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How to Undervolt a CPU on Windows 10

As magical as our computers may be, they don’t run on unicorn kisses and fairy dust. In the end, there’s good old electricity running through your PC’s electronic veins. Just like any electronic device, the components inside your computer run at specific voltages. That is, the amount of pressure pushing electrons through the circuits inside your computer. 

Your CPU is designed to run at a specific voltage, but you can adjust that number to be higher (overvolting) or lower (undervolting). It’s the latter (undervolting a CPU) we want to discuss in this article, and we’ll start with the most important question first.

Why Undervolt a CPU?

Electronics are not 100% efficient. Which means that some of that electrical energy running through your CPU is turned into heat. That’s why your CPU needs a heatsink and fan assembly so it doesn’t overheat. Reducing the voltage of a CPU also reduces the amount of electrons flowing through the system. This translates to less heat. 

The first benefit of this is that a cooler CPU will have a longer lifespan. Also, reducing the CPU voltage also means the CPU will use less power. So for devices that run from a battery, undervolting can be a way to extend battery life. 

Undervolting can also be a way to achieve higher clock speeds in some cases, where high temperatures are limiting overclocking efforts. However, it’s usually overvolting that allows for stable overclocking , so undervolting a CPU is not the go-to method for performance junkies.

Why Does Undervolting Work?

You might wonder why manufacturers set their CPUs to a certain voltage when they’ll work at a lower one. After all, if undervolting is so great, why not ship the CPUs at the lower voltage? The answer to this is that CPUs are each a little different. 

Two identical CPUs can have different outcomes at those low voltages. The approved voltage is one that’s guaranteed to work with the largest percentage of processors. In some cases a given individual CPU will really only work with the official voltage, but for the most part you’ll find that you can bring it down at least a little without any negative effects.

Is Undervolting Dangerous?

The answer to the question of whether undervolting is dangerous depends largely on what you consider to be dangerous or what sort of risks you are comfortable with. Reducing the voltage of a CPU won’t hurt the CPU or any other components. However, it can create system instability, which can in turn lead to data loss. When undervolting it’s important to test and validate your lower voltage setting before doing anything remotely important with your computer.

Apart from potential data loss, another real danger when it comes to undervolting is that you accidentally overvolt your CPU. Too much voltage is a fast and effective way to permanently fry a CPU, so make 100% sure that you’re turning the voltage dial in the right direction!

Undervolting Through the BIOS

The purest way in which to undervolt your CPU is the BIOS. That’s the firmware that makes your computer run before the operating system even kicks in. Each motherboard has slightly different BIOS menus, names and steps. So you’ll have to refer to your motherboard manual to know exactly where to go in order to change the CPU voltage in the BIOS. 

While this is a legitimate way to undervolt a CPU, using the BIOS can be incredibly tedious. Since after every adjustment you’ll need to boot into Windows, run a test and then adjust again. This lengthy process of validation is why most people use a software utility to mess with their voltages.

Be aware that if you don’t have a performance-oriented BIOS, it’s possible that there are no CPU voltage controls for you to tweak.

Undervolting a CPU With a Software Utility

There are two popular utilities that avid undervolters use to wean their CPUs off the juice. If you’re using an Intel CPU, then the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) is a good choice. No one knows Intel’s CPUs better than Intel, after all.

Sadly, the program isn’t the most user-friendly in the world and it has a heap of settings and sections that can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with all the CPU jargon. Luckily for undervolting we only have to care about a small number of settings. In XTU these are all under the “core” section of the app. What matters is “core offset voltage”.

Modern CPUs, especially those in laptops, don’t use a static voltage. Instead, the voltage is adjusted as per the amount of load in the CPU. This is one of the reasons undervolting doesn’t get quite the results it used to, since the CPU is actually undervolting itself when idle. By adjusting the voltage offset, we change the minimum and maximum voltage range the CPU will use.

NOTE: If you see that Core Offset Voltage is greyed out, this is possibly due to a security patch that some OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) have implemented. This mainly affects laptops, but can also be true of certain prebuilt desktop systems.

This is thanks to a hacking exploit known as Plundervolt . The only way to get the function back would be to flash an older unpatched version of the BIOS, if available. We don’t recommend you do this unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

So, what about AMD users? We didn’t have an AMD machine to test, but the principle remains the same. The main issue is that XTU doesn’t work with AMD CPUs. The good news is that AMD have their own utility known as Precision Boost Overdrive .

The latest version of the software offers an adaptive undervolting feature which can have a significant effect on performance, heat and battery life. So if you’re using a recent AMD CPU definitely look into it.

Testing Your Undervolted Settings

With every new voltage setting you need to make sure everything is still working as intended. It’s inevitable that you’ll get a crash or system freeze at some point, which is usually an indication that you have to back off a notch or two. But even if everything seems fine, you’ll have to do a thorough job of validating your settings. Here’s the sequence of steps we recommend when undervolting a CPU:

  1. Before changing anything, run your CPU benchmark of choice and write down the score. Make a note of the peak temperature of your CPU. CPU-Z is a great program for that purpose.
  2. Reduce the voltage offset by 5mv. If you’re feeling brave you can get a headstart with a 50mv reduction, from there 5-10mv is the most sensible increment.
  3. After the reduction, run a stress test such as Prime95 or the built in stress test in XTU.
  4. Assuming the stress test passes, run your benchmark again. Performance should be the same or better.
  5. Repeat the process.

If your CPU becomes unstable or your performance starts to get worse compared to the previous benchmark, dial your voltage back to the last successful attempt and use that as your go-to setting.

Undervolting is Cool, Literally

Overclockers and other CPU mavericks have done a lot for the entire computing industry. Today CPUs are very good at overclocking themselves and the same is becoming true of undervolting.

Within a few years there won’t be much to gain from manually undervolting a CPU, thanks to sophisticated self-tweaking in new CPUs. However, it’s still worth doing on current and past computers. The best thing about it is that there’s very little risk. So why not give it a go?


DDR3 vs DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM: Which Is The Best?

Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about RAM . It’s not as sexy as the CPU or GPU after all. For the most part, all anyone cares about is that there’s enough of it for their needs. However, the truth is that there’s much more to RAM than pure capacity.

Improvements in memory technology are a key part of why computer performance is so good. The fastest CPU in the world can only work at a snail’s pace if it’s being fed data by slow, obsolete RAM. At the time of writing, there are three types of RAM to contend with when building or buying a computer. 

There’s DDR3, which is well over a decade old but still present in plenty of computers in use today. Then there’s DDR4, which is the current standard for new computers. DDR5 isn’t yet to be found in a computer you can buy, but the standard was officially released in mid-2020.

Which means it won’t be long until actual DDR5 hardware starts to ship. So, what’s the difference between these generations of RAM and which one is best for you to choose today?

What Is DDR?

Before we dive into the generational differences between the different DDRs, it’s worth explaining what “DDR” is in the first place. It’s not Dance Dance Revolution, in case that’s where your mind immediately went. Not that we’d know anything about that!

No, DDR is short for Double Data Rate and refers to the special method that this memory technology uses to perform an operation at both the peak and the trough of its clock cycle. In other words, a DDR memory chip running at 100Mhz does the same number of operations as an SDR (Single Data Rate) chip running at 200Mhz.

This is why the DDR memory speeds are written at twice the actual clock speed of the module. For example, DDR3 1600 RAM actually runs at 800Mhz.

Bandwidth Differences

One of the key differences between the different generations of DDR is the amount of bandwidth they offer. Each successive generation has offered a significant jump in data transfer rates. Of course, you can buy high-end DDR3 that comes close to the lower end of DDR4 and the same will likely be true for DDR5. 

There’s bound to be some performance overlap at the edges of the product spectrum. However, unless you’re aiming to build a system for the lowest price, each new generation should be significantly faster than the last.

How much of a difference does increased bandwidth make? 

In general it’s better to have a higher amount of slower RAM than a smaller amount of fast RAM. However, in the age of NVME SSDs and CPUs with many cores , it’s becoming more important than ever.

Within the DDR generation that a given CPU supports, bandwidth differences are less important, but what does matter is making use of multi-channel memory. In other words, if your motherboard supports dual (or more) channel memory, make sure you have the right number of modules in the right slots to enable it.

Power Consumption

With every new generation of RAM, performance goes up and power consumption goes down. This is especially beneficial when considering mobile computers, but less power consumption with better performance is never a bad thing in any context. 

While RAM isn’t the most power-hungry component by far, combined with power savings in other components it all adds up to a big drop in energy needs for modern systems. 

The bottom line is that a DDR3 system is likely to be harder on your battery or electricity bill, because components designed to work with that generation of DDR will consume more power by virtue of their era.

Prefetch Buffer Sizes

The prefetch buffer is an area of RAM where data is loaded before being handed over to the CPU. The original DDR standard could fetch one unit of data, but DDR could do twice as much at a time. DDR3 and DDR4 can do an impressive eight units at once and DDR5 can go up to 16, depending on the specific model. 

The bigger the prefetch buffer is, the more efficient the RAM is. This is because there’s a larger chance that the buffer contains the data that the CPU needs next if it’s bigger. 

DDR3, DDR4 and some DDR5 modules all have a buffer size of eight units. So there’s nothing to separate them in terms of efficiency. DDR5 memory with a 16-unit buffer size represents a huge leap on paper, but it’s still not clear if it’s a noteworthy upgrade in real-world computing for most users.

Physical Differences

By deliberate design, different generations of DDR have different hardware form factors. They all come in the form of a DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module), but the notches on the connector edge are in a different place.

This makes it impossible to slot memory into the wrong slot. That would be especially problematic since older DDR standards use so much more voltage than the newer technologies. Poof!

What’s LPDDR?

There’s a type of DDR you’ll find in ultrabooks and other devices that need to run for long periods of time from battery power. 

Low Power DDR (LPDDR) was initially a modified version of DDR1, but since then has diverged more and more as a ground-up type of mobile DDR. So don’t think of LPDDR 3,4 and 5 as mobile versions of their desktop namesakes. Instead, they are aggressively power-efficient memory technologies with a significant amount of their own unique DNA.

Latency Issues

You may have heard that DDR 4 has more latency than DDR3. That is, it takes DDR4 longer to respond to requests to read and write from and to its memory cells. This is true on paper, but makes no perceptible difference in real life. DDR4 is so much faster in other respects that it still outperforms its predecessor overall. DDR 5 may improve on the latency issue, but even if it doesn’t, it will also outperform DDR 4 as a whole.

Which DDR Is Best?

This question isn’t all that straightforward to answer, because it depends on your starting position:

  • If you’re buying or building a new computer as of this article’s publication, then DDR4 is the way to go.
  • If you have a computer running DDR3, then only consider upgrading if you reach the limits of your CPU and GPU. DDR4 by itself is not a good enough reason to move on to a new system.
  • DDR5 will remain expensive and poorly-supported for some time, so it’s worth waiting for mainstream motherboards and processors that support it before jumping ship.

Then there’s the issue of memory bandwidth versus capacity. For most users it’s better to have more slower RAM than less faster RAM, as mentioned before. That being said, you should get the fastest memory you can afford for the capacity you need. Putting too much RAM in a system that doesn’t need it will do nothing for performance. 

That extra RAM will therefore go unused and be a waste of money. For example, most gaming systems will do with 16GB of RAM, so putting in 32GB will offer diminishing returns. The best strategy is to determine what total amount of RAM is best for your needs and then get the fastest version of that RAM size you can afford.


How to Fix a Video TDR Failure BSOD Error in Windows 10

When you’re working on an important task or you’re in the middle of a game or movie with friends, the last thing you want to get is an error on your computer. Worse still is if the error is followed by the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).

BSOD errors are one of the biggest pet peeves for Windows 10 users, and they come in different forms like the clock watchdog timeout BSOD , stop code memory management BSOD , or the video_TDR_failure.

This guide explains how to fix a video tdr failure error in Windows 10.

What is a Video TDR Failure?

Most BSOD errors (stop errors) can happen when there’s a problem that causes your computer to shut down or restart unexpectedly. Some BSODs are as a result of issues with your computer’s memory , hard drive, drivers or system file corruption.

The video_TDR_failure BSOD error manifests in similar ways as other BSOD errors. TDR, which stands for Timeout, Detection and Recovery is a Windows component, so when you get the video_TDR_failure BSOD, your graphics or video card will stop responding and Windows will also stop to resolve the error.

If you try to play a video, and then it crashes, you may see a blue screen with a message saying that your device ran into a problem and requires a restart.

Depending on your graphics card, you may get a different name for the error. For an NVIDIA card, you’ll see nvlddmkm.sys, Intel card shows up as igdkmd64.sys, and atkimpag.sys for AMD or ATI cards.

Causes of Video_TDR_Failure BSOD Error in Windows 10

The video_TDR_failure BSOD error is caused by similar triggers as the video scheduler internal error BSOD in Windows 10 . Specifically, it appears after you update your drivers, upgrade your operating system, or even after an automatic update.

Some of the main triggers of the video_TDR_failure BSOD error include:

  • Incompatible, faulty, outdated or corrupt graphics card driver
  • Technical issues with your computer’s graphics card
  • Multiple apps running in the background simultaneously
  • Overheated computer components / system overheating

No matter the cause of the error, we’ll walk you through some troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue and get back to your tasks.

How to Fix Video_TDR_Failure in Windows 10

An outdated or incompatible driver is one of the most common reasons why you’re getting the video_TDR_failure error on your computer.

Update Video Driver

To resolve this, update your graphics card driver using these steps.

  1. Right-click Start > Device Manager.
  1. Next, expand the Display Drivers section, right-click the specific graphics card and select Update Driver.

Your system will search for the most appropriate video driver and install it automatically. Once updated and installed, reboot your computer and see whether the BSOD error persists.

Roll Back Old Video Driver or Update

If you got the error after updating your graphics card driver, you can roll back the update and reinstall the previous version of the driver.

  1. To roll back the driver, right-click Start > Run, and enter devmgmt.msc.
  1. Next, find and right-click on the driver, select Properties.
  1. Select the Driver tab.
  1. Select Roll back driver and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

To return to an older version of the video card driver take these steps:

  1. Open Device Manager, right-click your video card and select Update driver.
  1. Next, select Browse My Computer for Driver Software.
  1. Select the Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer option.
  1. Choose the older version of the graphics card driver and then select Next to see the previous version of the drivers.

Uninstall and Reinstall the Driver

If you tried to update the video card driver and failed, try to uninstall and reinstall it and see if it automatically updates itself. If not, you may have to reinstall the drivers in Safe Mode.

Safe Mode is a feature in Windows 10 that allows you to start your computer with the minimum system requirements so you can troubleshoot and resolve any issues you’re facing.

  1. To boot in Safe Mode, right-click Start > Run and enter msconfig in the Run box.
  1. In the System Configuration window, go to the Boot tab and select Safe Boot > OK.
  1. Select Restart.
  1. Reboot your computer and it’ll start up in Safe Mode. Press Windows+X to open Device Manager, right-click your video card and select Uninstall device to remove the current driver.
  1. Go to your video card manufacturer’s site and download the latest and most suitable version of the driver for your computer’s system and then boot normally.

Use System Files Utility Checker to Fix System Files

Corrupted system files can also trigger the video_TDR_failure error on your computer.

The best way to resolve this is to scan and fix these files using the System Files Utility Checker built into Windows 10 computers. This tool checks for system files essential to your PC and replaces the damaged ones with working files automatically.

  1. To scan and fix damaged system files, type CMD in the search box and select Run as administrator from the Command Prompt search result.
  1. Next, type sfc /scannow and press Enter.

The SFC scan will check for and replace any damaged files in your computer’s system. Once done, reboot your PC and check if the problem persists or disappears.

Perform a Startup Repair

If the video_TDR_failure error persists, there’s a likelihood that a startup program isn’t loading fully. Performing a startup repair will get to the root of the problem and fix it.

  1. To perform a startup repair in Windows 10, select Start > Settings and then select Update & Security.
  1. Select Recovery.
  1. Next, select Restart Now under the Advanced Startup tab.
  1. Select Troubleshoot and then tap Advanced Options.
  1. Select Startup Repair and your system will begin to detect and fix all corrupt startup programs.

Disable Graphics Driver

Sometimes conflict with a third-party graphics card could trigger the error. To resolve this, disable one of the cards and have a primary driver for your computer. For example, if you prefer to use NVIDIA as the primary driver on an Intel PC, disable the native Intel graphics driver to eliminate the internal conflict.

To disable the driver, right-click Start > Device Manager > Display adapters, right-click on the driver and select Disable Device.

Other Things to Try

  • Clean your computer components. See our guide on how to clean your computer properly inside and out .
  • Change your video card’s graphics settings.
  • If you’re getting the atikmpag.sys video_TDR_failure error with your ATI or AMD graphics card, rename the atikmpag.sys or atikmdag.sys file.
  • Adjust your computer’s power management settings.

Get Rid of The Video_TDR_Failure BSOD Error

We hope you were able to resolve the video_TDR_failure BSOD error on your computer using this guide. For more on other BSOD errors, turn to our guide on how to fix a bad system config info BSOD error and how to fix a stop code critical process died BSOD .

Let us know by leaving a comment below.


How to Increase VRAM in Windows 10

Just like your CPU , your GPU needs RAM to feed it data at high speed. Without it, your GPU would have to read data directly from your hard drive, which is many times slower than RAM . 

If you don’t have enough VRAM (Video RAM) the same thing happens. Your GPU is forced to swap data from RAM to the hard drive, bringing your GPU performance crashing down. The good news is that in some cases it’s possible to increase VRAM on your Windows 10 system, although it might not achieve exactly what you’d expect.

Integrated vs. Dedicated GPUs

Broadly-speaking, there are two types of GPU (graphics processing unit) to be found in a modern computer.

Integrated GPUs are built into the same package as the CPU. They can’t be changed for a better model without also replacing the entire CPU. These GPUs are common in laptops and lower end desktop computers. You’ll find them in most mainstream CPUs and on desktop systems. Their monitor connection is on the motherboard itself.

One key attribute of integrated GPUs is that they don’t have their own dedicated VRAM. Instead, a portion of system RAM is allocated to the GPU. This is the key fact that makes it possible to increase the amount of VRAM at your disposal.

Dedicated GPUs are like complete self-contained computers. They have their own chip package, their own cooling system and their own RAM modules. These memory modules are of a special type called GDDR – Graphics Double Data Rate memory.

Thanks to their nature, dedicated GPUs are generally much better performing than integrated ones. The tradeoff being that dedicated GPUs take up more space and need more power.

With dedicated cards it’s also not possible to increase their VRAM, since this is a fixed hardware feature on the graphics card itself.

What Increasing VRAM Will or Won’t Do

VRAM isn’t directly tied to GPU performance. The GPU’s performance only ever suffers as a result of VRAM when you run out of it. In other words, if the graphics workload does not require more VRAM than the available amount, it will have zero impact on GPU performance.

What pushes up the VRAM requirement? There are a few factors that can increase the memory footprint of your graphics:

  • Higher resolutions
  • Complex 3D geometry and effects
  • Large GPU-accelerated datasets
  • GPU-accelerated high resolution video and photo editing

As you may have realized, you sometimes have the option of decreasing the workload rather than trying to increase the VRAM allocation, but ultimately the VRAM requirement is tied to the amount of data the GPU needs to process.

How to Increase VRAM in the BIOS

The BIOS is the basic firmware of your computer, letting all the hardware initialize and communicate so that it can hand over control to your operating system. So it makes sense that the settings which control the VRAM allocation of a dedicated GPU would be found here.

In modern systems you don’t get to specify a fixed amount of VRAM for your integrated GPU. Instead, you get to choose the maximum amount of RAM it may grab as it needs it. This is because your integrated GPU is now in competition with your CPU for memory resources and you don’t want the GPU hogging memory it doesn’t need right that minute!

As for the actual steps to change the value, every BIOS is different. First you’ll need to reboot your computer and then repeatedly press the BIOS shortcut button until it appears. That button also varies from one BIOS to the next, so look for an on-screen prompt or consult your motherboard manual.

Once you’re in the BIOS, you want to look for a page that contains settings for “integrated peripherals”, “VGA share” or something similar. The setting should be called something like “integrated graphics memory allocation” and show a value in MB or GB. 

All you have to do is change that value to a higher one. Then save and exit from the BIOS. However, your particular BIOS may not have this option at all, leaving it completely automatic and out of your hands.

Increasing VRAM by Adding More RAM

While dedicated GPUs don’t allow you to upgrade their VRAM, most desktop and laptop computers do let you upgrade the amount of system RAM. Since integrated GPUs use system RAM as VRAM, you can increase the amount of VRAM available by upgrading system RAM. Not only will this let you allocate more memory to the integrated GPU, it means the CPU will have more memory as well. So it’s good news all around. 

The one caveat here is that your integrated GPU might be hard limited to a certain shared maximum VRAM size, which could still be less than you need. You’ll need to confirm the maximum size in your motherboard manual or in the BIOS settings.

A Dedicated GPU Is the Best Solution

Integrated GPUs are getting much better. For example, the latest Intel Iris Pro and Iris Plus GPUs can stand toe to toe with dedicated entry-level GPUs. This is great news for ultrabooks and other small, thin and light devices.

However, if you need a moderate or better level of GPU muscle then a dedicated GPU is the way to go. In a desktop system that’s a pretty easy thing to do. As long as you have space in your chassis, the right power supply and an open PCIe slot, you can pop any GPU you like into the system.

For laptops, things get more complicated. Laptops that have Thunderbolt 3 may also support external GPUs . This allows you to access a powerful dedicated GPU when your laptop is docked.

Some rare laptop models use a dedicated GPU system known as MXM modules. You can purchase replacement GPUs and swap them out with the current one in your machine. This technology is usually only found in high-end gaming and workstation laptops.

A Cloud Alternative?

If your GPU doesn’t have enough VRAM (or enough GPU power) to do the job you need it to, you may be able to get some help from the cloud. For gamers, there are now multiple streaming solutions for high-end gaming. If you have a fast enough internet connection, then Google Stadia, GeForce Now and other similar products could be your ticket to affordable high-end gaming.

If you need your GPU to do more serious work then it’s possible to rent powerful virtual machines and use your computer as a remote terminal for them. In the case of certain professional tasks such as CAD or engineering simulations, you can subscribe to cloud applications which do all the heavy lifting for you. In the short term that may turn out to be the most cost-effective way to access better GPU performance.

All Your Options

That was quite a lot of information! So let’s summarize the different options we’ve outlined above if you need more VRAM:

  • Increase the VRAM allocation in your BIOS.
  • Increase the amount of system RAM shared with your integrated GPU.
  • Use a dedicated GPU instead.
  • Look for cloud-based solutions for your GPU workloads.

If none of these solutions are possible, then the last resort, sadly, is buying an entirely new computer and making sure that it has the GPU specifications you need to get the job done.


How to Rename Files and Folders in Linux

Whether you’re a veteran Linux user or just picked up a distro like PopOS or Ubuntu , you still need to know how to manage your files and folders . That means knowing that there are many ways you can rename directories or files in Linux. In the Linux world, folders are called directories, too. They’re interchangeable.

There are two scenarios when renaming files and folders. Either you’re renaming a single file or folder, or you want to rename many files or folders at once. Just like Windows or Mac, Linux has several ways you can do either.

Rename a Single File or Directory in Linux Using File Manager

Most distributions, or distros, of Linux have a graphical file manager similar to File Explorer in Windows or Finder in MacOS . Most of them will function in the same way, but there may be differences.

Rename Using Rename

  1. Right-click on the file or folder.
  2. Select Rename or press F2.
  1. The name field of the file or folder becomes editable. Make the change you want and select the Rename button or press Enter

Rename Using File Properties

This method is odd and you’re unlikely to use it, but it’s still possible. 

  1. Right-click on the file or folder.
  2. Select Properties or press Ctrl + I.
  1. Select the name field and make edits. Then close the Properties window and the file or folder is renamed.

Rename Many Files or Folders in Linux Using File Manager

This feature may not be available in all the file managers available in the different distros of Linux. This is in PopOS.

  1. Select multiple files or folders and then either right-click and select Rename or press F2.
  1. You can Rename using a template or Find and replace text.
  • Rename using a template allows you to do things like sequentially number files and folders or add text to the front, back, or both sides of the original filename. 

It can apply the template to the files based on the original name or modified date.

  • Find and replace text allows searching out a specific sequence of text and replacing it with something else. This is great for correcting spelling mistakes.

Get Help in Linux

There are a lot of ways to use the commands and utilities below. If you’re not sure what you need to do, ender the command man (for manual) and the command or name of the utility you need help with. For example, man mv will show the manual for using the mv command.

After renaming files or directories in Linux, always check them by either looking in the File Explorer or using the ls command to list them.

Rename a Single File or Folder with the MV Command

The MV command is for moving files and folders, yet it works well for renaming too. The syntax for the MV command is: mv [OPTIONS] source destination

  1. Navigate to the folder where files or folders you want to rename are located.
  1. Use the mv command to rename the folder or file. If the name has spaces in it, surround the name with quotes. Let’s take the 01- off the name. 

Type in mv “01-Work Documents” “Work Documents” and press enter.

Listing the files shows it’s renamed.

Rename Multiple Files or Folders Using Bash Script

To create a bash script , you need to work in a plain text editor. Let’s say we had several HTML files that we accidentally saved as plain text files. We need to change the file extension from .txt to .html. We can use this bash script to rename them:

for file in *.txt; do 
mv — “$file” “${file%.txt}.html”
done

  1. Enter that in the text editor and save it as rename-txt.sh in the same folder as the files to change.
  1. In the terminal, navigate to that folder and enter the command bash rename-txt.sh and press Enter
  1. Check using ls or look in the File Manager to see if it worked.

How did that work? The first line is looking for any file that ends in .txt. The asterisk (*) is a wildcard, so anything before .txt in a filename will match. The do tells it to do the command as long as there are matching files. This is a loop. The second line has the mv command. 

The double-dash () tells it there are no options for the command, get ready for some regular expression or regex. The $file is a variable that tells it to work with any file picked up by the first line. The % tells it to replace the .txt if it’s at the tail of the name with the value outside the curly bracket, which is .html.

How to Safely Rename Files and Folders with Linux Utilities

The rest of the article is about utilities used in the Linux shell. It can be easy to make a mistake and rename critical files that may stop programs or Linux from working. Always use the -n option. It tells the command to not overwrite an existing file. 

Using it in a utility command may look like: mmv -n “*” “#l1”. See below how it shows a preview of what the command will do. Yet if you list (ls) the files you’ll see none of them have changed. If it’s not what you were expecting, adjust your command and try again. 

Rename Multiple Files and Folders with Rename

Rename is a Linux utility. Think of it as a small program that doesn’t have a graphical user interface. Your Linux distro might not have it, but it’s easy to install.

In the terminal, enter the command sudo apt-get install rename and press Enter. It may ask for your password, enter it, and press Enter. It will start installing.

Once installed, you can start using Rename. 

  1. Navigate to the location where you want to change file or folder names.
  1. Just like in the bash script, you’ll need to use regex to select files and define what’s going to be done to them. Here’s an example: rename ‘s/.html/.txt/’ *.html

If you guessed that will change the file extensions on our files back to .txt from .html, you’re right!

Rename Files and Folders Using MMV

MMV is another Linux utility, similar to Rename. It can be installed with the command sudo apt install mmv. Once it’s installed, you can create your own commands. 

  1. The example MMV command we’ll use will change all the filenames in the directory from lower case to UPPER CASE: mmv -r  “*” “#u1”
  1. The -r tells it to rename. The asterisk tells it to change any file in the directory. The #u1 is something special. It’s  Markdown code. This tells it to change the text to uppercase.

Is That All the Ways to Rename Directories and Files in Linux?

If one of the methods here doesn’t work for you, you could use a bulk renaming tool that has a graphical user interface. 

There are several to choose from. Thunar and KRename are just a couple to start with.


How to Fix a Kmode Exception Not Handled BSOD

The “ blue screen of death ” (or BSOD)isn’t as common today as it used to be, but it’s a well-known issue in Windows. When something goes wrong with the operating system, it can sometimes crash to a blue screen from which the only solution is a reboot. 

The “Kmode Exception Not Handled” error can cause your computer to crash. Most of the time, it isn’t serious, but if your computer runs into difficulty there are ways to fix it. 

What Is the Kmode Exception Not Handled Error?

The Kmode Exception Not Handled error occurs when two or more applications conflict with each other. This results in the software shutting down, or in some instances, a full system crash. 

The good news is that the error can usually be corrected with just a few steps. If you run into this error message over and over again, try a few of the tricks below to straighten out the problem.

Disable Fast Startup

When Windows shuts down, it clears the RAM, and in doing so it corrects many of the issues that arise during standard operation. However, Fast Startup allows you to boot your system quickly out of Hibernation and Sleep modes. This means the system never fully closes all the way. 

As a result, Fast Startup can cause a number of errors. Any problems that were present when you closed the system down will still be present when you boot it back up. Here’s how you can disable the feature. 

Open Control Panel > System and Security > Power Options. On the left-side of the screen, select Choose what power buttons do. There will be a series of options at the bottom of the screen you cannot select.

Click Change settings that are currently unavailable. This allows you to change those greyed-out settings. Under the Shutdown settings header, un-check Turn on fast startup. Then click Save changes.

Next time you boot your PC, it might take longer than you’re used to–but it should reduce the chances that a Kmode Exception Not Handled error might occur. 

Update Drivers

The Kmode Exception Not Handled error is often caused by a problem with a driver . Either the driver is out of date, or it’s incompatible with another driver on your system. If the error is thrown, look for a name in brackets just after Kmode Exception Not Handled. This is typically the cause of the problem. 

The process for updating the exact driver will differ depending on what that driver is, but an easy way to find any driver is to find it within the Device Manager. Open Control Panel > Device Manager and then look for the relevant device. Once you find it (or the category it belongs to), right-click the device and choose Update driver from the menu.

If you don’t see the driver within Device Manager, or it can’t automatically perform the update, go to the manufacturer’s website for that device. You can often find manual updates of drivers from the manufacturer’s website. 

Remove Your Antivirus Software

Another potential fix for the Kmode Exception Not Handled error is to remove your antivirus software . Many users reported this as the cause of the problem, particularly McAfee Antivirus. You can remove the program by opening Control Panel > Uninstall a Program, but it’s often better to use the built-in uninstaller.

This tool ensures that all related files are also deleted from your system. Remember, though–if the antivirus isn’t the cause of the problem, you’ll want to reinstall it to ensure your system is protected. 

Check Your RAM

Another potential source for the problem comes from your RAM . The reasons why are incredibly technical, but the way to fix it–or at least identify the problem–is easy. In fact, Windows 10 has a built-in tool called Windows Memory Diagnostic that makes it easy to check the status of your RAM.

Open Start > Windows Administrative Tools > Windows Memory Diagnostic and start the application. You can choose to run the program immediately, which will prompt a restart of your system, or you can choose to run it the next time you start your computer. 

This tool performs a test on your memory and diagnoses any major issues with RAM. 

Perform a System Scan

Windows has a lot of different tools that allow it to make substantial repairs to its own code. If you’ve tried everything else and you’re still receiving the error, try a system scan to try and identify exactly where the problem lies. 

Press CMD + R to open the Run menu, and then type in cmd to open the Command Prompt. Type in sfc /scannow and then press Enter. This will start the scan, and your system will look for and correct issues it finds.

Take note that this can take a little bit of time to work. Once the scan has finished, restart your PC. If you don’t receive the error again, you’ll know the scan worked. 

These tools can help you resolve the Kmode Exception Not Handled error. While it might not pose much of a problem for many users, it can certainly be annoying when it does occur. After all, no one wants to use their computer when it might crash at any moment. 


How to Split Audio in Audacity and Other Useful Tricks

Audacity is one of the best audio editing packages out there, which makes the fact that it’s also completely free something of a miracle. Used by professionals and hobbyists alike, Audacity is the software of choice for recording engineers, podcasters , audio restoration pros and anyone else who needs to work with audio data. 

It’s not that hard to use either, once you know where everything you need is located. The problem is that Audacity can be very unintuitive, making it hard to figure out how to perform common actions. Splitting audio is just one such function. In this article we’ll look at a few different ways to split audio in Audacity, as well as some important tricks that are worth knowing.

A Word on Keyboard Shortcuts

Just as with photo and video editing software , you’re better off learning the most important keyboard shortcuts instead of using the mouse. A lot of audio editing work involves doing dozens or even hundreds of repetitive actions and using the mouse for these can seriously slow down your work. As such we’ll be giving you both the mouse-menu steps and the keyboard shortcuts where applicable.

Splitting Audio Clips

Splitting a clip in Audacity means that you are separating a continuous sound file in two pieces. There are quite a few reasons to do this:

  • Separating clips you want to keep from those you want to delete.
  • Making space to insert new audio.
  • Increasing or decreasing the spaces between segments.
  • Processing audio one one particular segment of the track.
  • Removing unwanted sounds.

The actual act of splitting an audio clip in Audacity is simple:

  1. Move the pointer to the desired split point on the track and press the left mouse button.
  2. Now, select Edit > Clip Boundaries > Split.
  1. Alternatively, you can simply press Ctrl + I.

Now you can select the new clip sections independently. 

Joining Clips

What if you wanted to join clips together again? It’s basically the same process:

  1. Select the audio you want to join. This has to be a continuous section of track.
  2. If you want to fuse all clips on the timeline, use Ctrl + A to select everything.
  3. Now, select Edit > Clip Boundaries > Join.

Now all of the clips will become one single piece of audio again.

Splitting a Stereo Track Into Mono Tracks

Most microphones record in mono, which is to say there’s only a single audio channel. However, stereo microphones or recorders using two separate microphones can create a single stereo track.

Let’s say that you recorded a podcast using two microphones and each speaker’s audio is now trapped in a single stereo track. By splitting it into two mono tracks you can edit each separately.

This option isn’t one you’ll find in the main menu structure of Audacity, instead you need to choose it from the track dropdown menu:

  1. First, select the track dropdown menu for the track you want to split into mono tracks as shown here.
  2. Now select “split stereo to mono tracks”.

You’ll see each channel become its own mono track.

From here on you can treat them as separate tracks with their own editing and effects.

Splitting Audio Tracks in Audacity With Labels

This is one for all of the folks who want to use Audacity as a way to record and preserve older media such as vinyl or cassette tapes. These media are recorded as one long piece of audio, but you probably want to split it into tracks.

Instead of tediously splitting and exporting sections of this mega recording, you can simply label the start of each track and then automatically export each labeled track as its own file. Assuming that you have already cleaned up and restored the audio to your liking, here’s how to split it into exported tracks using labels:

  1. Select the Skip to Start button to the right of the Stop button.
  1. Select Edit > Labels > Add Label at selection then give the first track its name.
  1. Now using the selection tool, select the position of the next clip’s beginning.
  2. Again, repeat the above labeling process. Do this for every desired track or clip.
  1. You can use Ctrl + B to place labels.
  2. Now, select File > Export Multiple or press Ctrl + Shift + L
  3. Choose a format and location for the export.
  4. Next, choose Split Files Based On Labels.
  5. In the Name Files section, select “Using Labels”.
  1. Select Export.

Now each labeled section will be saved as a separate file. You’ll be prompted to add metadata for each one in sequence, simply select OK (not “Save”) when done with each track’s details.

Remove Ums and Aahs With a Silence

One of the most important (and most tedious) jobs when prepping a recording is the removal of unwanted noises. This is especially true if it’s a voice recording, such as for podcasts or instructional videos.

When we speak there can be many artifacts that end up on the recording. Verbal tics such as ums and ahs are very common when someone isn’t reading from a script. These can be distracting to the listener and reduce the production quality of your recording. You’ll also want to remove excessive breathing noises, lip smacking, swallowing and other human sounds that most people probably don’t want beamed directly into their ears via headphones.

While you can simply select that section and delete it, this also deletes the time that audio occupied on your track! Which means you shorten the track and remove the space between the parts of the audio you want to keep. That’s something you may want to do, but if not you can simply silence those sections instead and preserve the relative positions of all the audio samples on the track:

  1. Select the section of the track you need to silence.
  2. Press Ctrl+L to replace that section with silence.

That’s all there is to it, the track will go quiet in the sections you silence. This can be a problem in recordings with lots of background noise. The silences will be very obvious in those cases. Luckily Audacity has a neat function that lets you reduce background noise. Which also has the welcome side effect of elevating your production quality!

Quickly Remove Background Noise

Background noise removal only really applies to consistent sources of noise. These include the hum of interference on the recording equipment, the hiss of an air conditioner and any other similar noise. 

Removing it with Audacity is simplicity itself:

  1. First, select a section of your audio that only has background noise. It’s always word recording a few seconds of background noise for this purpose.
  2. Now, select Effect > Noise reduction.
  1. Look for a button labeled “Get noise profile” and select it.
  2. Now, select the entire track.
  3. Go to Effect>Noise reduction.
  4. Leave the settings at their default and then select OK.

The track should now have much less (if any) background noise. Making it more pleasant to listen to.

A Sound Understanding

With these shortcuts and common functions to split audio in Audacity under the belt you’re well on your way to becoming an efficient sound editor. Your podcasts will be tighter, your sound quality better and the final product better for it.

If you want to keep the audio engineering train rolling, why not check out Make Your Voice Sound Professional With These Quick Audacity Tips .


How to Use Process Monitor and Process Explorer

Do you often use Task Manager on your Windows 10 PC to keep track of the different processes on your system and how much CPU or memory they’re using? If so, you might find that you prefer two alternative options – Process Monitor or Process Explorer.

Both are free tools that you can install on your Windows 10 PC. They include the same information you can see in Windows Task Manager and a whole lot more as well.

What Is Process Monitor?

Process Monitor is a free advanced monitoring tool included in the Windows Sysinternals suite of Windows utilities. It lets you view detailed information about all processes running on your system .

Specifically, these are details about events triggered by specific processes. 

The following process information fields are selected by default when you first launch the app.

  • Process Name
  • Path
  • Detail
  • Result
  • Operation
  • Time of Day
  • Process ID (PID)

There are 20 additional fields you can select to see even more information about each process.

You aren’t limited to just view process information with this tool. You can also set filters on any field to limit what data gets displayed, log process events for troubleshooting, and a process tree that lets you see the relationship between parent and child processes .

What Is Process Explorer?

Process Explorer is the best tool for understanding how different applications are working on your system. Through an innovative tree structure, it’ll show you a breakdown of what files, directories, and other processes each parent process is controlling. 

You can use Process Explorer in “handle mode”, which helps you see what window handles each process has opened, or “DLL mode”, which shows you DLLs and memory mapped files each process has opened.

This makes Process Explorer extremely useful when troubleshooting or debugging applications that are running on your computer.

Now that you know what each of these free SysInternals utilities is used for, let’s take a closer look at how you can use each of these on your own Windows 10 PC.

How to Use Process Monitor

After you extract the Process Monitor files you’ll see different files to launch the utility. If you’re running a 64-bit Windows system, choose the file named Procmon64.exe. If not, then choose the Procmon.exe file.

From the main Process Monitor window, you can launch a view that’s similar to the Process Explorer app. This is the process tree view. To view this, just select the small document icon with an image of a tree diagram on it.

Some information you can see in this view includes the parent process and all of the processes it has launched. You can see its launch command, the app developer (if available), how long it’s been running, and the date it was launched. 

It’s not as informative as Process Explorer, but it’s a nice quick view to see much of the same information.

Create a Process Monitor Filter

Back on the main screen (process events window), right click any of the processes and choose Edit Filter to update the process filter.

This window shows you how filtering works in Process Monitor. The first dropdown lets you select the object for your filter. In this case it’s the Process Name. The next dropdown is the operator like is, is not, less than, etc. The field is where you can type or select your filter, and whether you want to Include or Exclude those entries.

When you select Add, it’ll add that new filter to your list, and modify the overall view of processes accordingly.

To create a new filter, select the Filter menu, and select Filter

This will open the same window but with the filter blank. Just select each dropdown, enter the filter item you want to exclude or include, and add it to your filter list. 

Once you select OK it’ll update your main view to include your new filter.

The most useful feature of Process Monitor is logging system events during some action. You can log system events as follows:

  1. Press the magnifying glass Capture icon to stop logging.
  2. Select the eraser on paper Clear icon to clear the log.
  3. Press the Capture icon again to start logging.
  4. Select Filter and Enable Advanced Output.
  5. Recreate the issue.
  6. Select the Capture icon again to stop logging.
  7. Select the disk Save icon to save the log to your computer.

You can review the log to see all process events that occurred when you recreated the issue or error you’re trying to troubleshoot.

Exploring Deeper with Events

When you select specific events in Process Monitor, you can explore more details through the Event menu.

Select the event you want to examine. Then select the Event menu and select Properties.

This shows all properties for the event. The Event tab shows mostly what was in the main Process Monitor window. The Process tab shows you things like the path to the application and the launch command line, as well as modules used by the process. The Stack tab provides modules stored in memory by the process and their details.

You can access just the Stack tab by selecting Stack in the Events menu instead.

If you want to keep a close eye on any single events, select it and then select the Event menu and select Toggle Bookmark.

This will highlight the event so it’s easier to track.

You can also see the Registry entries for any process by selecting the Event menu and selecting Jump To

This is a quick way to see any registry entries you may want to toggle to configure that application. 

You’ll see five icons to the right side of the toolbar that you can use to fine-tune the default filters.

You can use these to turn on or off each of the following filters:

  • Registry activity
  • File system activity
  • Network activity
  • Process and thread activity
  • Profiling events

How to Use Process Explorer

Use the same approach for 32-bit or 64-bit when you launch Process Explorer.

The View menu is where you can customize what process information gets displayed in each pane.

Use Lower Pane View to change the data displayed there from Handles to DLLs.

The most important menu here is Process. The following is what each menu option will show you and let you control.

Set Affinity shows which CPUs the selected process can execute on. You can enable or disable any of the processors if you like.

Set Priority lets you increase or discrete the priority that the CPU gives that process. This is a good way to troubleshoot lagging or slow-running applications to see if it’s an issue with too many other processes running.

The next four options let you control each process.

These include:

  • Kill Process: Force stop an individual process
  • Kill Process Tree: Force stop the process and all child processes
  • Restart: Stop and start the selected process
  • Suspend: Suspect the selected process

You can create dump or minidump files associated with the selected process by selecting the Process menu and selecting Create Dump. Then choose whether you want a Minidump or a Full Dump.

If you select Check VirusTotal in the Process menu, Process Explorer will submit hashes for the files associated with the process and DLLs to VirusTotal.com. VirusTotal will scan and analyze those for any virus activity. You will need to agree to VirusTotal’s terms of service before you can use this feature.

Finally, if you select Properties from the Process menu, you can view a wide variety of properties about the selected process.

This includes information related to performance, GPU use, total threads, network activity, and much more.

Should You Use Process Monitor or Process Explorer?

While these two utilities are similar, they aren’t the same. Process Monitor is better used if you need to track how your processes are interacting with your system. It lets you monitor and log events that are triggered by each process.

It can help you see whether the interaction between your processes and your system is causing errors or behaving abnormally.

Process Explorer, on the other hand, is heavily process focused. It helps you see the relationships between parent processes and its child processes. It also lets you dig much more deeply into parameters and properties of each process, far more than any other available Windows utility.

Choose the utility you want depending on what you’re specifically troubleshooting.


Linux Mint vs Ubuntu: Which Is Better?

There are a number of Linux distributions out there, each with a certain focus or flavor. Some Linux distros are focused on security testing , while others are made for gaming . Whatever distro you choose, the best Linux distros are the all-rounders that allow you to do anything you need to, like Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu .

While these big names fight for dominance, another name is in the frame as a top, beginner-friendly distro: Linux Mint. Linux Mint and Ubuntu share a lot of similarities, but there are also important differences to consider. To help you choose between Linux Mint vs Ubuntu, we’ve compared the pros and cons in this helpful guide.

Ubuntu vs Linux Mint: Same But Different

Ubuntu, first released back in 2004, has risen to the top of the Linux hierarchy as one of the most popular Linux distro for desktop PCs and servers alike. Unlike some of the other distros, the Ubuntu development team hasn’t been afraid to make big changes, introducing new features, switching desktop environments, and more.

Unlike some of the setup-heavy Linux distros like Arch, Ubuntu is absolutely beginner friendly. It comes with support for major hardware out-of-the-box, with an interface that beginners can get used to without needing to open the terminal. If you don’t like it, don’t worry—Ubuntu has plenty of flavors to choose from. 

Quite literally, in fact, as “Ubuntu flavors” refers to a number of officially-supported offshoots of Ubuntu, each geared to a different working environment, such as Lubuntu (which swaps out the GNOME desktop with LXDE) or Linux MATE (which uses the pre-2010 GNOME version 2).

In a way, you could also consider Linux Mint to be a “flavor” of Ubuntu. It is itself based on Ubuntu’s core code, with a release cycle that follows a few months after Ubuntu’s release schedule. Linux Mint is an entirely independent project however, with a core set of developers that maintain its features and project objectives.

Linux Mint might be based on Ubuntu, but it’s more than an Ubuntu spin-off. It has a totally different interface, better themes, custom apps, and more. While it previously included some proprietary tools by default (unlike Ubuntu), these were made opt-in only from version 18.1.

Release Cycle and Development Speed

Because Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, they ultimately share similar release cycles. Ubuntu’s major releases are released in April in a two-year cycle, while minor (named interim releases) and major releases (named LTS or Long Term Support releases) fall each year in April or October.

Ubuntu is funded and largely developed by Canonical, a for-profit organization based in the UK. It also has support and development from third-party outside developers, who (along with Canonical) collectively make the major decisions relating to the Ubuntu project as a whole.

Linux Mint, on the other hand, follows Ubuntu’s Long-Term Support releases. Each major release of Linux Mint follows some months after an Ubuntu LTS release, allowing the developers to take stock of any code changes and make their own. There isn’t a set scheduled for this, as Linux Mint relies on volunteer development.

Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint is a community project without a main corporate backer, although it does have sponsors and donors who help fund it. As a whole, ideas and changes can be discussed and voted on by the community via the Linux Mint website. 

Installation and Ease of Use

Both Linux Mint and Ubuntu are designed to be easy-to-use compared to other major distributions. This philosophy is baked into the user interface, stretching from the initial installation to general, day-to-day usage.

When you install Linux Mint or Ubuntu, you’ll typically use a graphical installer to do so. Everything is explained clearly and, as both products are Ubuntu-based, many of the options you’ll see in either Linux Mint or Ubuntu are identical. Either way, you should be up-and-running within the hour with either distro.

As both main releases of Linux Mint and Ubuntu use GNOME (or, in Linux Mint’s case, a GNOME-based interface called Cinnamon), the interface you’ll see should be straightforward to navigate. 

Linux Mint follows the approach of the Windows Start menu, with apps and settings accessible from a pop-up menu in the bottom-left corner. You can customize Linux Mint with themes, backgrounds and more. If you run into trouble, you can easily reinstall Linux Mint without losing your data , similar to Windows 10’s reset process.

Ubuntu’s user interface is pretty easy to navigate, too. You can access your running and favorite apps from the left side bar, as well as access all your installed apps and settings via the app drawer in the bottom-left. Like Linux Mint, you can customize your desktop environment with custom themes, widgets, and backgrounds.

Ubuntu’s interface, however, is bulkier and can require a better PC to run smoothly. If you’re running on older hardware, you’ll probably be better choosing Linux Mint or a less-intensive “flavor” of Ubuntu such as Lubuntu or Xubuntu.

If you run into any difficulties with either distro, you can also take advantage of the huge community forums for Ubuntu and Linux Mint, where you ask questions and gain support from other community volunteers. You can also search through and look for answers to problems in the Linux Mint user guide and the Ubuntu Wiki .

Software Options

Software availability in Ubuntu and Linux Mint is also pretty similar. Like Ubuntu, Linux Mint uses the APT package manager for software packages. From a terminal, APT can be used to install or remove packages and update your system entirely. 

Both platforms share similar repositories (especially for core apps and services), making it easy to find and use the same kind of apps on either distro. Commonly-used tools, such as a calendar, calculator, web browser (Firefox, by default), and more are shared between Linux Mint and Ubuntu.

There are some differences, but these are mostly stylistic. Linux Mint has its own Software Manager tool to install software, while Ubuntu uses GNOME Software. Either way, both apps are wrappers for APT and install software from similar core repositories, although Linux Mint has its own repositories for Linux Mint apps.

If you need to install proprietary software (such as graphics drivers or media codecs), both Linux Mint and Ubuntu offer tools to do so. You can usually install this via the installer on both systems, but you can also install these manually via apt or using each platform’s software management tool.

The biggest difference, however, is in speed. GNOME Software is slower to use than Linux’s own Software Manager tool, but if your PC has enough juice, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Linux Mint vs Ubuntu: Choosing a Linux Distro For You

Linux Mint and Ubuntu offer slightly different experiences but many of the same benefits. As an Ubuntu-based distro itself, Linux Mint shares much of the same code, but with tweaks and changes that aim to make it a more friendly-to-use system—even more so than Ubuntu itself.

If you’re looking to try something new, you can dual-boot Linux Mint and Windows to give you the chance to easily switch between platforms. You can do the same with Ubuntu , or you could think about running a Linux distro on Windows 10 using the Windows Subsystem for Linux compatibility layer.


How to Fix a DPC Watchdog Violation BSOD

No one enjoys facing the BSOD, or the blue screen of death, but it’s a part of life for Windows users. It happens when the system faces a glitch it doesn’t know how to handle, and the system shuts down. The “DPC watchdog violation” BSOD is a good example of this.

The good news is that it can be fixed, and without too much difficulty or technical know-how required.

Modern blue screen of death (BSOD) error. Installation new software and hardware problem, virus, emulation, virtual machine, video, register. System Crash Report Background. Vector Illustration

What is a DPC Watchdog Violation? 

DPC is short for Deferred Procedure Call. The “Watchdog” part of the error refers to the part of the program that watches for bugs. The problem originates from a solid state drive that was incompatible with Windows. It can crop up from time to time, most often due to hardware issues.

The violation takes place when Windows doesn’t receive a response from hardware or some computer component fast enough. Updating a driver and checking connections can help straighten out these problems.

Remove All External Devices

The DPC Watchdog Violation can be caused by an incompatible drive or device. Remove any external devices (minus the mouse and keyboard). If you have hooked up a new external hard drive , a printer, or another accessory, disconnect it from your computer and then restart.

If the problem doesn’t happen again, then you can deduce the problem lies with one of the devices. Connect them one at a time until you can pinpoint which device is causing the error. 

Check Cable Connections

One step in correcting a DPC Watchdog Violation is to make sure your power cables and data cables are securely connected within your PC. This isn’t difficult to do, even for total beginners. Open the side of your PC case and look for cables that are hanging loose. 

Apply slight pressure at connection points to ensure a solid connection has been made. If cables are loose and you aren’t sure where they should connect, check your PC’s manual. 

For more detailed information, refer to our ultimate guide on building a custom PC . If a cable is loose and the system cannot receive a response to a query, it’ll throw the violation.

Check Device Drivers

An outdated or faulty driver can make it impossible for the system to receive the response it needs. If you have experienced the DPC Watchdog Violation on a regular basis, make sure all of your device drivers are up to date . 

Open Control Panel > Device Manager and go through the list of devices. Right-click any device in the list and choose Update driver from the menu options that appear. You should check all of your devices, but pay particular attention to external hard drives. These are a common source for this error.

Replace the iastor.sys Driver

Under the driver menu, expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers and select the item with SATA in its name. Choose Properties from the menu, and then select the Drivers tab. Choose Update driver > Browse my computer for drivers > Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.

You can choose from a list of software, or you can select the recommended option. In most cases, the recommended driver is the correct choice. Select Next and wait for it to finish installing. You will need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Windows recommends replacing this particular driver, as it is a known culprit of the DPC Watchdog Violation error. 

Perform a Disk Check

If the cable and driver updates did not correct the problem, your next step should be to perform a disk check on your entire system. Do this by opening the Command Prompt . Press Windows + R to open the Run menu, and then type cmd to open the Command Prompt. Once open, enter the following:

chkdsk C:/f

If your hard drive partition is something other than C:, just replace the C: with the correct drive name. 

This will perform a check on your system that looks for and repairs any issues within the logic of your drive. In many cases, this simple command can solve the DPC Watchdog Violation.

Update Your OS

The DPC Watchdog Violation is often caused by outdated and faulty drivers, so ensuring your operating system is up to date–and that you have access to the latest software offered for your devices–can help eliminate the frequency with which you encounter the error. 

Open Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and then click Check for updates. If there is a Windows update available, go ahead and download it. Despite the huge amount of bad press Windows updates tend to generate, they are necessary for the security of your computer. 

Run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

One of the primary causes for the DPC Watchdog Violation is incompatibility between programs and hardware . Thankfully, Windows has a built-in tool that will help you ensure all of the various components work with one another. 

Open Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters > Program Compatibility Troubleshooter. Click the troubleshooter and then click Run the troubleshooter.

You can choose the program that’s causing trouble from the list. If you don’t see it, select Not listed and browse through your file folders until you locate it. The tool will then attempt to diagnose any incompatibility issues between the program and the hardware. 

If you run into the DPC Watchdog Violation and it crashes your PC, it can affect your productivity, especially if you’re working from home like so many are. Try these different methods to resolve the issue and once more make your PC experience seamless.