Almost every Windows user must have experienced the blue screen of death error at least once. This error renders Windows inoperable and useless until it is fixed. The only option for you is to force reboot the computer. This error appears with different messages and error codes across different version of Windows. For Windows 8 and 10 you see the ‘DPC Watchdog Violation’ error.
DPC is an abbreviation of Deferred Procedure Call. And, Watchdog is a native Windows app that monitors and checks for any bugs on your computer. DPC Watchdog Violation error is caused when Watchdog runs into a bug it probably does not identify or is overwhelmed with. It is considered as a fatal error and is usually caused by outdated or faulty device drivers. Sometimes you may experience this error due to the problem with the hard drive. In this guide we take a look at all the possible scenarios and try to fix this error in question. Keep reading!
REBOOT THE WINDOWS IN SAFE MODE
If you ran into DPC Watchdog Violation error then it means you are seeing the blue screen of death. It also means that you are no longer logged into Windows. In order for the solutions we have laid out below to work you must be logged into the Windows (except Solution 1). So, how do you go about it?
If you haven’t been able to reboot normally after encountering this error, you will need to reboot in the safe mode. You can enter the Safe Mode from the Advanced Boot Options.
When the error appears on the screen, press and hold down the Power button to shut the computer down. Once shut down, press the Power button again once to start reboot.
The moment Windows starts rebooting (when you see the first visual on the screen) press F8 key (you may have to press the key multiple times quickly). You will be presented with the Advanced Boot Options. Choose ‘Safe Mode’ here.
SOLUTION 1: LET THE COMPUTER REBOOT
DPC Watchdog Violation error appears with a message. In fact, the message is more prominent on the screen than the error code itself. The message implies that your computer has encountered a problem and will restart once Windows has completed collecting the error info. You will see the progress in percentage.
So, the first thing you need to do is let the info collection process run its course and allow Windows to restart your PC. There is a pretty solid chance that your computer will reboot normally. If it does not we have other troubleshooting for you.
SOLUTION 2: CHANGE/UPDATE THE SATA ACHI CONTROLLER DRIVER
Rebooting the computer may not fix the error in question. However, changing the SATA ACHI driver is known to have resolved the issue more number of times than any other solution. It’s pretty easy; here is what you need to do:
- Press the Windows + X keys together
- A pop-up menu will appear near the Start menu (usually on the left of the screen on most computers)
- Select ‘Device Manager’ from the menu
- Locate ‘IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers’ on the list and expand it
- Right click on the option SATA ACHI Controller
- Select ‘Properties’ from the pop-up menu
- Click on the ‘Driver’ tab on top on the next window
- Click ‘Driver Details’
- Confirm that iaStorA.sys is listed(if there is storachi.sys in place of iaStorA.sys then jump to Solution 3 below)
- Close the ‘Driver Details’ window and return to the ‘Properties’ window (that you opened in Step 6)
- Click on ‘Update Driver’
- On the next window select ‘Browse my computer for driver software’
- Now click on ‘Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer’
- Select ‘Standard SATA AHCI Controller’
- Click on ‘Next’ button
- Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the update process. It should not take too long
Once the driver has been updated, make sure you reboot your computer. This should take care of the issue for as long as you don’t install a new Windows update.
It is important to keep your Windows up to date. So, promptly install the updates when they are available. In case you encounter the DPC Watchdog Violation error again, repeat the above steps again.
SOLUTION 3: UPDATE STORACHI.SYS
If you see storachi.sys instead of iaStorA.sys in the above solution in step 9 you will again need to install or update the latest driver. It is the outdated drivers that usually tend to trigger the DPC Watchdog Violation error.
One way to update the driver is to do it manually by going the hardware manufacturer’s website. You can download the latest version of the driver and install it quickly on Windows. Although this method is not difficult, but, in order to do that you will need certain level of knowledge of how to download and install the drivers. For laypeople it could get a little tricky.
If you are not sure how to go about it, there is another way. You can install a third-party application on Windows that scans for all the outdated drivers and finds the latest drivers from the trusted sources over the internet.
While there are plenty of such applications out there, I have come to trust Driver Easy the most. This tool is free to download and use, is free or bugs and is totally safe to use. Driver Easy lets you scan and update the drivers with just a couple of clicks.
Go to the developer’s official website https://www.drivereasy.com/ and download this tool.
Driver Easy has an intuitive interface and most of the functions you would need are self-explanatory.
Updating the drivers is very likely to resolve the issue.
SOLUTION 4: DISABLE FAST STARTUP
If you have Fast Startup enabled, it may as well be causing the DPC Watchdog Violation error. This you can take care of easily. Here is what you need to do:
- Use Cortana to find and open Control Panel or navigate to Start > Control Panel
- Select ‘Small Icons’ or ‘Large Icons’ instead of ‘Category’ from the ‘View By’ dropdown menu on the top right of the Control Panel
- Click ‘Power Options’
- Click ‘Choose what the power buttons do’ on the left sidebar
- Click on ‘Change settings that are currently unavailable’
- Uncheck ‘Fast Startup’ for ‘Turn on Fast Startup (recommended)’
Fast Startup lets you reboot your PC faster when it has been shut down. However, it doesn’t affect ‘Restart’.
Even though Windows says keeping Fast Startup is recommended, you may need to turn it OFF in order to resolve the issue at hand. Once the issue is fixed, you can turn it back on.
SOLUTION 5: SCAN YOUR HARD DISK FOR ANY ERRORS
A lot of times DPC Watchdog Violation is caused by a defective segment of a hard disk. This is why it is recommended to run a full disk scan and fix any issues. By doing so you may get rid of the blue screen of death problem. Here are the steps to perform the full disk scan:
- Type in ‘cmd’ (without quotes) in Cortana (Start menu search option)
- Right click ‘Command Prompt’ on the list and select ‘Run as administrator’
- Click Yes when the message appears asking ‘Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?’
- Enter chkdsk /f /r on in the command prompt and hit ‘Enter’ key
- Next press the Y key when it says that Chkdsk will not run at this time as the drive is in use by another program (Windows OS actually) and whether you would like to schedule it to run the next time your computer restarts.
Now when your computer reboots the next time Chkdsk app will run and perform the full disk scan, fixing any issues while doing so.
If you have run into DPC Watchdog Violation error that is accompanied by the blue screen of death then there is a fair chance you might have lost some of your unsaved work. That doesn’t sound good at all. But, the good news is that this error can be fixed for the most part using one of the above methods I have outlined above. I hope you found this troubleshooting guide useful. Please feel free to share your opinions and feedback in the comments section below.