Deferred Procedure Call (DPC) is a system mechanism used by Windows to execute high-priority processes immediately and schedule the non-critical processes at a lower priority to execute later.
As exceeding the time limit for a single DPC routine (100 microseconds) or a series of DPC routines can lead to system responsiveness degradation, the OS implements a DPC Watchdog timer to monitor this.
This is why, when the timeout does occur, you’ll encounter a BSOD with the stop code DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION.
While the exact reason for the DPC timeout differs most of the time, what is common is that it’s generally related to a faulty driver. So, identifying the problematic driver and troubleshooting it accordingly will resolve this error in most cases. We’ve listed the necessary steps to apply this solution, and more, in the article below.
What causes the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION Error?
- Incompatible hardware
- Driver conflicts
- Outdated SSD Firmware
- Failing storage media
- Outdated BIOS Firmware
- Overheated CPUs
How to Fix the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION Error?
The first step to fixing this error is to revert any recent changes you made to your system, both hardware and software related. If you’re unable to boot normally, try booting into Safe Mode first, and then apply the solutions in the order listed below.
Determine the Faulty Component
Figuring out which driver or hardware component is causing the error will help you resolve it swiftly. To do so, we recommend first checking the event viewer logs with the following steps:
- Press Win + R, type
eventvwr, and press Enter.
- Expand Windows Logs and select System.
- Check the Date and Time and Source sections to find the event log. In case a large number of logs are present, we recommend using the Find or Filter Current Log actions from the right pane to make things easier.
- Once you find the log, select it and check the General and Details tabs. The reason for the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION should be detailed here.
- If you need help understanding the logs, you can send the Event Log file to a Tech Support person or forum. To create this file, right-click the Event log and select Save Selected Events.
If the Event Log wasn’t helpful, you should analyze the MiniDump file located at
Additionally, we also recommend running the Driver Verifier to identify the faulty driver.
Disconnect Unnecessary Peripherals
As incompatible hardware is often what causes this error, you should disconnect all unnecessary peripheral devices, especially the ones you added right before the error first occurred, if any.
The DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION usually has a specific pattern, where it occurs 10 minutes after you boot, or after you exit a game, or watch a video; something along these lines. If you can identify this pattern, you can disconnect the peripherals and then try to recreate the error.
If the error doesn’t occur this time, you can connect the devices one at a time to determine the problematic one.
Resolve SATA AHCI Controller Conflict
When Windows 10 was first released, the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error was extremely common, and the reason for this was a SATA AHCI Controller Driver conflict. You can resolve this by switching to the default option as it is more stable. Here are the steps to do so:
- Press Win + R, type
devmgmt.msc, and press Enter.
- Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers section and double-click the controller.
- Switch to the Driver tab, click on Driver Details, and check that the driver label is
- If it is different, such as
storahci.sysfor instance, you must update the driver manually and switch to the Standard Controller. To do so, press Update Driver in the Driver tab.
- Select Browse my computer for drivers.
- Click on the Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer option.
- Select SATA AHCI Standard Controller, press Next and follow the on-screen instructions.
- Restart your PC to complete the change.
Update / Roll Back Device Drivers
The display, audio, network, and chipset drivers are usually the culprits behind the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error. But keep in mind that the error isn’t limited to them. If updating or rolling back these drivers doesn’t help, you may need to do the same for every other driver until you identify the faulty one. Here are the steps to do so:
- Press Win + X and select Device Manager from the contextual menu.
- Right-click the device driver you want to update and select Update Driver.
- Select Search automatically for drivers and follow the on-screen instructions.
If you suspect that updating a driver led to DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION in the first place, you should follow these steps instead:
- Double-click the device you’re trying to roll back.
- Switch to the Driver tab and click on Roll Back Driver.
In such cases, you should use Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) to remove all traces of the current driver, and then clean install a stable version of the Display Driver. We recommend reading How to Rollback NVIDIA Drivers for step-by-step instructions regarding this.
Upgrade HDD/SSD Firmware
Keeping any device’s firmware updated is necessary not just for performance and functionality but also to prevent issues such as the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error. The steps listed below are for upgrading an SSD’s firmware, but the same applies to HDDs as well:
- Press Win + R, type
devmgmt.msc, and press Enter.
- Expand the Disk Drives section and double-click the SSD.
- Switch to the Details tab and select Hardware Ids in the Property section.
- Check the top value. The number at the end is your SSD’s firmware revision.
- Search <SSD Model> Firmware Update online and check if there’s a more recent firmware revision available on the manufacturer’s website.
- If an upgrade is available, download and install it. Most manufacturers will have a dedicated software that does this for you.
As the drive failure progresses, you’ll encounter more and more issues, and eventually, the hard drive will fail completely. As such, it’s best to get the drive checked by a professional and back up the drive’s contents while they’re still accessible.
As this is a rare scenario, you should try the other solutions from our guide before concluding that the HDD/SSD is failing. Nonetheless, it is something to consider, especially in the case of very old drives (10+ years).
Update BIOS / UEFI
Outdated firmware is a common reason for BSOD errors such as DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION. Updating the BIOS / UEFI has resolved this issue for a lot of users, and we recommend that you do the same.
We already have detailed articles on how to perform a USB BIOS Flashback, update Gigabyte BIOS, and update BIOS without CPU. Please read these as appropriate for step-by-step instructions on updating the BIOS / UEFI.
User Reported Fixes
One user reported that he faced the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error on multiple computers. An outdated sound card driver was the issue on one of them, while an iSCSI driver conflict caused this error on the second PC.
Another user reported that deleting the Virtual Wi-Fi Cards from Device Manager fixed the issue for him.
Multiple users on the Samsung forums have reported that having Samsung Magician Drivers on their system without a Samsung Drive led to this error.
A Dell user reported that he fixed this issue on his laptop by updating the drivers for the Thunderbolt Dock.
At this point, it should be pretty clear what the recurring element is. Identifying the problematic driver and uninstalling or updating it as appropriate is the most effective way to resolve the DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error.
Can GPU cause DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION?
The GPU itself is unlikely to cause this error, but a problematic GPU Driver, on the other hand, is one of the most common reasons behind this error. To resolve this, you should completely remove the current driver and install a recent stable version. We’ve detailed how to do this in the guide above.
Does Undervolting or Overclocking cause DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION?
Undervolting or overclocking modifies the power configurations of your system. If the issue seems to be the Power Management driver, then yes, undervolting or overclocking could’ve caused this. In this case, clearing the CMOS and updating BIOS will be helpful.
Overclocking is known to cause overheating, which is another potential reason for this error. As such, we recommend monitoring the CPU temperature. 80° C to 90° C is kind of a grey zone as the CPU temperature can reach this range during intensive tasks like gaming, but anything above 90° C is a definite no-go.
To conclude, it is possible that undervolting or overclocking can cause DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION, but that possibility is very slight, and usually, these aren’t things you need to be concerned about.