DPC (Deferred Procedure Call) latency is a critical aspect that affects the real-time responsiveness of Windows systems. A high DPC latency can lead to issues such as audio glitches, dropouts, system freezes, or even blue screen of death. One of the common culprits identified by many diagnostic tools, such as LatencyMon, is the storport.sys driver. This is Microsoft’s Storage Port driver, which interfaces with various storage devices like hard drives and SSDs. In this guide, we’ll walk you through a comprehensive set of solutions address high DPC latency issues associated with the storport.sys driver in Windows 11 or 10.
Also see: How to Fix Game Stuttering on Windows 11
Understanding the storport.sys high latency and BSOD issue
Before jumping into the fixes, it’s crucial to understand what the storport.sys driver is and why it might cause high DPC latency issues. The storport.sys is a Microsoft Storage Port Driver responsible for interfacing with SATA and NVMe storage devices in Windows. When this driver experiences issues, it might not service hardware interrupts in a timely manner, leading to prolonged Deferred Procedure Call (DPC) routines. This, in turn, can manifest as audio glitches, system freezes, or even the infamous blue screen of death.
- Audio glitches and dropouts: Disturbances in sound playback, often described as crackling or popping noises.
- System freezes: Brief to extended periods where the system becomes unresponsive.
- Blue screen of death (BSoD): In extreme cases, users may encounter a sudden blue screen displaying stop codes such as “WDF_Violation”.
- Performance issues in applications: Delays in audio during video game cutscenes or other software.
How to fix the storport.sys high DPC latency issue
High DPC latency related to
storport.sys is often rooted in storage drivers or system configuration related to storage devices. By understanding the interplay between your system’s hardware, software, and their settings, you can often remedy the problem without resorting to drastic measures.
1. Switching from RAID to AHCI or NVME in BIOS:
Many modern motherboards and systems default to RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) mode for various performance or redundancy benefits. However, not every system benefits from RAID, and in some cases, this mode might cause compatibility or performance issues, leading to high DPC latencies tied to storport.sys. Switching to AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) or NVME, which is a standard mode for SATA drives, can often resolve these latency problems.
Important precaution: Changing the mode from RAID to AHCI can sometimes result in Windows becoming unbootable. In such cases, a clean installation of Windows would be required. Hence, before proceeding, ensure you’ve backed up all essential data.
Step 1: Back up your data
Before making any changes to your system’s BIOS or UEFI settings, ensure you have backed up essential data. This step is crucial as switching modes can sometimes lead to Windows becoming unbootable without a fresh installation.
Step 2: Accessing BIOS/UEFI settings
- Restart your computer.
- As the computer boots up, press the specific key to enter the BIOS/UEFI settings. This key varies between manufacturers but is commonly F2, F10, F12, DEL, or ESC. The correct key is often displayed on the boot screen with a message like “Press [key] to enter setup”.
Step 3: Locate storage configuration
- Once inside the BIOS/UEFI interface, navigate using the keyboard (mouse might not work in some BIOS versions).
- Search for the storage settings or configurations section. It can be labeled as “SATA Configuration”, “Integrated Peripherals“, or similar names.
Step 4: Change the mode
- In the storage configuration section, find an option that relates to the mode in which SATA drives operate. It could be labeled “SATA Mode“, “SATA Operation“, or something similar.
- If it’s set to “RAID“, change this option to “AHCI” or “NVME“.
Step 5: Save and exit
- After making the change, navigate to the exit section of your BIOS/UEFI and choose to save changes and restart.
After switching from RAID to AHCI, Windows might not boot up correctly. If this occurs, you will need to perform a clean installation of Windows. This is why the initial backup is so crucial.
2. Check and update the Intel Rapid Storage Technology:
The Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) is a feature provided by Intel for improved management and performance of SATA drives, especially when they’re in RAID configurations. However, in certain scenarios, this software can be the cause of performance hitches, leading to high DPC latencies. Here’s how you can address potential problems arising from Intel RST.
Step 1: Determine if Intel RST is installed
Before you take any action, it’s essential to check whether Intel RST is actually installed on your system.
- Navigate to “Control Panel”.
- Click on “Programs and Features”.
- In the list of installed applications, look for “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” or any similar title.
Step 2: Update Intel RST
If you have determined that Intel RST is installed:
- Go to Intel’s official website.
- Navigate to the downloads or drivers section.
- Search for the latest version of “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” drivers and download them.
- Install the downloaded drivers by following the on-screen prompts.
- Restart your computer after the installation.
Step 3: Consider uninstalling Intel RST
If updating doesn’t resolve the issue or you feel that you don’t benefit from Intel RST’s features:
- Return to “Control Panel” > “Programs and Features”.
- Locate “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” in the list.
- Click on it and then click “Uninstall”.
- Follow the prompts to uninstall the software.
- Once uninstalled, restart your computer.
Note: Intel RST can offer performance and redundancy benefits, especially on older systems or those using RAID configurations. However, on newer hardware or systems not utilizing RAID, the benefits might be negligible. Always weigh the pros and cons before deciding to uninstall.
3. Disabling VMD Controller in BIOS/UEFI:
For users with specific systems, especially those using NVMe SSDs on Intel platforms, the VMD (Volume Management Device) controller can cause high DPC latencies. Here’s how you can address potential problems arising from the VMD controller.
Step 1: Backup your data
Before making any modifications in the BIOS or UEFI settings, it’s essential to backup any important data, as changing certain settings might lead to an unbootable system.
Step 2: Accessing BIOS/UEFI settings
- Restart your computer.
- As it starts up, press the designated key to enter the BIOS/UEFI settings. This key varies between manufacturers but is usually F2, F10, F12, DEL, or ESC. The correct key is often displayed on the boot screen with a message like “Press [key] to enter setup”.
Step 3: Locate the VMD Controller setting
- Navigate using the keyboard through the BIOS/UEFI interface.
- Search for the PCIe/Storage settings or similar sections.
- Inside these settings, look for an option related to “VMD Controller” or simply “VMD”.
Step 4: Disable VMD Controller
- Change the VMD option to “Disabled”.
- If you encounter multiple VMD settings (for multiple M.2 slots or PCIe lanes), ensure that all are disabled, especially if you’re unsure which one is linked to your drive.
Step 5: Save and exit
- After making the changes, navigate to the exit section of the BIOS/UEFI and choose to save changes and restart.
Note: Disabling VMD is a specific solution that might not be available or relevant to all systems. This setting is more common on recent Intel platforms with NVMe SSD support. Make sure you’re familiar with your system’s configuration before making these changes.
High DPC latencies can be a troubling issue for many users, leading to audible delays, glitches, system freezes or BSOD, and a generally unsatisfactory computing and gaming experience. The culprit, in many cases, is often found lurking within system drivers or hardware settings – as highlighted by the storport.sys issue in Windows 10/11.
While the solutions provided in this article—such as switching from RAID to AHCI, updating or uninstalling Intel Rapid Storage Technology, and disabling the VMD disk controller in BIOS—offer relief to many, it’s essential to remember that every computer is a unique blend of hardware and software. What works for one may not necessarily work for all.
Before making any significant changes, especially within the BIOS/UEFI settings, always back up essential data and familiarize yourself with the steps to revert any changes. If you’re ever uncertain, seeking advice from professionals or more knowledgeable peers can be invaluable.