How to Fix a DPC Watchdog Violation in Windows 10

A troubleshooting guide for the 0x133 blue screen of death

A DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION error message is usually related to a device driver issue and appears on a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).

The error message is triggered by the DPC Watchdog Timer when it detects a DPC (Deferred Procedure Call) is running past its predetermined runtime.

DPC Watchdog Violation Errors

Blue Screen of Death with the words your pc ran into a problem that it couldn't handle, and now it needs to restart
Blue Screen of Death in Windows 10.

This error is also known by its STOP code 0x00000133 (0x133 for short). You might see the error message or STOP code at seemingly random times or during a particular situation, like when the computer is first booting up or about to shut down, shortly after a Windows or other software update or installation, or while using a particular program or device.

Since DPC Watchdog Violation errors are more often than not caused by a faulty device driver, addressing that is usually the fix. The particular driver to blame isn’t the same for everyone; some people have had luck fixing the storage driver or video card driver.

If DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION isn't the exact message you see with the error or 0x00000133 isn't the STOP code, check our complete list of STOP error codes and reference the troubleshooting information for the message you’re seeing.

How to Fix DPC Watchdog Violation Error in Windows 10

Follow these suggestions to address the easier possible fixes first before moving on to the more advanced steps.

Booting into Safe Mode with networking will be required if you can’t get into Windows because of the blue screen error.

  1. Reboot the computer.  A restart is effortless and should be the first thing you try since it might be a temporary fluke. Plus, restarting tends to fix lots of short-lived problems, which could be the case here.

    If you can’t restart due to the error, hold down the physical power button until the system shuts down, and then wait a minute before starting back up.

  2. Undo any recent changes made to the computer. BSODs tend to happen after a particular thing has changed.

    Depending on the situation, some users have had luck fixing the error by:

    If following one of those tips proves helpful, it's vital to investigate further and avoid repeating that behavior. For example, if your phone plugged into a USB port causes the blue screen error and swapping ports fixes it, try updating related drivers (see below).

  3. Install any outdated/missing drivers. Incorrect or missing drivers is the usual fix for DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION errors.

    If you’re able to identify the device throwing the error, go there first. For example, if using your laptop touchpad causes the blue screen, use a mouse or the keyboard to uninstall that driver, and then download the most up-to-date one from the manufacturer’s website.

    If you’re unsure which driver to update, check all of them with a driver updater tool like Driver Booster.

    Seven outdated drivers listed in Driver Booster
  4. Some people have had issues with the iastor.sys driver. If that's your situation or you want to see if it will fix the error, replace the driver with the Microsoft storahci.sys driver:

    1. Open Device Manager.
    2. Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers category if you see it.
    3. Right-click the controller that has "SATA AHCI" in its name and select Properties
    4. From the Driver tab, select Driver Details. If it says iastor.sys, exit the details window and continue with these steps; otherwise, move on to step 5.
    5. Choose Update Driver > Browse my computer for drivers > Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer
    6. Select Standard SATA AHCI Controller and then Next to start the installation.
  5. The DPC Watchdog Violation error is thrown for some people when the drivers for a wireless plug-and-play USB device aren't cooperating with Windows.

    Try unplugging it or disabling it in Device Manager to see if the BSOD repeats.

    Even if you don't use a wireless USB device or it isn't to blame for the watchdog error, while you're in Device Manager, check for any notifications that could indicate an issue with a different device. You might need to disable it to confirm it's related to the blue screen error.

  6. Install the latest Windows updates. There’s a history of faulty hardware causing DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION errors, and updates provided by Windows have resolved them.

  7. Check for and fix corrupted system files. If you're not sure what, exactly, is causing the BSOD, doing a system-wide check for corrupted system files is the next best step.

Need More Help?

If you don't want to fix this problem yourself, see How Do I Get My Computer Fixed? for a complete list of your support options, plus help with everything along the way like figuring out repair costs, getting your files off, choosing a repair service, and a lot more.

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