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How to Fix a DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE Error in Windows

Handing-DPSF_errors
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

As Windows stop codes go, DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE is fairly interesting. It indicates that a driver on your PC has fallen into an invalid or inconsistent power state. Thus, it usually occurs as PCs resume normal activity from some kind of Sleep or Hibernation state. Essentially, it crashes your PC and gives you a BSOD to avoid damage to the system or to data storage devices that might otherwise occur if the drivers and their associated devices were allowed to continue working. 

Diagnosing DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE Causes 

If you view the crash dump file from this BSOD, which you can do by installing and launching BlueScreenView, it will often identify a file by name as part of the crash data. By searching on the name, you can often associate it with some specific device inside (or, as is most typical for this error) plugged into your PC.  

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

In fact, the most common devices that provoke a DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE error are USB drives (and other devices) of one kind or another: flash drives, drive docks, or external drive enclosures that may house SSDs, flash drives, or conventional hard disk drives.

The first step in dealing with DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE is to disconnect all external USB storage devices (keyboards and mice seldom, if ever, provoke this BSOD stop code). As the name of the error itself suggests, if a driver for any such device has been recently updated, it may also make sense to roll back (if possible) or to replace the current driver with an older, known working driver for your PC. If you don’t have a current backup of your PC, you should create one as the first step in the repair process. Then if anything goes amiss along the way, you can restore that backup to get back to where you started without too much muss, fuss, or stress.

Use SAFE MODE to Uninstall Newly-Added Drivers 

If you continue to get DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE errors, boot your PC into Safe Mode. When you get to the desktop, run Device Manager, and use it to uninstall any newly-added device drivers. Simply right-click any newly-added device, then select Uninstall device from the resulting pop-up menu.

Tip: to launch Device Manager, click the WinKey-X combination on your PC and select Device Manager from the resulting pop-up menu. Surprisingly, you’ll find USB storage devices under the Disk Drives heading in Device Manager. As an illustration, I’m selecting the Mushkin 16GB UFD currently plugged into the PC’s Thunderbolt 3 dock in the screenshot below.

Right-click the target device, then click Uninstall device in the pop-up menu.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

In most cases, this maneuver will fix the DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE problem. The next time you plug that device in, Windows will install the latest driver it knows about for that device. If the problem recurs after that, you’ll need to find a different driver instead. 

Update Device Drivers 

It’s not always necessary to update device drivers – except, that is, when the current driver causes trouble. And indeed, a BSOD is about as troublesome as a driver gets. Thus, if what Windows supplies by default doesn’t work (DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE BSODs continue) you’ll need to find a driver that works, or forgo use of the offending device until a working driver becomes available. Be sure to visit the vendor’s website to see if a newer driver is available for the problem device. If so, please give it a try: it may fix your problem. If so, count yourself lucky.

Round Up the “Usual Suspects” 

If your driver maneuvers don’t restore things to normal operation and stop the DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE errors, it’s time to run the usual Windows repairs to see if they help. This means running an administrative Command Prompt or PowerShell session and running the following commands:

Dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

SFC /scannow

The first of these commands uses the Windows Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command to check the components of the current running Windows image, and attempt repairs on any components that come up short during its integrity and checksum tests. In most cases, this will fix issues related to corrupt or damaged files in the Windows component store (by default C:\Windows\WinSxS).

The second of these commands runs the Windows System File Checker (SFC) and will replace any such file it finds that are suspect or damaged. Microsoft recommends running DISM before using SFC. This is interesting, because SFC has been around longer than DISM (it goes back to Windows 98, whereas DISM appeared in 2008 for Windows 7). That said, DISM has additional smarts in conducting repairs, and can work from online or offline image sources to provide the basis for repairs if the simple version of the command shown above doesn’t work (you’ll get an error message that attempted repairs failed). Read the Microsoft Docs item Repair a Windows Image for all those gory details, if you must. 

Driver In, Driver Out 

Most of the time DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE is addressed by getting the offending device out of the picture, and fixing whatever driver issues might present themselves. If worst comes to worst you can always replace the problem device with another (preferably different) alternative, and keep on computing. Here’s hoping you don’t have to go that far! 

  • dimar
    It would be great if we could deal with drivers from the bootable recovery screen. Or some kind of command to remove one or all active/past drivers.
    Reply
  • Geef
    We all know the real fix of this error for most people is:

    Step 1: Yell and Scream at PC.

    Step 2: Bang on keyboard for a minute while yelling.

    Step 3: Call Tech Support and Yell and Scream.

    Step 4: Give in a pay for a technician to fix it.
    Reply
  • Jake Hall
    I have never once in my entire career seen an SFC scan fix a thing
    Reply
  • mgoldshteyn
    SFC is just the thing that Microsoft and clueless people recommend when they don't know how to fix the problem. It's just the go-to solution, to make it look like they've actually researched the issue and know how to resolve it, when in reality, they have no clue.
    Reply