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How to Fix DPC Watchdog Violation Error in Windows 10

Updated by Daisy on Apr 16, 2021
Written by Myra

DPC Watchdog Violation Error in Windows 10

What Is DPC Watchdog Violation in Windows 10

Whether you see the error message "Your PC ran into a problem that it couldn't handle" or "Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart", as long as the stop code is DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION, they are the same.

DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION is a common error code in Windows indicating a blue screen of death (BSOD). Before introducing the solutions to the problem, I'd like to explain what a DPC is and why the error arises.

DPC is short for Deferred Procedure Call. It is a Microsoft Windows mechanism that allows high-priority tasks to delay the execution of required but lower-priority tasks. DPC enables device drivers and other low-level event consumers to arrange their processing reasonably by performing prioritized tasks first and non-critical tasks later.

The Microsoft Windows mechanism that monitors the performance of DPC is called the DPC Watchdog Timer. The DPC Watchdog Time will detect whether a DPC routine or a serious of queued DPC routines run for too long. If the DPC routine(s) exceeds the time limit (A typical DPC routine should run at most 100ms), the DPC Watchdog Violation error will occur. 

What's the Cause of the DPC Watchdog Violation Error

Different from other boot issues like Windows Automatic Repair loop that are caused by system changes or corrupted system files, the DPC Watchdog Violation error mainly results from an incompatibility between the software and hardware on the computer. What might trigger such a conflict? It could be:

  • The installation of an update
  • Software installation
  • Driver installation
  • The connection of external hardware

Having these possible causes in mind, you can now expect what the solutions are.

How to Fix DPC Watchdog Violation in Windows 10

Generally, you may encounter the error right after an update was installed or while using your device. Depending on your specific situation, the solutions vary.

Situation 1. Fix DPC Watchdog Violation Occurring After an Update Installation

If the blue screen of death with the error code DPC Watchdog Violation prompts after the installation of an update, the corresponding fix is to uninstall the update directly. 

How to uninstall an update on a computer that won't boot? You will need to enter the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) and then enter the safe mode. WinRE provides you with many Windows built-in recovery options like System Restore, System Image Recovery, Startup Repair and Startup Settings that contain the safe mode related options. Safe Mode is a Windows diagnostic mode that starts Windows with minimal necessary drivers and services and thus enables you to troubleshot errors.

To enter Safe Mode in Windows 10:

Step 1. Hold down the power button for 10s to shut down the computer.

Step 2. Press the power button to start the computer. Once you see the first sign of Windows has started, e.g. the logo of the manufacturer, hold down the power button for 10s again to turn off the device.

Step 3. Press the power button to start the computer. Once Windows restarts, hold down the power button for 10s to turn off the computer.

Step 4. Press the power button to start the computer and don't interrupt it this time. Then you will see your computer in WinRE.

Step 5. On the "Choose an option" screen, choose "Troubleshoot" > "Advanced options" > "Startup Settings" > "Restart".

Step 6. After the restart, you will see a list of options as shown in the image below. Select "5" or press "F5" to enable Safe Mode with Networking. 

Enter Safe Mode to Fix DPC Watchdog Violation

Now in Safe Mode, you can uninstall the update that causes the DPC Watchdog Violation error on your Windows 10 PC.

Step 1. Enter control panel in the search bar and click "Control Panel" from the search result.

Step 2. Among the options, choose "Programs and Features", then click "View installed updates" on the left-hand side.

Step 3. To view the latest updates, click "Installed On" to list the updates in decreasing order.

Step 4. To uninstall the suspicious update, right-click it and choose "Uninstall", then choose "Yes" to confirm.

Step 5. After the uninstallation, click "Restart Now" to restart the computer.

Uninstall an update to fix DPC Watchdog Violation error

Situation 2. Fix DPC Watchdog Violation Occurring While Using the Device

If the DPC Watchdog Violation error pops up when you are using the computer, think carefully about whether you have installed software, updated a driver, or connected an external device to the computer. If you do, uninstall the software, rollback/disable/uninstall the driver, or remove the external hardware to fix the DPC Watchdog Violation error.

Method 1. Remove External Devices

When you see the BSOD, remove any unnecessary peripherals connected to the computer and let the computer restart automatically. If the computer starts properly, you have fixed the DPC Watchdog Violation error successfully. If not, you need to further uninstall the problematic software or driver.

To execute these operations, you also need to enter safe mode using the same way detailed in situation 1. Then follow the methods below:

Method 2. Uninstall Recent-Installed Software

Follow the steps here if you have just installed a program before the error occurs.

Step 1. In safe mode, click "Start" > "Settings" > "Apps" > "Apps & features".

Step 2. Set to sort the programs by "Install data".

Step 3. Click the target software and choose "Uninstall".

Step 4. Restart the computer.

Uninstall software to fix DPC Watchdog Violation error

Method 3. Change SATA AHCI controller

Blue screen errors are usually caused by problematic drivers and the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error is usually related to IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers that have the SATA AHCI controller. This driver controls the data exchange between the storage devices and its memory. Changing the driver may help to solve the issue.

Step 1. Type device manager in the search bar and choose "Device Manager" from the result.

Step 2. Expand "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers".

Step 3. Right-click "Standard SATA AHCI Controller" and choose "Properties".

Step 4. Go to the "Driver" tab and click "Driver Details". If you see more than one driver file, move on to the next step. If you see only one driver file, move on to the next method.

Step 5. Click "Update Driver" and choose "Browse my computer for driver software".

Step 6. Click "Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer".

Step 7. Choose the driver and click "Next".

Step 8. Restart the computer.

Change SATA AHCI controllers to fix DPC Watchdog Violation error

Method 4. Rollback, Disable, or Uninstall Driver

The DPC Watchdog Violation error in Windows 10 could also result from the latest driver you installed. For the third-party driver, you can rollback, disable, or uninstall the driver.

Step 1. Type device manager in the search bar and choose "Device Manager" from the result.

Step 2. Expand the device that contains the driver you want to make changes to.

Step 3. Right-click the driver and choose "Properties".

Step 4. Go to the "Driver" tab, choose "Roll Back Driver", "Disable Device" or "Uninstall Device". (You can't disable some system-required drivers.)

Rollback, disable, or uninstall driver to fix DPC Watchdog Violation error

Method 5. Check and Fix Disk Errors

If none of the solutions above works, you can recover the files on the computer using bootable data recovery software or create a bootable media using a partition tool like EaseUS Partition Master. It will help you boot your computer into the Windows Preinstallation Environment packaged with disk management utility, with which you can fix disk errors to solve the DPC Watchdog Violation error and clone the disk to rescue your data if the boot issue persists. (You need to create a bootable disk, boot the problematic computer from it, and then follow the steps below to fix the disk errors. )

To check and fix disk error using EaseUS Partition Master:

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master on your computer. Then, locate the disk, right-click the partition you want to check, and choose "Advaned" > "Check File System".

choose Check Partition

Step 2. In the Check File System window, keep the "Try to fix errors if found" option selected and click "Start".

check the pop-up instructions

Step 3. The software will begin checking your partition file system on your disk. When it complets, click "Finish".

finish partition check

These are the practical solutions for the DPC Watchdog Violation error in Windows 10. 

Knowledge Base

There are more than 100 stop error codes that may appear in a blue screen of death. Each may suggest a possible cause and imply the potential solution. Some codes have the same workable solutions. For example, the fixes for the DPC Watchdog Violation error in Windows 10 can also be applied to fix a BSOD with the following error codes:

  • CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED
  • SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED
  • IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
  • VIDEO_TDR_TIMEOUT_DETECTED
  • PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
  • SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION

If you happen to encounter these blue screen errors or other error codes, you can use the methods in this article to have a try.

The Bottom Line

Believe it or not, fixing the DPC Watchdog Violation error is comparatively easy compared with other blue screen errors that may involve changing registry, using command lines or fixing system related issues. As long as you can enter the safe mode, you can fix it with simple steps.

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Myra

Myra joined EaseUS in 2017. As a big fan of Apple products, she mainly focuses on iOS data transfer and iOS troubleshooting tips. Meanwhile, she is expanding her knowledge and skills in other fields like data recovery and disk management. Myra is open-minded and likes both extensive and intensive reading. Other than reading and writing, she is also fond of mobile games and K-pop stars.

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