How to troubleshoot ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC?

October 3, 2019 |

greater than 14 minutes

The Windows operating system has many Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) errors. While each error points to a different problem, they’re equally annoying because they appear the same. Most users panic simply because their screens turn blue well before they could pull themselves together enough to read the fine print on their screens.

BSODs are indications that an error – a fatal one – caused Windows to crash. Whenever such a screen appears, you must reboot your computer to make it go away. This settles the issue in most cases, but the error returns whenever the glitch that triggered it occurs again.

These STOP codes, as BSODs are usually referred to, have been around since Windows XP and continue to grace the monitors of Windows 10 users. While Windows 10 blue screens seem a bit less frightening without the wall of codes and technical jargon, it still blocks access and imposes a restart.

Thankfully, blue screen errors can be fixed, provided you have the right information on your hands. One of the upsetting blue screen errors that have been a source of worry to many Windows 10 users is the ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC STOP code. This error normally means that a system process is trying to get away with an illegal DPC routine.

While the BSOD seems like much, with the right fix, you can easily make it go away. This article is stuffed with guides and workarounds on how to get rid of the ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC STOP code, and we’ll also be showing you the causes of the error.

What Is the ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC BSOD?

The ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC Blue Screen error signals a fatal system crash, just like other BSODs. This particular error, though, is connected to Deferred Procedure Calls (DPCs). A DPC, in lay terms, is a Windows mechanism that allows applications to delay the execution of certain tasks so that the CPU can handle more pressing system requests. Such a case usually occurs during System Interrupts.

DPC objects are responsible for implementing DPCs, and each device object is given a DPC object by the system. Drivers register DPC routines to request that a pressing task be handled. When this happens, the DPC object will be initialized by your computer. The blue screen error will occur when a driver or another kernel mode application tries to implement an illegal DPC routine.

What Causes the ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC Blue Screen?

The blue screen primarily occurs when Windows senses an illegal DPC routine, but there are diverse underlying system problems that can cause this to happen. We believe that you should know the possible reasons behind this Blue Screen error, as it’ll give you clarity on how to address the issue. You’ll also know how to be careful and what not to do in the future if you’re going to prevent such an issue from happening again.

Here are the main root causes of the blue screen:

Device Driver Problems

Drivers are the main system components that attempt DPC routines. Normally, each device is assigned a DPC object. This means that your driver has a defined way to initiate a DPC routine without triggering issues. However, if the driver becomes faulty, it will likely attempt to do things the wrong way, causing Windows to crash and produce the error.

Bad drivers can also cause communication problems between your operating system and the device in question, triggering a lot of errors. Many users were able to rid their systems of the blue screen by fixing the affected device driver, and we’ll be showing you how to fish out the driver and fix it.

Corrupt or Missing System Files

System files play a role in DPC routines, just as they are involved in just about anything that happens on your system. The blue screen might be occurring because a required system file is missing or corrupted. This is a serious problem, but it’s one that can be resolved. Some users were directed to scan their computers for corrupt or missing system files and replace these files once they’re found, and it so happened that that got rid of the blue screen. We’ll show you how to apply this fix later in the article.

Third-Party Applications

Normally, third-party programs are meant to work hand-in-hand with device drivers to perform the tasks that they’re designed for. That said, some of these programs tend to cause glitches and prompt drivers to attempt illegal DPC routines, prompting Windows to crash in the process. Resolving the issue, in this case, involves disabling or removing the responsible program.

Faulty RAM

Your system memory is one of the most important components on your computer, as it feeds your processor the tasks it should handle. One or all of your RAM sticks might go bad and mess things up, leading to the Blue Screen error. To troubleshoot your system memory, you’ll have to use the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool as other users did. If you don’t know how to run the tool, we’ve got you covered.

Hard Disk Issues

Another possible culprit for the issue is a faulty hard drive. A disk with bad sectors might prevent Windows from reading certain files and logs which might be related to DPC routines.

Also, some users found that having an SSD and HDD on one computer might be causing the issue, as certain brands and models don’t go well with each other.

How to Fix the ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC Error

Resolving this particular BSOD on your computer involves fixing the root cause of the problem. As you know by now, there are different causes of the error, which means that what’s plaguing your system will likely be different from what’s wrong in the computers of other users. So, work your way through the methods in this article to find out which fix will be most effective on your system.

Remove Acronis

The first step you should take is to uninstall Acronis if you have it on your system. If you don’t have the program, skip to the next step.

Acronis is software that helps users gain access to backup, disaster recovery, and other cloud-based services such as file sharing, sync, and remote data access. The product provides many benefits, but it might be costing you access to your system.

It could be that Acronis is having compatibility issues with your current Windows 10 build because the program has become obsolete. Try updating it and check if the problem persists. If the update doesn’t solve the issue or if you’re no longer using the service, the best thing to do is to remove it from your system.

Follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Settings app by opening the Start menu and clicking on the cog icon.
  2. Click on Apps after the home screen of Settings appears.
  3. Go to the search box under Apps and features and type “Acronis” (without the quotes).
  4. Once the program comes up, click on it, then click on the Uninstall button that fades out under it.
  5. Follow the subsequent prompts to complete the process, then reboot your system.

Scan and Replace Faulty System Files

Another main reason for BSOD errors is missing or corrupted system files. Most times, Windows crashes and produces the Blue Screen error when it tries and fails to access a core system file to perform an operation. System files can easily become corrupted or go missing due to malware infection. It’s also possible that you might have deleted a file by mistake.

To resolve the problem, in this case, run the System File Checker. Confirm if you have a broken or corrupted system file and replace it. On Windows 10, SFC works hand-in-hand with the DISM (inbox Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool. The steps below will show you how to run the tool:

  1. Launch the Run dialog box by punching the Windows logo key and the R key simultaneously.
  2. Once Run opens, type “CMD” (without the quotes) into the text box and tap Ctrl + Shift + Enter.
  3. Click on Yes when you’re asked to confirm whether you want to run Command Prompt as an administrator.
  4. Type the line below into the black screen and hit the Enter key. This command line will run the DISM tool and use the Windows Update utility to download the files that SFC requires to replace corrupt or missing files:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

If this command line fails to provide the files via Windows Update, insert a Windows 10 installation DVD or other bootable media and run the command line below:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:X:\Source\Windows /LimitAccess

Replace “X:\Source\Windows” with the path to the DVD or installation media that you inserted.

  1. Now, run the SFC tool by typing the line below into the black screen and hitting the Enter key:

sfc /scannow

  1.       If you see a completion message that reads, “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them,” reboot your system and check for the error.

Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

RAM issues often produce BSOD errors, and the ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC STOP code happens to be one of them. Faulty system memory might cause some processes to attempt a wait operation from a DPC routine. This means that illegitimate processes might attempt to jump the line and delay other critical tasks, causing Windows to crash and produce the error. To strike out the possibility that you RAM has gone bad, use the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool.

The guide below will show you how to run the tool:

  1. On your keyboard, press and hold the Windows logo key, then punch the R key to launch the Run dialog box.
  2. Once the Run window shows up in the bottom-left area of your screen, type “control panel” (without the quotes), then tap the Enter key.
  3. Click on System and Security once the Control Panel window appears.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the System and Security window, then click on Administrative Tools.
  5. You will now see a File Explorer window, showing shortcuts to different Windows administrative tools.
  6. Go to the bottom of the Administrative Tools folder and double-click Windows Memory Diagnostic.

Helpful Tip: In the future, you can cut to the chase and use the search function beside the Start menu to look for the tool and launch it. You can also launch it by typing “mdsched.exe” (without the quotes) into the Run dialog box and hitting Enter.

  1. Once the Windows Memory Diagnostic mini-window opens, click on “Restart now and check for problems (recommended).” You should note that once you click on this option, you’ll be giving up access to your computer until the tool completes its check.

If you choose the second option (Check for problems the next time I start my computer), you’ll also lose access to your system when next you boot up your system.

Your system will boot up to the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool’s screen. Allow the tool to do its job, as it might need several minutes to complete the test. A progress bar will be there to indicate how far the test has gone, and you’ll see a Status message that will report any error found during the test.

Once the test is complete, your computer will restart automatically, and the tool will display the test results again, in case you didn’t catch it on the Windows Memory Diagnostic screen. That said, some users reported they didn’t see the results after their computers restarted.

You can still check things out, using the Event Viewer.

  1. Press and hold the Windows key, then tap the X key.
  2. Click on Event Viewer in the menu that shows up on the left side of your screen.
  3. You can also launch the Run dialog box, type “eventvwr.msc” (no quotes), then hit Enter.
  4. Once the Event Viewer window appears, navigate to the left pane, expand Windows Logs, then click on System.
  5. In the middle pane of the Event Viewer window, you’ll find different event entries.
  6. Head over to the right pane of the window and click on Find.
  7. Type “Windows memory diagnostics” (no quotes) and click on the Find Next button.
  8. The result of the test will be under General.

If the tool reports that your RAM is problematic, then you need to replace it. If you have more than one RAM stick, try removing one and check if the other produces the error. Try this for every other RAM stick and replace the one that triggers the BSOD.

Fix Faulty Device Drivers

Device drivers are pieces of software that serve as conduits between your operating system and the devices connected to your computer. If any driver is faulty, this might cause a communication breakdown between Windows and the device, triggering the blue screen error. Drivers can become corrupt or outdated or may go missing and cause this issue. To fix this problem, scan your computer for incompatible, corrupt, outdated, or missing drivers and update them.

You can either use a third-party program to detect and update the problematic drivers easily or go through the driver verifier to scan for faulty drivers, then use Device Manager to update them. We’ll show you how to fix your drivers, using both methods.

Fixing Problematic Drivers, Using Third-Party Software

Auslogics Driver Updater is a program dedicated to checking for outdated, missing, or corrupt drivers and installing their latest versions. The tool is compatible with Windows 10 and doesn’t cause glitches or interferences. It will update your device drivers from a database that is regularly updated with recent versions of manufacturer-vetted drivers.

Follow these steps to scan and update your drivers, using Auslogics Driver Updater:

  1. Download the tool from this web page.
  2. Navigate to the Downloads folder or open the folder where you saved the program and run the installer.
  3. Select the language you prefer from the drop-down and click on the Install button.
  4. Once the program is installed, it will launch automatically and start scanning your computer for faulty drivers.
  5. You can also click on the Start Scan button.
  6. Once the scan is complete, click on the Update button to install the latest versions of the problem drivers that the tool detected.
  7. Once the process is complete, reboot your system and check for the BSOD.

Fixing Faulty Drivers, Using Driver Verifier and Device Manager

You can check for drivers that are incompatible with your OS or are configured incorrectly, using the built-in Driver Verifier Manager. Once you use this tool to fish out these drivers, you can then use the Device Manager to install the updated versions of the problem drivers.

Before you start, it’s important to note that Driver Verifier Manager can trigger blue screen errors once activated. These errors are normally meant to indicate the problematic driver, but they can lead to an endless loop of BSODs whenever your system restarts. That said, make sure you create a restore point and have a bootable media on hand to regain access to your computer if you get blocked out.

Follow these steps use the Driver Verifier:

  1. Press the Windows and R keys on your keyboard together to launch Run.
  2. After Run opens, type “verifier” (without the quotes) into the text box and click on the OK button.
  3. Click on Yes in the User Account Control window.
  4. Once the Driver Verifier Manager window appears, select the “Create custom settings (for code developers)” option and click on the Next button.
  5. On the next screen, you’ll see a list of tests that you can perform to check your drivers. Check the boxes beside each text, leaving out the “Randomized low resource simulation” and “DDI compliance checking” boxes, then click on the Next button.
  6. Select the radio button for “Select driver names from a list,” then click on Next.
  7. Once you get to the next page, select all the third-party drivers under “Select drivers to verify” and leave out the Microsoft drivers.
  8. Click on the Finish button and allow Windows to reboot your computer.
  9. The Driver Verifier will now be enabled. It will produce a blue screen, showing you the file involved.
  10. Reboot your system, open Driver Verifier Manager again, then select “Delete existing settings” and click on Finish to disable the tool and prevent it from producing the blue screen again.

Now, go to Device Manager and update the driver indicated on the Blue Screen:

  1. Use the Windows + R key combination to summon the Run dialog box.
  2. Once Run opens, type “devmgmt.msc” (no quotes) into the text field and click on OK.
  3. Once Device Manager opens, locate the driver, right-click it, then click on Update Driver.
  4. Click on “Search automatically for updated driver software” after the Update Driver window opens.
  5. Windows will now search for the updated driver software of the device on the internet and download and install it.
  6. Repeat this process for other drivers that you found to be corrupt.

You can also download and install your drivers manually, but doing this can be stressful as you’ll have to identify each device and search for the matching driver on the website of the device’s manufacturer.

Run the Chkdsk Tool

Bad sectors on your hard disk drive are never good news for your system. Apart from reducing your system’s speed by making it difficult for your OS to access some files, this issue is responsible for lots of other errors and is a possible cause of the ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC Blue Screen error. To make sure your hard disk isn’t behind the problem, run the CHKDSK tool to scan for damages on your hard drive.

You can run the tool, using the normal Windows GUI or via Command Prompt. We’ll show you how to use both methods.

Run the Chkdsk Tool via File Explorer

  1. Press the Windows key and hold it, then tap the X key.
  2. Select File Manager from the menu that pops up right above the Start button.
  3. Go to the left pane of the File Explorer window after it appears, then click on This PC.
  4. Navigate to the right pane, right-click on the drive you want to scan for faults, then select Properties.
  5. Switch to the Tools tab once the Properties dialog opens.
  6. Click on the “Check” button under Error Checking once you get to the Tools tab.
  7. Click on the Scan Drive option if you see the message that reads, “We haven’t found any errors on this drive. You can still scan the drive for errors if you want.”
  8. You can continue using your hard disk during the scan process, but it’s recommended that you don’t. If any error is found on your disk, the tool will display the following message at the end of the check:

“Restart your computer to repair file system. You can restart right away or schedule the error fixing on next restart.”

If the utility doesn’t find any error, it’ll display the “Windows successfully scanned the drive. No errors were found” message instead.

To run the tool via Command Prompt, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows logo key and hold it, then punch the R key to launch Run.
  2. Once Run opens, type “CMD” (no quotes) into the text box, then press the Ctrl, Shift, and Enter keys simultaneously.
  3. Click on Yes when a dialog box prompts you for permission.
  4. Once the elevated Command Prompt window appears on your screen, enter the command line below:

chkdsk C: /f /r /x

The “/f” parameter will prompt the tool to fix any error it finds, “/r” will make the tool check for bad sectors and recover any information that is still readable, and the “/x” parameter will dismount the partition or volume that you’re checking before the scan starts to run.

Restore Windows

If other fixes failed to resolve the issue, a system restore should help you remove it. The BSOD might be connected to a recent change you made to your computer, such as a software upgrade, installation or uninstallation; or a driver installation, update, or removal. Whatever the case, restoring your system will take you back to a previous configuration where the BSOD never existed. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the search utility, using the Windows + S combo.
  2. Type “Restore” (no quotes) into the text box, then click on Create a Restore Point in the results.
  3. The System Protection tab of the System Properties window will appear.
  4. Click on System Restore.
  5. After the System Restore wizard shows up, click on the Next button.
  6. Now, choose a restore point (a date before you started experiencing this issue), then click on Next again and allow Windows to complete the process.
  7. Once your system reboots, the issue should be resolved.

Conclusion

You should now be able to use your system without fright or fear. If the BSOD still comes up, then a clean installation of Windows should do the trick, though we’re confident you won’t need to do that after applying the fixes above. Use the comments section if you wish to share your thoughts on the ATTEMPTED_SWITCH_FROM_DPC problem.

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