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May 25, 2020

DSAService Error Tied to Intel Utility


I’ve been noticing a recurring crash on a number of my PCs lately, and just wanted to pass the warning along. Over the past week, most of the PCs on which I have Intel’s Driver & Support Assistant (D&SA) installed, I’ve gotten “stopped working” errors in Reliability Monitor. Turns out this is related to a startup item that this tool adds silently and by default when you install the Intel Driver & Support Assistant app from the Intel Download Center. I wish I could say why this item crashes following startup, but I don’t know enough to say one way or the other.

I do, however, know this much. It’s not necessary to leave the D&SA startup item enabled. Apparently, it’s intended to warn you at startup if new drivers become available for your PC. But I can live without that warning if it comes with the benefit of avoiding a reliability tax on my PC because of a related “stopped working” error. The necessary stuff still happens when you actually RUN this tool. Thus, unless you’re dying for another questionable startup item in your mix, it’s probably more than OK to disable it in Task Manager, as shown in the intro graphic at the head of this story. In fact, if it helps avoid occasional crashes, I think it’s probably a good idea. I’ll leave it running on one of my test machines and update this story if Intel fixes this current gotcha. All I can say right now is that every machine on which I left the startup item intact has reported “stopped working” at least once in the past week (on, one machine it happened 3 times).

DSAService Error Tied to Intel Utility.relmon

This has been showing up on all my PCs with Intel D&SA installed. Must be recent update or patch.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

A Good Justification for Startup Item Review

This actually makes a good general Windows 10 management/maintenance observation obligatory. Because you seldom get warned that an application is adding a startup item to your collection, you have to inspect and manage Startup items on your own initiative and recognizance. I do this at least once a month. Actually, I do it more often, because I turn to Reliability Monitor pretty regularly for article and blog post ideas. Because it often ends up pointing to startup items, I usually look this stuff over at least 2 or 3 times a month. But for those less inclined to mess around with their Windows 10 innards and workings, once a month is probably often enough to keep your startup items to a workable minimum.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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