How to Fix Watchdog Errors on Windows PC
If you have ever encountered a blue screen of death (BSOD) with the message "DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION" or "WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR" on your Windows PC, you may have wondered what caused it and how to fix it. In this article, we will explain what watchdog errors are, what causes them, and how to troubleshoot them.
What are watchdog errors?
A watchdog is a timer that is used to detect hardware or software lockups. A watchdog timer counts down and, if it ever reaches zero, it will assume the system has frozen and will take corrective action (such as by rebooting the computer). In order to prevent this from happening, a process will periodically reset the watchdog, usually once every few seconds.
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There are two types of watchdogs: software and hardware. A software watchdog is designed to detect userspace (user programs) freezing or otherwise becoming unresponsive. It's only capable of working if the kernel (the core of the OS) is still functional. A hardware watchdog is usually built into the motherboard and will detect a system lock up no matter what, as a frozen or crashed computer will stop resetting it, causing it to force the system to restart.
A watchdog error occurs when the watchdog timer expires and triggers a BSOD. This means that something has prevented the watchdog from being reset, indicating a serious problem with the system. The error code and message may vary depending on the type of watchdog and the cause of the problem. For example, "DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION" means that a deferred procedure call (DPC), which is a low-priority task executed by the kernel, has taken too long to complete. "WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR" means that a hardware error has occurred that cannot be corrected by the Windows Hardware Error Architecture (WHEA).
What causes watchdog errors?
There are many possible causes for watchdog errors, but some of the most common ones are:
Corrupted or outdated drivers: Drivers are software components that allow your operating system to communicate with your hardware devices. If a driver is corrupted or outdated, it may cause conflicts or errors with the hardware or the system, resulting in a watchdog error.
Faulty or incompatible hardware: Hardware devices such as hard drives, memory modules, graphics cards, etc., may malfunction or fail due to various reasons, such as physical damage, overheating, power surges, etc. If a hardware device is faulty or incompatible with your system, it may cause a watchdog error.
Overclocking or undervolting: Overclocking is the process of increasing the speed of your CPU, GPU, or RAM beyond their factory settings, while undervolting is the process of decreasing the voltage supplied to your CPU or GPU. Both processes are done to improve performance or reduce power consumption, but they may also cause instability or damage to your system, resulting in a watchdog error.
Malware infection: Malware is malicious software that can harm your computer or steal your data. Some malware may interfere with your system processes or modify your system files, causing a watchdog error.
System file corruption: System files are essential files that are required for your operating system to function properly. If a system file is corrupted or missing, it may cause a watchdog error.
How to troubleshoot watchdog errors?
The steps to troubleshoot watchdog errors may vary depending on the specific error code and message you receive, but some general steps you can try are:
Update your drivers: You can update your drivers manually by visiting the manufacturer's website and downloading the latest version for your device and operating system. Alternatively, you can use a driver updater tool that can automatically scan your system and update your drivers for you.
Check your hardware: You can check your hardware for any faults or incompatibilities by running diagnostic tools such as Windows Memory Diagnostic for RAM issues or CHKDSK for hard drive issues. You can also try replacing or removing any hardware devices that you suspect may be causing the problem.
Restore your system settings: You can restore your system settings to their default values by resetting your BIOS or resetting your Windows. This may fix any issues caused by overclocking, undervolting, or malware infection.
Repair your system files: You can repair your system files by running the System File Checker (SFC) or the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tools. These tools can scan your system for any corrupted or missing system files and attempt to repair them.
If none of the above steps work, you may need to reinstall your operating system or contact a professional for further assistance.
Watchdog errors are serious errors that indicate a problem with your system. They can be caused by various factors, such as corrupted or outdated drivers, faulty or incompatible hardware, overclocking or undervolting, malware infection, or system file corruption. To fix watchdog errors, you can try updating your drivers, checking your hardware, restoring your system settings, or repairing your system files. If these steps do not work, you may need to reinstall your operating system or contact a professional for further help.
We hope this article has helped you understand what watchdog errors are and how to fix them. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.