If you have been using Windows for a decent amount of time, you most probably know what is a Blue-Screen-of-Death (BSOD) error. CLOCK_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT is also one of the BSOD errors in Windows that abruptly shut down your system and restart it.
And just like any other BSOD error, this one too is annoying to experience, especially as this particular one also forcefully restarts your PC. Now, there are several reasons why you might encounter this type of error on your computer.
But the good news is that it is relatively easy to diagnose and at times if the issue is software-based, it is easily fixable as well. However, in case it’s a hardware issue, things can get more tricky and you might need some professional help to resolve the issue on your computer.
Why does CLOCK_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT Error Occur?
As mentioned earlier in the guide, there are a number of reasons why the error can occur on your PC. Though the actual cause can vary from user to user, some of the most common culprits behind this error are a deadlocked CPU, faulty RAM modules, and malicious drivers.
To add to that, please keep in mind that this error can be as much software-based as it can be hardware-based as different fixes have worked for different users. Thus, it is better to diagnose and resolve the software issues as it is relatively much easier when compared to the hardware one.
Now, that you understand the why behind the error, let’s head on to resolving it.
Method 1: Remove any USB devices
Though it might seem like a very elementary fix, it can work wonders. If there are any USB peripherals connected to your PC, like USB drives, hard disks, or any other device connected through the USB port, remove them.
Then, see if the Clock Watchdog Timeout error is resolved. If it does, the connected device might have been the cause of the issue.
Method 2: Run DISM and SFC Scan
Another solution is to run the DISM and SFC scan on your computer. The DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) will make sure that you do not have any corrupt or damaged system files on your PC. Then, the SFC will check the currently installed system image and repair it if need be.
To run the DISM on your system, first, head to the Start Menu and type Terminal to search for it. Then, from the search results, right-click on the ‘Terminal’ tile and select the ‘Run as administrator’ option.
A UAC (User Account Control) window will appear on your screen. If you are not logged in with an admin account, enter the credentials for one. Otherwise, click on the ‘Yes’ button present in the window to proceed.
Then, on the Terminal window, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned code and hit Enter on your keyboard to execute the command.
The DISM command may take up to several minutes depending on the speed of your internet connection. It may also appear stuck at times but it is a normal behavior of the command. Wait patiently till execution completes.
Once completed, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command to invoke the SFC (System File Checker) that will scan your currently installed Windows image and fix the damaged or corrupted files using the one you downloaded in the previous step.
Once the SFC command is finished executing, head to the Start menu and restart your PC. Now after the restart, check if the issue is still present.
Method 3: Update or Install the Missing Drivers
A missing, damaged or malicious driver could also be one of the reasons that you are experiencing this issue on your system. Since updating and/or installing a driver on your system is a very straightforward process, it is worth a try. Moreover, you can choose to update the driver either from the Settings app or the Device Manager.
To install or update the driver from the Settings app, first, head to the Start Menu and click on the ‘Settings’ icon tile present under the ‘Pinned apps’ section to continue. Alternatively, you can press the Windows+I keys together on your keyboard to open the app.
Next, on the Settings window, click on the ‘Windows Update’ tab present on the left sidebar to proceed.
Then, from the right section of the window, click on the ‘Advanced options’ tile present under the ‘More options’ section.
Then, on the next screen, scroll down and click on the ‘Optional updates’ tile present under the ‘Additional options’ section.
After that, locate and click on the ‘Driver updates’ tile to expand it. Then, from the list of the available drivers, locate the available driver and click on the checkbox preceding the individual item. Next, click on the ‘Download & install’ button present at the bottom of the screen to commence the installation of the driver.
You can also install the missing driver using the Device Manager. The process is pretty straightforward. Moreover, if you need to install or update multiple drivers on your system, using the Device Manager would be more convenient.
First, head to the Start Menu and type Device Manager in the menu to perform a search for it. Then, click on the ‘Device Manager’ tile from the search results to open the app.
Note: Just for showcasing the process, we will be updating the ‘Bluetooth’ drivers. You can follow the same process for any other drivers listed in the Device Manager.
After that, from the ‘Device Manager’ window, locate and click on the downward arrow preceding the ‘Bluetooth’ category. Then, from the expanded options, locate the ‘Intel Wireless Bluetooth’ driver and right-click on it to reveal the context menu. Next, click on the ‘Properties’ option to proceed. This will open a separate window on your screen.
From the separately opened window, you can view the current status of the hardware driver present on your PC. In case no driver is detected, the window will also state so. Then, click on the ‘Update driver’ button present right beneath the ‘Device status’ area.
In case you are here to update an already installed driver, click on the ‘Driver’ tab present in the top section of the window. Then, click the ‘Update driver’ button present in the window to proceed. This will open a separate window on your screen.
Form the separately opened window, click on the ‘Search automatically drivers’ option to let the Windows search for the latest driver available on the Microsoft servers.
If you already have a driver update package, click on the ‘Browse my computer for drivers’ option to proceed. This will open a File Explorer window on your screen that you can use to navigate and select the driver package to update.
Once the update/ install has been performed successfully, you might need to restart your PC to apply the changes. You can restart it from the Start Menu.
Method 4: Run Windows Memory Diagnostics
Windows Memory Diagnostics helps you diagnose and find issues with your RAM. As mentioned earlier, there is a high probability that the issue is due to a hardware problem. This fix will help you determine if faulty RAM is the culprit here.
To do so, first, head to the Start Menu and type Memory Diagnostics to perform a search for it. Then, from the search results, click on the ‘Windows Memory Diagnostics’ tile to proceed.
Now, on the ‘Windows Memory Diagnostic’ window, click on the ‘Restart now and check for problems’ tile to proceed. This will immediately restart your computer and check the installed RAM for any error during the PC boot.
Once your PC restarts, Windows Memory Diagnostic window will appear on the screen. Here you can see the results of the previous scan. If a problem is found, you’ll have to replace your memory module.
Method 5: Update Windows to the Latest Build
Typically Windows itself handles all the updates. However, in some cases, it may require your intervention to complete a critical update that may be able to fix the problem for you on your computer.
To update your PC to the latest version, first, head to the Start Menu and click on the ‘Settings’ tile present under the ‘Pinned apps’ section to continue. Otherwise, you can also press the Windows+I keys together to open the app.
Then, on the Settings window, locate and click on the ‘Windows Update’ tab present on the left sidebar of the window to proceed.
Next, from the right section of the window, click on the ‘Check for updates’ button to check for any available updates. In case the updates have already been downloaded, click on the ‘Restart Now’ button to restart your device and apply the updates on your computer.
Once the updates are installed, see if you face the error again.
Method 6: Roll Back to a System Restore Point
If you have recently updated the operating system and/or installed a third-party software on your system after which you have been experiencing this error, there is a high probability of this recent change being the culprit behind the issue.
To restore your PC, first, press the Windows+R shortcut on your keyboard to bring up the ‘Run Command’ utility. Then, type control and hit Enter on your keyboard to proceed. This will open the Control Panel on your machine.
After that, locate and click on the ‘Recovery’ tile from the grid of options to continue.
Next, click on the ‘Open System Restore’ option from the list of options on your screen. This will open a separate ‘System Restore’ window on your screen.
From the separately opened window, click on the ‘Next’ button located at the bottom of the screen to proceed.
You will then see the list of System Restore points you can roll back to. Click to select from the list and then click on the ‘Next’ button.
You will now see the drives that will roll back using the chosen restore point from the ‘Drives’ section. If you also wish to see the files and programs that will be affected, click the ‘Scan for affected program’ option. This will open a separate window.
On the new screen, you can view the programs that will be deleted and the ones that will be restored (in our case, there were no programs that were going to be affected by the restore, hence the list in the screenshot below is empty). Click on the ‘Close’ button to close the window.
Finally, click the ‘Finish’ button to start the System Restore process on your Windows 11 PC.
If the error was generated by a recent update or any third-party software installation, you will no longer face the issue. However, in case you are still facing the error, hop on to the next solution.
Method 7: Reinstall Windows from the Settings App
In case none of the above-mentioned methods seems to resolve the issue on your PC, it’s time to get the big guns out and reinstall the complete operating system. However, reinstalling the operating system will wipe your personal files and folders. Hence, it is recommended that you back up the critical files somewhere else before you proceed.
Now, go to the ‘Settings’ app from the Start Menu. Alternatively, you can also press the Windows+I shortcut on your keyboard to launch the Settings app.
After that, click on the ‘System’ tab from the left panel on the screen.
Now, scroll down and click on the ‘Recovery’ tab present on the screen.
Then, click on the ‘Reset PC’ option on the ‘Recovery Setting’ screen. After clicking the ‘Reset PC’, a separate window will open.
On this separate window, choose the ‘Remove everything’ option to completely wipe your device clean and reinstall the operating system.
You will need to choose between ‘Cloud download’ or ‘Local reinstall’ on the next screen. Click on the ‘Cloud download’ tile as the fresh copy of the OS is downloaded from the Microsoft servers. However, if your device does not have access to the internet, click on the ‘Local reinstall’ to let the system gather and reinstall the Windows using the files already present on your local storage. Also, any of the options would not require you to plug in any external installation media.
Note: The Cloud download option will consume at least 4 GB of cellular data.
After that, you will be able to see all your current settings for resetting the PC. If you wish to change those, click on the ‘Change settings’ option. Otherwise, click on the ‘Next’ button present on the screen.
On the ‘Choose settings’ window, you will have three options to alter the settings. Let’s get into it for the sake of better performance of your machine:
- Clean data?: This option is mostly used when you want to give away your PC and do not want anybody to be able to recover your personal files.
- Delete files from all drives?: As the name suggests, this option would enable you to choose if you would like to remove data from only your Windows installer drive or wipe the drive clean. If you wish to delete files from all drives, toggle the switch to the ‘Yes’ position. Also, ‘Clean data’ will apply to all the drives if enabled.
- Download Windows?: This option would allow you to switch from cloud download to local reinstall should you feel the need to change the reinstallation method before commencing.
Once you have toggled the additional settings as per your preference, click on the ‘Confirm’ button to proceed further.
Now, click on the ‘Next’ button from the bottom section of the window.
It might take a while for Windows to load the next screen. Sit tight while the process is running in the background.
Next, Windows will list down all the impacts resetting will have on your PC. Read them and click on the ‘Reset’ button to start the resetting process on your machine.
After clicking on ‘Reset’, your computer might restart several times which is completely normal behavior while resetting. Resetting might take a few hours depending on your machine and the settings are chosen by you for the process.
There you go, people. The Clock Watchdog Timeout error can be an annoying error but the above-mentioned solutions are bound to fix this critical issue on your PC.