Random BSOD is not a big deal. From time to time, every Windows user faces a system crash, just like on macOS (yeah, BSOD exists even there in its own form). Things a getting worse when BSOD happens regularly which indicates on serious software or hardware malfunction the system can’t handle or fix. Some BSOD error codes are obvious and easy to understand but others provide zero clues of what is happening. DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION is one of such error. An average user will never be able to explain what led to this error. Only using proper tools can help you fix DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error in Windows 10.
Before we start: DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION has nothing in common with Watch Dogs game from Ubisoft.
First thing you need to do is to enable memory dump files recording. This is very important because it is the only way to pinpoint a problematic file. Your PC should be able to work without BSOD at least a few minutes so you can enable memory dump files recording and set up a special utility to record and monitor BSODs. If you faced severe software or hardware problems, and your PC can’t work stably even five minutes, try booting it up in Safe Mode.
When BSOD hits your PC, don’t rush to restart it manually. Sit back and wait for the system to gather all important data. During this process, a PC generates a memory dump file. You need this file to learn what causes BSOD. When the process is done, your computer will restart itself without your help. Usually, it takes only a few seconds.
- Open File Explorer. Win + E shortcut is one nice way to launch it from anywhere.
- In a left sidebar, right-click This PC and select Properties.
- Next, click Advanced system settings.
- Click on Settings within a Startup and Recovery section.
- Make sure Write debugging information is set to Automatic memory dump.
- Now, go to this website and download utility called BlueScreenViewer. You will later use it to analyze what happened. Locate it anywhere you want.
- Sit back and wait for the BSOD to happen.
After BSOD happened, launch BlueScreenView.exe.
- In the top section of the windows, you will find a list of available memory dumps. Sort them using Crash Time tab and select the most recent one.
- Below the list of memory dumps check the long list of system files. Look for the files marked with bright crimson color. In there you will find a driver file that caused BSOD.
- Also, look for Caused by Driver column in the list of memory dumps.
- If you do not know which driver those files represent, simply Google it. This is the kind of information that is usually very easy to find.
- Download a new driver version from the manufacturer’s website and install it. If there are no new versions, try to roll back a driver to the previous version.
It is worth noting that DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error usually happens due to errors or problems in SATA AHCI driver, GPU or USB. In the case of GPU, everything is quite clear. You simply go to the Nvidia or AMD website and download a driver from there. Things may be more difficult in case of SATA AHCI, USB or network card drivers–especially with a built-in network card. In such a case you need to update or roll back motherboard’s chipset driver. Always remember to keep your chipset driver up to date. New Windows 10 version or recent updates may render your system incompatible with previous chipset drivers thus causing DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION Windows 10 error and BSODs. Intel drivers are available here, and AMD drivers are here.
Next, check Windows Update. If DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION errors appeared recently, try to delete recent Windows updates. While troubleshooting, go to another direction also—install all available updates. If nothing worked, reinstall Windows from the scratch.
In order to properly fix DPC WATHCDOG VIOLATION error, you need to understand the nature of BSOD. This kind of errors happens mostly because of software failures, bad drivers or corrupted apps, or hardware failures. Fixing BSOD is all about finding the bad driver. After you found, troubleshoot it by updating, reinstalling or rolling back to the previous version. If the hardware is fine, software troubleshooting is usually more than enough to get rid of DPC WATCHDOG VIOLATION error. Just be sure to remember that additional software may also conflict with drivers thus the best option to find out the problem is to reinstall Windows and do everything from scratch.