How to Fix a Clock Watchdog Timeout Error in Windows 10

What to do when you encounter this blue screen error

Clock Watchdog Timeout is a blue screen error that Microsoft Windows users may encounter. There are a few potential causes and solutions to this rare problem.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, but most information also applies to Windows 8 and Windows 7.

Causes of the Clock Watchdog Timeout Error

Stop errors, or blue screen errors, occur when Windows crashes. When you see the Clock Watchdog Timeout error, the problem usually lies with your processor. Common causes include:

A cooling fan on a circuit board
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The Clock Watchdog Timeout error can occur before or after booting. If you can't log into Windows, try restarting your computer in Safe Mode for troubleshooting. If Windows won't start in Safe Mode, you may need to repair Windows from the Advanced Startup Options menu.

Before troubleshooting your device, you should back up your files to an external drive or cloud storage in case something goes wrong.

How to Fix the Clock Watchdog Timeout Error

Try these steps in order until the problem is resolved:

  1. Use the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. The Windows Memory Diagnostic utility comes with Windows 10. Open the program and choose to restart your computer. Windows will check for any errors and automatically resolve them.

  2. Use System Restore. If you previously created a restore point for your PC, use Windows System Restore to revert back to how your computer was before you started having problems.

  3. Remove overclock settings. Overclocking your GPU can result in impressive graphics performance, but it can also strain your processor. Remove any overclock settings to see if that fixes the issue.

  4. Update Windows. Check for and install Windows updates to make sure you have the latest bug fixes for your operating system.

  5. Update or rollback your PC's drivers. If you've recently updated any hardware drivers, try rolling back the hardware drivers. If you haven't, then try updating your drivers with a program like Driver Reviver.

  6. Disconnect new hardware. Disconnect any hardware you've recently plugged in to your computer and restart Windows. If you determine external hardware to be the culprit, make sure the latest drivers support Windows 10.

  7. Remove recently installed software. If you started seeing the error shortly after installing a new program, try uninstalling it.

  8. Remove recent updates. Check your system's update history and remove any updates that were installed around the time the error started occurring. To prevent the problematic update from installing again, you must turn off automatic updates for Windows 10.

  9. Remove your antivirus software. Some programs designed to stop malware can inadvertently cause blue screen errors. Most antivirus developers offer utilities that completely remove all files and associated registry entries. If this fixes the problem, be sure to install a replacement antivirus tool.

  10. Update your SSD firmware. If you have a solid state drive (SSD), download and install the latest firmware update from the manufacturer's website.

  11. Clean or replace old hardware components. Physically clean your computer with pressurized air. You may also need to replace hardware components such as the motherboard, CPU, or GPU.

  12. Unplug all external drives and reinstall Windows 10. External hardware can cause conflicts during installation, so if you recently upgraded your OS, reinstall Windows 10 with all devices unplugged.

  13. Reset and update your system's BIOS. Resetting the BIOS will restore everything on your PC to its original state. Making a mistake can cause irreparable damage to your PC, so consult your motherboard's manual or the manufacturer's website for guidance.

  14. Troubleshoot in clean boot mode. If you still haven't identified the source of the problem, perform a clean boot to load Windows with the bare minimum drivers and programs it needs to operate. You can then disable individual processes one at a time until the error goes away.

    You must restart your computer after disabling each process for the change to take effect.