How to Fix Driver PNP Watchdog Error on Windows

Critical errors in Windows result in a blue screen showing the error details. The DRIVER PNP WATCHDOG error is one of these types of errors. Depending on the Windows version it will also show error code 0xc1900101. As the error message already indicates, the error is related to a driver and to something called PNP. PNP refers to plug-and-play and is basically a concept that allows devices in computers to be automatically detected and installed.

Driver PNP Watchdog error

The error mostly occurs during a Windows installation or an upgrade. Since the error relates to a driver, which operates on a high-security level in Windows, the error results in the operating system being halted.

Causes for the Driver PNP Watchdog Error

Like any BSOD error on Windows, it is best to check the crash dump or minidump if available. The Microsoft WinDbg tool can be used to analyze a crash dump file. This process will help identify which driver caused the crash. That does not always mean the driver itself is causing the problem, but it helps pinpoint where to look for a solution.

The most common causes for this problem are disk or disk controller related. The inability to read or write data at some point can cause the blue screen error. Disk controllers, USB controllers, Raid controllers, and SATA controllers, all need the right driver to prevent problems. But even a faulty SSD can cause this type of error!

Steps to fix the error

I suggest you also have a look at the article to solve the BSOD related to power state failures. In this, the general approach to fixing BSODs is outlined and many of those steps will apply here.

Windows will not boot at all

If your Windows device does not start at all, this will limit the troubleshooting options. The first thing to try is to start Windows in Safe Mode. If that succeeds, you can execute some, if not all, of the steps in the section Windows will still boot.

If Windows will not start at all, the only options are to use a bootable USB stick for your Windows version.

  1. Make sure you can boot from the USB by configuring the BIOS options.
  2. Make sure you have a UB stick with a bootable copy of Windows on it.
  3. Plug the USB stick into a USB port and reboot the device.
    Boot Windows from USB
  4. When the screen shows Press any key to boot from USB, press a key.
  5. When the Windows install screen comes up select the option Repair your computer in the bottom left. This will restart the device again and get you to Advanced Recovery.
  6. Select the Advanced options to see more troubleshooting options.
  7. Next, select Troubleshoot.
  8. You can now try the Startup Repair option, use the Command Prompt for disk checking options, Uninstall Updates to revert to a previous configuration, change UEFI Firmware settings to configure the hardware of the device, or use System Restore if you have any previous restore point that can be used to restore the system.
    Windows Startup Advanced Options
    Note: For Windows 10, the options are slightly different, but offer similar recovery and repair options.

If none of these steps work, try resetting the BIOS or UEFI to load the default options. The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) feature of the BIOS will allow devices to be configured automatically in most cases, which will ensure correct settings. Apart from that, try the diagnostic options in the BIOS/UEFI to test the hardware. If a problem is found at the hardware level, a component might need to be replaced. Setting a SATA controller to IDE has also helped some people solve this problem.

Although a bit more hands-on, check the cables in the system. A loose connector on any of the internal devices (not just storage related) can cause the error.

If the solutions so far don’t work, the only remaining option is to completely reinstall Windows from the bootable USB. I would recommend formatting (or initializing) the drive you will install Windows on. If there are any problems with the disk they can be detected during that process.

Windows will still boot

If you can still start Windows, there are more options to troubleshoot and fix the Driver PNP Watchdog error. Use the steps below to try and solve the error. The sequence is not critical, as any of these steps can provide the solution to the error depending on the actual cause of the problem.

  1. Use the Disk Manager to make sure the disks in the system are properly detected and file formats are correct.
    Windows 11 Disk Management
    Disk Management can be started by right-clicking the Start menu button in Windows 11 and selecting Disk Management in the menu. It is also accessible in the Computer Management
  2. If you are using an SSD, check your drive with a third-party tool. Most manufacturers provide software for this (e.g. Samsung Magician, SanDisk Dashboard, Intel – Solidigm Storage Tool).
    These tools can tell you if the SSD is functioning properly and if the drivers are working correctly.
  3. Use the standard Windows command line tools to check the disk and check the system files.
    Run a command prompt with administrator-level privileges and then run these commands:
    CHKDSK /F /R
    SFC /SCANNOW
    The first command runs a disk check with options to fix errors on the disk and locate bad sectors. The second command scans for the integrity of the Windows system files and repairs any errors found as far as possible.
    Run chkdsk at Windows restart
    Note: If the drive is in use, you can opt to run the disk check at the next startup. This will happen when you run the chkdsk command on a system drive.
  4. Use the Device Manager to check the device drivers.
    Open the Device Manager from the Start
    In the Device Manager window, right-click the devices and use the popup menu option Update driver to make sure the latest driver is installed for the device.
    Update device drivers
    Start with the devices under the Storage controllers and Disk drives categories.
    If you were able to use the WinDbg tool to pinpoint the driver causing the crash, then focus on that device. It may also be possible that you need to do a driver rollback rather than an update. A newer version of the driver can just as easily cause the error as an older version.

Hopefully, the above tips will help you solve your Driver PNP Watchdog error and enable normal use of Windows. If you have any different experiences with this type of error, including alternate solutions, please do leave a comment.

For help finding any new, missing and updated drivers, we suggest using the DriverFinder software.

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 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.

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 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 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 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

Fixing the DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE error

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
NVRAID.SYSNVIDIA nForce RAID 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 need to install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit.

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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