists, feel free to reinstall all the programs you deleted or perhaps delete a couple more programs. But in the case that this method has solved your problem, try to do a quick Google search about your uninstalled programs and DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION.
That way, perhaps you can find a solution to the problem and be able to install the application again.
4. Update Your SSD and HDD Drivers.
Your hard drives can be a great asset to your home computer experience. SSDs are great upgrades from the conventional, but slow, HDD. However, all hardware capabilities can be useless or bottlenecked without the right drivers.
Drivers are the programs that come with your hardware to make sure they perform at 100 percent capacity for your computer. Updating them to make sure they’re bug-free and optimized is always good computer maintenance.
Here’s how we can update your SSD and HDD drivers:
- Go ahead and press your Windows key to open your search bar.
- Next, type in ‘Device Manager‘.
- Then, click on Disk drives to expand it.
- Now, locate your hard drive and open it by double-clicking.
- Open the Driver tab and click on Update Driver.
- And finally, select Search automatically for updated driver software.
- If you have more than one hard drive, try updating all of them by following the same steps.
This should fix any software errors regarding your SSDs and HDDs. If the problem still occurs, don’t worry! We have more methods you can try out.
5. Get Rid of All External Devices.
Just like the first method with securing your cables, any external devices can lead to bad cases of connectivity. If you’ve attached any external devices recently, try to remove them and see if the error persists.
Here’s how you can remove your external devices temporarily:
- First, you’re going to have to turn off your computer. This will assure that any device currently being used by the computer is disconnected, so as to not lose any data when you unplug it.
- Next, unplug your external hard drives, scanners, printers, etc. If you’re using a laptop, remove your mouse and keyboard as well.
- Turn on your computer and start connecting your external devices one by one with an interval of about five minutes.
The DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION should pop up the moment you plug in the problematic device, or at least after a couple of minutes in using it.
If an external device is the problem, follow the method above this one but instead update the driver of that external device. Your device should then have the latest drivers and be compatible with your current OS, hopefully ridding yourself of this issue.
6. Cleaning Up Your Hard Drives.
This method will guide you to clean your hard drives, which is a good practice to make sure your hardware is performing at its best.
A corrupted hard drive can malfunction just like a poorly connected and outdated one. WATCHDOG errors can pick up on corrupted files and think that there must have been something wrong with the hardware or accessing, thus triggering a blue screen.
Here’s how we can check for corrupted sectors in your hard drive:
- Let’s go ahead and press on the Windows key.
- Next, search for ‘cmd’ and right-click on Command Prompt and click Run as administrator.
- Now, you can start checking for errors by typing ‘chkdsk c:/f’ and press Enter.
- You might receive a response about scheduling the volume-check later on, simply type Y and press Enter.
This method will execute the next time you power on your PC and can take several minutes to hours to complete, depending on your hardware. After it’s done, you will receive a report about your hard drive regarding its functional state.
If you receive a report that concludes your hard drives are corrupted, it might be in your best interest to back up your files and purchase a new storage system.
7. Run Event Viewer.
Running your ‘Event Viewer’ will not fix your problem, but can provide a good description of the operations behind your computer.
Event Viewer will allow you to monitor your programs and hardware conditions, as well as notify you if any of them are malfunctioning.
Here’s how you can run ‘Event Viewer’:
- Quickly press on the Windows key and search for ‘Event Viewer’.
- Next, open the app and on the left side of the panel, click on Windows Logs, and then System.
- Finally, in the second column or the middle part of the window, you should be able to see entries. Click on the ones marked Error or Warning and read the report down below.
Hopefully the ‘Event Viewer’ was able to show you which components of your PC have been malfunctioning. If the issue still remains, go ahead and proceed to the next method.
8. Update Your Microsoft OS.
Perhaps your own PC’s OS is what’s causing you all this trouble. If you haven’t updated your operating system recently, here’s how we can start doing that immediately.
Updating your OS is incredibly important as this is the primary software that holds all your operations together. Regular bugs, glitches, fixes, and features are fixed and added on with each update which can be good maintenance practice for your PC.
Here’s how you can update your Microsoft OS:
- First, let’s press on the Windows key and search for ‘settings’.
- Your search should be returned with an app called ‘Settings‘. Click on the query
- A window with ‘Windows Settings’ should open, click on Update & Security below.
- Next, below ‘Windows Update’, click on Check for updates.
- Now, if an update is found just proceed through the prompts and get your system updated.
- Finally, restart your computer and proceed to use your PC/laptop as usual.
If you had a ‘Windows Update’ available, chances are all your problems should be fixed after the update. Test it out by running a few programs to see if the error comes back.
9. Initiate a Full System Scan.
Scanning for viruses in your computer is something you should get into doing periodically, even if you didn’t get that DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error.
Running a full system scan will search through your entire storage database for any malware that may be corrupting your files or crashing your computer. If you don’t have an antivirus program already installed, your default ‘Windows Defender’ does a pretty good job already.
This method can take a few minutes to an hour depending on the size of your hard drive and if you’re using an HDD or an SSD.
Here’s how you can initiate a full system scan:
- Go ahead and press on the Windows key to open up your search bar.
- Next, search for ‘defender’ and click on Windows Security. The program with a shield icon.
- A window should pop up with many icons, on the left pane open the shield icon.
- Before you initiate a scan, go to Scan options and click on Full scan.
- Now, scroll down and click Scan now to initiate a full system scan.
- Finally, once your scan is complete, go ahead and see how many threats were found. Restart your computer afterward.
The full system scan should rid your computer of any malware that’s sabotaging your performance. If the scan could not find any malware, then go ahead and proceed to the next method.
10. Reformat Your Computer.
If you’re completely out of hope and on the verge of buying a new SSD or sending your computer to a technician, you can always try this Hail Mary method.
Reformatting your computer will wipe out all of your settings and apps while keeping your personal files. This will guarantee that your computer starts fresh, with software ideally the same as a new laptop.
In Windows 10, reformatting is an easier task and can be done with just the following steps:
- First, press on the Windows key and search for ‘update’.
- Once opened, navigate to the left pane and click on Recovery.
- Next, under Reset this PC click on Get Started.
- A prompt should open regarding your files. Click Keep my files and follow the prompt until your computer is finally reformatted.
- Your computer should perform a reset on its own, go through your necessary preferences, and set up your computer like before.
Now your computer should be completely restored to its factory settings while still storing all your personal files in its storage.
If all of these steps have failed, it might be in your best interest to look for a nearby computer or servicing store for assistance instead. Their technicians could help identify a hardware problem that cannot be fixed by just fiddling around your settings.
It’s also worth checking if you qualify for any warranties regarding your device, which should help discount the prices or replace your laptop.
Now that you have reached the end of this article, we hope that this post helped provide solutions that helped fix your ‘DPC Watchdog Violation’ issue. If you have other questions related to this article, please feel free to leave a comment below.
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