How to solve a DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE Error

Blue screen errors in Windows are notorious. There are different causes, but in general, they are serious errors. When you see a DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE error on the blue screen the error is caused by a device driver.

DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE

Depending on the Windows version, you could also see stop error code  0x0000009F.

What is a Blue Screen Error?

Blue Screen Of Death (or BSOD in short) errors are caused by stop errors. These are the types of errors that cause the operating system (Windows) to crash. These type of errors have been in existence since Windows XP.

Since these errors are critical, the blue screen is shown with an indication of the stop error details. A stop error code, which can be a code or description is shown to inform the user. Further processing is halted to prevent damage or data loss if things were to continue processing.

Causes for the DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE error

This error indicates that the PC has an inconsistent power state. Typically this happens when the PC changes its power mode, going from sleep or hibernate to an active state or the other way around.

When a power transition happens, the hardware in the PC is of course affected. To communicate the power state change, Windows tells the hardware to change accordingly. This is where device drivers come into play. Communication from Windows to the hardware happens through the device drivers.

So essentially the error is caused by a non-expected behavior from a device driver. That can either be that the hardware itself is causing it, or there is a problem with the driver.

What to do to fix it?

Although it might seem strange, in many cases the problem is not consistent and can be a one-time occurrence. Simply letting the PC reboot might result in Windows restarting without problems.

Considering the severity of the error, however, it is best to find out the cause and try to solve the issue. Device drivers operate at a high-security level in the operating system. This is why Windows will not keep running, but stops and shows the error.

Troubleshooting the error

To see which driver, and as a result, which hardware device, has caused the error we need to find more details.

When a stop error occurs, Windows creates a log file called a minidump. These files are stored in a folder called Minidump in the system root (typically C:\Windows\Minidump). The minidump filename will have the date it in and have an extension .dmp.

These files when generated as a result of the DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE error will often contain the filename, which in turn can help pinpoint the driver.

Reading and analyzing a minidump file is a rather technical process. Luckily tools are available that can read minidump files and show the result in a more user-friendly way. Try BlueScreenView or WhoCrashed.

WhoCrashed minidump analysis

Fixing the error

Once you know which driver caused the error, you can take action.

The first step is to roll back the driver for that device using the Device Manager. This will undo the most recent update of the driver and bring back the previous (hopefully stable) version.

  1. Open the Device Manager.
  2. Locate the device that caused the stop error.
  3. Right-click the device, and in the popup menu click Properties.
    Device Driver Properties
  4. In the device properties window, select the Driver tab.
  5. Click the Roll Back Driver button.
    Roll Back Driver
  6. Click the Yes button to confirm the driver roll back.
    Roll Back Driver Confirm

If there is no option to roll back the driver, the other option is to update the driver for the device to a newer version. Driver updates are released to fix know issues and make sure the driver is compatible with the latest Windows version. So installing an updated version of the driver can also help solve the DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE error.

Driver not known

If the minidump did not provide the name of the driver that caused the stop error, you need a different approach to solving the issue.

The first step is to roll back drivers for any new devices, or updated driver versions.

For updating drivers, you can use DriverFinder. The program will automatically find the latest versions of device drivers for all hardware devices present in your system.

If rolling back and updating does not fix the problem, here are two more suggestions to fix stop errors in general.

  • Run a Windows check for missing or corrupt Windows components using the Deployment Image Servicing (DSIM).
    Open a Command Prompt window with administrative privileges, and then type: DSIM /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth and press Enter.
  • Run a system scan to fix any Windows system file issues.
    For this, again you need to open a Command Prompt window with administrative privileges, and type: SFC /scannow at the prompt. Wait for the command to finish after pressing Enter.
    sfc scannow

It is suggested to run these commands in this sequence since the DSIM service is a more recent option with better results for the latest Windows versions. Please note that you will need an active Internet connection for the first command. For Windows versions older than Windows 10, you will need to install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit.

Both commands can take some time to complete.

Windows will not start

If the DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE error is happening consistently, Windows might not start, or run long enough for you to take action. In that case, there are a few things to try:

  • Unplug external devices. The error is often caused by USB devices, so disconnecting external storage devices is essential in this case.
    After this, you can try starting Windows normally, and if that still does not work, try step 2.
  • Start Windows in Safe Mode.
    Safe Mode is a Windows state where not all device drivers are loaded. This way you will be able to make changes that are not otherwise possible.
  • Use a System Restore point to bring Windows back to a previous state.
    If System Restore is active, driver updates are generally proceeded by Windows creating a system restore point. So reverting back to a previous system restore point is similar to a driver roll back.
  • Reinstall Windows. Not something anybody wants, but as a last resort, this has to be mentioned. Reinstalling Windows will ensure that all drivers are original versions and device configuration is reset. Make sure to make a backup of your data first!

Once you have Windows running again, you can roll back any new drivers as mentioned earlier, or update drivers depending on their version.

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Author: Anthony Danes

Hi Folks! I'm Anthony Danes and I'm a Technical Writer right over at PCAuthorities.com, where I've been guest writing since 2007! I grew up with PCs and Windows, and have been a full-time programmer in the past. This has made writing about anything 'tech' a natural by-product :)

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