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Fix the Thread Stuck in Device Driver error in Windows

Out of all the errors you can get with Windows device drivers, the thread stuck in device driver error is one of the most serious ones. The reason is that this error results in a blue screen of death (BSOD), which requires a PC restart.

What is the Thread Stuck in Device Driver error?

As the name suggests, the error basically means that the device driver software is stuck in a loop waiting for a hardware device to respond. Although this could be caused by the hardware device itself, in most cases, it is the result of a problem with the device driver software.

Thread Stuck in Device Driver Error

The error can occur on all Windows versions and is often seen with high-utilization types of processing, like gaming, or high CPU or GPU type of processing.

Once you see the error, you’ll want to fix the error.

Here is what you can try.

Steps to Fix the Thread Stuck in Device Driver error

There are a number of things you can try to solve the error. We’ll list them in sequence, so you can spend the least amount of time possible in solving the driver error.

1 – Update Windows

This may look like an obvious step, but it is so easy to overlook pending updates in Windows, especially in the latest Windows versions. So, make sure to go into the Settings (or Control Panel), and check for Windows Updates (1) and (2).

Check for Windows Updates

Tip: make sure to check for any optional updates (3), as Microsoft does not push all driver updates as mandatory! Optional driver updates will show here.

2 – Run the Troubleshooter

If you are running Windows 10 or Windows 11, you can try running the Troubleshooter from the Windows Settings. These built-in troubleshooters will check your system for common, known problems.

If a recommended troubleshooter is shown, (like the BSOD Troubleshooter), click the Run the troubleshooter button. If there is no recommendation, click the Additional troubleshooters link to pick one manually.

Apart from running the troubleshooter, Microsoft also recommends using the GetHelp app.

3 – Update your drivers

Even though you ran Windows Update, you may still be missing some important driver updates. Examples are:

  • drivers that are not distributed by Microsoft (non-WHQL)
  • drivers with newer generic device support that are not limited to specific hardware manufactures
  • drivers that are incompatible with the supporting software (like control panels)

It is best to check for additional driver updates. You can manually visit your PC manufacturer’s website and look for your PC model and any available driver update.

We recommend using our free driver finder software. DriverFinder will scan your PC for hardware devices and find the latest version of available drivers compatible with your Windows version. Simply download and install to make sure the latest driver is available for the device.

Tip: In some cases, it can be required to update the BIOS of your PC. Older BIOS versions may limit compatibility with newer Windows versions. Simply visit your PC manufacturer’s support website and see if an updated BIOS version is available for your model.

4 – Reinstall the device

Using the Windows Device Manager, it is possible to uninstall a device (and optionally the driver). When Windows restarts, the device is then reinstalled. This can sometimes help with the device and driver configuration.

Simply start the Device Manager by searching for it in the Windows search bar. Then select the device that is causing the device error. Right-click the device, and in the popup menu select Uninstall device.

Next, restart your PC and check if the error persists.

5 – Analyze the system logs

Unfortunately, this process requires technical skills. The first step is to look at the event viewer. This Windows software can help you pinpoint the cause of the thread stuck in device driver error. Looking through the System events, you can often pinpoint the device linked to the error. This in turn can then let you know which troubleshooter to run, or which driver to update.

Apart from the Event viewer, you can look at the minidump.

When a serious error occurs, like the thread stuck in device driver error, 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 in it and have an extension .dmp. If no such file is created, check the configuration for creating minidumps.

These crash dump files when generated as a result of the THREAD STUCK IN DEVICE DRIVER 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.

6 – Check the hardware

As mentioned earlier, the error is not often caused by a hardware error. But if you recently made changes to your system, like changing the video card, or adding memory, it is good to double-check. Make sure all hardware is properly inserted and compatible with your motherboard.

For disks, check the cables that connect them to the motherboard or disk controller.

7 – Disable GPU acceleration

The graphics processor is used for hardware acceleration by default. Disabling it, and effectively switching to CPU-based processing, can help solve the problem as well.

In Windows, open the Settings, and then select System -> Display. Then scroll down and select Graphics or Graphics settings.

Toggle the option Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling from On to Off.

It is possible that this option is overruled by your display control software. For Nvidia, you can check the PhysX settings in the NVIDIA Control Panel. Switch it to CPU to disable the use of the GPU.

Note: disabling hardware acceleration can have a significant impact on the graphics performance. Even if this is a solution, it is best to look for an updated, compatible driver to enable the hardware acceleration again.

Hopefully with all these steps you will be able to solve the thread stuck in device driver error and prevent further blue screen occurences.


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.


Depending on the Windows version, you could also see the 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. Stop errors causing blue screens 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.


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 hibernating 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 non-expected behavior from a device driver. This can either mean 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 Driver Power State Failure error

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

The most automated, hands-off approach is to use the Windows Troubleshooter. It is available in the latest Windows versions, and can be started from the Settings. Microsoft is also recommenind the GetHelp app to automatically find solutions to Windows problems.

To find more information on the cause of the driver power state failure manually, you can use the Event viewer and something called a minidump.

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 in it and have an extension .dmp. If no such file is created, check the configuration for creating minidumps.

These crash dump 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


Once you know which driver caused the error, you can take action. To identify the driver in a minidump file, look for the .SYS file extension. A few examples:

BTHUSB.SYSBluetooth device
RTWLANE.SYSRealtek Wireless LAN 802.11 PCI-E Adapter
IntcSST.SYSIntel® Smart Sound Technology
HIDIR.SYSInfrared HID Device

In most cases the .SYS file name will be a good indication of the device name to look for in the Device Manager. If it is not clear, simply do an online search for the file name to identify the device.

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 rollback.
    Roll Back Driver Confirm

If there is no option to roll back the driver, that means the original driver is installed. The option in that case, 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 or device 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 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 first need to install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit.

Note: Both commands can take some time to complete.

Disable power saving altogether

In general, disabling the power saving is not the desired option, but it can actually be used to solve the DRIVER POWER STATE FAILURE error. By disabling all power-saving options, no power changes take place, and as a result, devices do not cause this error.

You can use the Control Panel in Windows to change the power settings.

  1. Open the Control Panel by pressing the Windows + R keys and typing “control panel” in the Run box. Press Enter to confirm.
  2. In the Control Panel click the option Power Options.
    Note: You may need to change the View by option from Category to Large icons or Small icons.
    Control Panel Power Options
  3. In the power plan selection pick either Balanced or High performance.
  4. Next, click the Change plan settings link for the selected option.
    Change power plan settings
  5. In the Edit Plan Settings window, change the time for the options Turn off the display and Put the computer to sleep to Never.
    Keep display on and no sleep mode
    Note: The On battery options will only show for laptops and portable devices.
  6. Next, click the link Change advanced power settings.
  7. In the Power Options window, open up the PCI Express category, click the Link State Power Management and select the option Off to disable it.
    disable link state power management
  8. If there is a USB or Wireless category, also disable power management in those, or set it to maximum performance.
  9. Click OK to close the Power Options window.
  10. Click Save changes to close the Edit Plan Settings window and update the changed settings.

Keep in mind that this is more of a workaround than an actual solution. Even if you can prevent the error from happening, the core cause of the error is still unaddressed. It is best to still pinpoint the device or driver causing the issue and fix that, so the power management can be enabled again.

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 the next step.
  • 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 to a previous system restore point is similar to a driver rollback.
  • 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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