Fix DPC Watchdog Violation error in Windows 10

dpc watchdog violation-windows_10

Windows 10 is a powerful, sophisticated yet user-friendly operating system – a true representation of Microsoft’s goal for a more personal computing experience. Capable of handling even the most resource-intensive applications and providing an optimal computing experience, Windows 10 has become the OS of choice for millions of people around the world. However, despite the fact that Windows 10 was released nearly six years ago, it is still evolving; with each new update, new bugs are discovered and fixed, promising improved performance and stability. But despite all new security patches and performance updates, there has been one annoying yet commonly occurring problem – DPC watchdog violation – a common reason for the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. Responsible for ruining your day and making you question the reliability of your Windows 10 PC, DPC watchdog violation can occur at any time and stop you from accessing your computer. If you too are also experiencing this issue, then you are not alone; however, fortunately, there are ways to fix DPC watchdog violation. With just a few simple steps, you can have your PC functioning normally in no time. Read on to find out the 7 most common causes of DPC watchdog violation and learn how to fix them.

What Is DPC Watchdog Violation Error?

Deferred Procedure Call or DPC is a function provided by a Windows component called Ntoskrnl, which is responsible for handling and scheduling threads running in a kernel-mode. In order to meet the demands of multi-core processors, Ntoskrnl needs a way to efficiently schedule the workloads on the processor cores; one of the functions it can perform is to reschedule and interrupt threads that are not currently being used by the system. It achieves this by checking whether the threads are currently running or not; if the system is busy running other processes or applications, then Ntoskrnl will not schedule any new DPC activity. This is where DPC watchdog kicks in. If Ntoskrnl detects that one of the running threads is waiting for a DPC to be run or has otherwise run out of DPC’s, then it checks whether there are any other active tasks, such as an existing process that may be waiting for an event or notifying something; if there is another task active, then it will continue with its active workloads and send the notification to the specified process or cancel the task and run the thread again. This is essentially how DPC watchdog works. However, there are cases when DPC watchdog cannot distinguish between the idle threads and busy tasks. In such cases, the system may suddenly be flooded with DPC activity from all available cores, causing the system to slow down and eventually crash.

6 Ways To Fix DPC Watchdog Violation error in Windows 10

1. Check All Connected Cables:

In Windows 10, the most common cause of DPC watchdog violations is a faulty hard drive or power cable. If power cables are faulty, worn out, or damaged, they can create a power surge, resulting in a hardware failure. Damaged or improperly connected hard drive cables can render your hard drive inaccessible, resulting in data loss or corruption. As a result, Windows 10 will be unable to access the hard drive’s data. This could result in the failure of a critical Windows 10 component or any background processes, resulting in an uneven distribution of data and a significant increase in the number of invalid blocks, leading in a slowdown in PC performance and, inevitably, a Blue Screen of Death.

2. Replace The Faulty iastor.sys Driver to fix dpc watchdog violation:

iastor.sys is responsible for accessing the hard drive and allowing the Windows 10 operating system to retrieve or delete data on connected storage device. In cases where iastor.sys is corrupted or faulty, it can cause problems with accessing the hard drive and data retrieval. If you suspect that iastor.sys is the cause of your DPC watchdog violation, then you can either replace the faulty iastor.sys driver or apply a Microsoft fix that addresses the specific issue with iastor.sys. To do so, please follow the enlisted steps:

  1. Open device manager.
  2. Click on IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers to expand it and see available option.
  3. Right click on the shown controller.
  4. Click on “Properties”.
  5. Select “Driver” tab and then click on “Update Driver”.
  6. Either let Windows 10 automatically apply the necessary update or manually choose the update by selecting “Browse my computer for driver software”.
  7. Now select “Standard SATA AHCI Controller,” click Next & Close.
  8. Restart your computer and your issues should have been fixed.


3. Check Your Disk:

As this issues is closely related to hardware issues, I would suggest checking the hard drive and associated hardware first. To do so, please follow the enumerated steps:

  1. Click Windows icon in the taskbar.
  2. Search for CMD and click to select the option.
  3. Click on “run as administrator”.
  4. Type this command -> chkdsk C: /f

Remember, /f is crucial as it commands your Windows 10 to fix any errors found on your hard drive, such as bad sectors, logical issues, etc. If you don’t type it, then it will just show you all the errors without actually fixing them.

If you have a modern PC with SSD, professionals recommend that you consider installing latest firmware update made available from your SSD’s manufacturer. This alone should be enough to resolve this issue for most of the users.

4. Update All Your Drivers:

Every computer, old, new, middle age, consists of various essential hardware that must work in tandem with one another to ensure a smooth and efficient performance. If any of the associated hardware is defective or damaged, it can cause the PC to crash at any time, either unexpectedly or in a drastic fashion. So to be on a better side or when faced with DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error, consider updating all the drivers and other system components to their latest version. You can either visit all your PC component’s manufacturer’s website to download the latest driver updates or use any driver updating application to automatically download, install and update your drivers.

5. Keep Your Windows 10 Up-to-date:

The best way to eliminate DPC watchdog violation is to keep your PC up-to-date with the latest security patches and feature updates. As these updates address new and recurring security flaws and bugs, they are necessary to prevent system crashes and in general, protect your system against hacker attacks. Moreover, with new features and improvements in the latest Windows 10, updates are the best way to ensure you get the most out of your PC experience and all its capabilities. To update Windows 10, please follow the enumerated steps:

  1. Click on “Windows System” icon on your taskbar.
  2. Search for updates and click on “check for updates” option.
  3. Click on “check for updates” button and let your Windows connect Microsoft server to find latest patches.
  4. Once downloaded, click on install now button and restart your PC.

windows-update6. Run Full PC Scan With Windows Defender or 3rd Party Antivirus:

Virus, malwares, rootkits, etc. can gain access to your Windows 10’s essential components, corrupt them and cause a system crash. Keeping your Windows 10’s antivirus software up-to-date is one of the best ways to keep your PC free from malicious threats and secure from any harm. While Windows Defender is built-in Windows 10 and comes with built-in cloud based security features, third party antivirus companies such as Norton, Avast, etc. provide an effective and reliable protection against viruses, malware, spyware, rootkits, etc. You can keep your PC protected from such threats by using these programs. In addition to the issues faced by DPC watchdog violation, these programs can also check for other issues like vulnerabilities, infection, security problems, etc. So, consider investing in some premier security applications like these and enjoy the best performance your Windows 10 can offer.

Also See: DPC Watchdog Violation in Windows 11


These are a few tried-and-true solutions for Windows 10 DPC watchdog violation errors. If you carefully follow the steps listed, you’ll soon have your PC operating and performing normally.

This is classified as a software repair so if you would to know how much it would cost to fix this, go here.

If not, be sure to get in touch with us for computer repairs to see how we can help you.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...