Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


  1. #1


    OK so this is more of a soapbox "rant" than an actual BSOD troubleshooting request. Now that I've run Windows 8, 8.1, Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2 on a bunch of different machines--all of which flawlessly run Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, I've made some observations about our little friend, DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION.

    Please bear in mind these are purely my observations from a set of about a dozen machines. Thus it does not qualify as sound science. Nevertheless, after trolling the waters of various forums (including here), Google and Bing, I've come to a disappointing conclusion.

    When Microsoft came out with Windows XP, most folks probably had no idea that it was going to be one of the most robust, fast and solid versions of Windows ever built. Some may argue that it still is, although I think Windows 7 gives XP a run for its money.

    Microsoft stumbled big time with Windows Vista--getting into spats with hardware vendors over driver signing, high resource requirements and a far slower operating system made many folks stick with XP. While I liked Vista because of the cool new features, its slowness bothered me. Windows 7, on the other hand, is what Vista should have been--all the cool features and eye candy, and as fast as XP (granted it required more powerful hardware).

    Then along came Windows 8, and less than a year later Windows 8.1. And again Microsoft dropped the ball. Windows 8 came with some extra baggage that many of us know as DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION, which sadly appears in Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 as well.

    Initially I was impressed with Windows 8, despite the fact that it's touchscreen optimized even on traditional desktops, and it's really fast. And that made me upgrade my servers to Server 2012.

    It didn't take me long to get introduced to DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION--we've met quite a bit, and it pays me visits several times per week, on many different machines. Having the latest drivers doesn't matter. Having a system that's built for Windows 8 doesn't matter. Having the latest firmware for SSDs doesn't matter. Microsoft's infamous DPC watchdog is always lurking in the corner, just waiting to pounce on your Windows session, almost akin to a dog pouncing on a piece of bacon you dropped on the floor.

    Controllers aren't immune...Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, HighPoint Rocket RAID, Dell, HP, you name it. The watchdog is waiting. SSDs...Samsung, Intel, STEC, Kingston, Micron, Plextor, fear not. The watchdog is waiting.

    It appears the DPC watchdog was introduced in Windows 7, but he wasn't let out of the kennel until Windows 8. If you had a kernel debugger attached in Windows 7, it was possible to let the dog out, but who in their right mind would want to let that thing out? With Windows 8, there's no kennel, and the DPC watchdog has free reign of the whole house and yard. (Determining the source of Bug Check 0x133 (DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION) errors on Windows Server 2012 - Ntdebugging Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs)

    What exactly is the DPC watchdog? Well, DPC stands for Deferred Procedure Call, and the job of the watchdog is to pounce--in other words crashes your computer--when it determines a DPC runs even a single tick longer than the watchdog allows. Microsoft doesn't tell you what these hard-coded limits are, but given the number of times I've seen DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION on over a dozen computers with varying controllers, chipsets, drivers, hard drives and SSDs, it would seem that Microsoft has set the limit arbitrarily, and absurdly, low.

    If something is running longer than Microsoft would like, I think a much more logical solution would be to give the user a prompt. Sometimes when a graphics driver hangs and recovers, the screen will flash and you'll get a tooltip in the tray that says something like, "The NVIDIA GeForce driver stopped responding and has successfully recovered." I don't see that in Windows 8 anymore; DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION has taken its place.

    If Microsoft is going to insist on making operating systems which demand more from the system and require ever more faster components, maybe they should put the DPC watchdog back in his kennel. Or, if they insist on letting the dog have free reign of the yard, maybe increase the thresholds DPCs are allowed to consume before the dog pounces. I'm tired of seeing the DPC watchdog treating my computers like there's bacon all over the floor.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Is there something common with all the machines which are plagued with DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION ?. May be a particular software (perhaps an antivirus) ?.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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