View Full Version : System unusable on all Driver releases after 196.34

06-15-10, 09:06 PM
I have a problem. My system is unusable, high constant cpu usage on all Driver releases after 196.34. 196.34 of lower and my system is fine. If I install any higher driver version I have problems. Problems are detailed below in my correspondance w/nvidia on the issue. They as can be expected were no help. I was hoping someone in this forum has had a similar issue or has an idea on how to troubleshoot and fix it.

It has been months and no one has responded to me. I now have tried driver version 257.21 and I still have the same issue as before. I was told to wait for a new driver and it would be fixed. I have waited thru many driver iterations and with every new release I have the same issue unless I run driver 196.34 or older. Why have I not gotten a response?

Customer (Seth Byrd) 04/15/2010 04:02 PM
It has been 12 days and I still have not heard any more about this issue. Is it still being looked into?

Response (Anupama) 04/02/2010 06:40 AM
Hello Seth,

Thank you for the update.

Your case is being forwarded to our Level 2 Tech Support group. The Level 2 agents will have to review your case notes. As this process may take some time we ask that you be patient and a Level 2 tech will contact you as soon they can to assist you.

Best Regards,
NVIDIA Customer Care

Customer (Seth Byrd) 04/01/2010 02:57 PM
Thanks for your help, but if I understand this right you are telling me to wait and hope the next WHQL driver will not have this problem. Not to be rude, but if you do not know what is causing this and I do not know, how will it be fixed in a new driver release. How many driver releases will I have to wait. 196.75 and 197.13 which were the last WHQL releases both had the same issue on my system. So basiscally I am supposed to wait and on each release try the new driver and cross my fingers to see if the problem is resolved and if not go through the motions of removing and going back to the older one.

As new games are released I need new drivers w/updated profiles. As an example Metro 2033 gives me a warning everytime I play it about my drivers potentially being unstable. Also, I am missing out on performance optimizations.

If you told me you have an idea what the issue is and it is being fixed and to wait for that driver, that would be fine. Instead, I have to hope you accidentally fix the issue since you do not know why or how it is happening.

I would understand if certain games had issues due to unintended consequences of optimization and bug fixes, but my whole system is unusable on newer drivers.

Response (Anupama) 04/01/2010 01:42 PM
Hello Seth,

Thank you for updating us.

The latest driver has bug fixes for games that had issues with the previous driver and few updates. I am glad to know that your system is working fine with the driver version 196.34. In rare cases there could be display driver incompatibility and such display related issues might occur. I request you to work with the known working driver until the next driver release, which will be a stable one.

To be alerted by email when the next display driver is released, please sign up for the NVIDIA Newsletters from the following URL:


Again, our apologies for the issues you are experiencing.

Best Regards,
Anupama Innocent,
NVIDIA Customer Care

Customer (Seth Byrd) 04/01/2010 01:31 PM

I did all that you asked. Installed 197.13 in safe mode. Same issues as before.

Was not able to only install drivers for one device at a time, but if I disabled the 9800gt after installing 197.13 the problem went away until I renabled the 9800gt.

Process explorer shows that when I am having the problem both the Interupts and DPCs are using between 4-8% cpu usage. Also the System (PID 4) is using between 7-14% cpu usage. If I disable the 9800gt Interupts and DPCs go to 0% and System goes to 0-1%.

Installed 196.34 beta as you described and system is working great. No issue. What changed between 196.34beta and 196.75 and subsequent releases that is causing my issue?

Also, when installing drivers I always uninstall then reboot in safe mode and run a driver cleaner. Then I reboot normally and run the nvidia installer.

Response (Anupama) 04/01/2010 12:05 PM
Hello Seth,

Thank you for the update.

In order to troubleshoot the issue further, I would request you to try installing the updated display driver version 196.34, using driver cleaner software which will help you in uninstalling all the undeleted older display driver files from your computer in safe mode.

Please perform the following steps described below.

1. Please follow the installation and uninstallation steps given below in Safe Mode with networking.

1. Restart the computer.
2. While the computer is restarting simultaneously, keep tapping the function key "F8" on the keyboard.
3. Now, you will need to select "Safe mode with Networking."

2. Download and save the graphic card driver on the desktop by visiting the page at the following link.

Please visit the link below to download the display driver:


On the following page, accept the Terms and Conditions and click on "Download Now" to download the drivers. (Save the file on the Desktop).

* Once you download the file, Please perform the below mentioned steps to uninstall the drivers currently installed on your PC,

1. Right click on the Computer icon on the desktop or on the start menu.
2. Select properties.
3. In the next window select Device Manager.
4. On the Device Manager Window click on the (+) sign next to Display Adapters.
5. Double click on the Graphics Card Option.
6. On the Graphics Properties Page, select driver and click on Uninstall to uninstall the Graphics Drivers.

After uninstalling the older drivers, please visit the link given below to download and run the driver cleaner utility on your Computer.


After downloading and running the driver cleaner utility, uninstall the NVIDIA drivers listed with in the utility and please double click on the file saved on the Desktop to install the new drivers for your graphics card.

NOTE- Before installing the new drivers please disable Anti Virus program if you are running on your computer.

Please let me know if your issue is resolved.

Anupama Innocent,
NVIDIA Customer Care

Customer (Seth Byrd) 04/01/2010 11:50 AM
1. I had this exact same problem with 196.75 drivers. Had to go back to 196.21. Never had it on any driver 196.21 or lower.

2. Did not know I could run the nvidia driver installer in safe mode. Will give it a try.

3. I tried on at a time but lost the ability to use the 9800gt as a dedicated physx card. Will try that again also as it was only one time a while ago.

Response (Anupama) 04/01/2010 10:13 AM
Hello Seth,

Thank you for contacting NVIDIA Customer Care.

This is Anupama and I will be assisting you regarding your issue.

I understand that you have a GeForce GTX 260 and GeForce 9800 GT graphics card and you are experiencing system instability issues with the driver version 197.13.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to you. In order to assist you better I would require additional information regarding this issue. Please let me know the following details.

1. Have you tried installing any other driver versions?
2. Have you tried installing the driver in safe mode?
3. Please confirm if you try installing one card at a time, does the system boot normally to the desktop?

I look forward for your reply to assist you better.

Anupama Innocent,
NVIDIA Customer Care

Customer (Seth Byrd) 03/30/2010 09:00 PM
I cannot get drivers above 196.21 to work on my system. I get high cpu usage and hitch on the desktop.

I uninstall the nvidia 196.21 drivers in control panel. Restart pc and run the 197.13 driver installer. The drivers start installing then during the install my screen goes black but does not lose video signal. Hard drive light is still working and moving. If the install completes (could be 10minutes) it will ask me to reboot machine. When I do Windows 7 is jerky. If I click and drag a window it will pause and hitch. I go to task manager and look at process cpu usage. The System process (NT Kernel&System) is maxing or nearly maxing out one of my 4 cpu cores. Usually at idle this process uses 0-1% of all 4 cores. If I either do system restore to 196.21 or uninstall then install the 196.21 drivers the issue goes away.

I use a Geforce 9800gt low power edition as a dedicated physx card. If I uninstall the 197.13 drivers then reboot into safe mode and disable the 9800gt card in device manager, then reboot and install the 197.13 drivers everything is fine except my 9800gt is disabled and has no drivers loaded so it is not usable. I had the exact same issue w/driver release 196.75.

If I go into the nvidia control panel (197.13 w/drivers for 9800gt loaded) and select the 260gtx as my physx card instead of the 9800gt my screen goes black for a long time. Not the normal 30 seconds or less it usally does on 196.21 but sometimes up to 5 minutes. This does not make the hitching go away.

In summary no driver version above 196.21 will work for me unless I disable my 9800gt physx card before in update the drivers and keep it disabled. Any suggestions or help?

06-16-10, 06:29 AM
Just a suggestion - do the whole uninstall/driver sweeper process.

Download the latest stand alone physx driver.

Install the latest gfx drivers, then install the latest physx drivers on top of your fresh driver install.

I had a similar issue, as well as some others here, with physx not installing properly during the initial install. Installing the physx stand alone after the driver install fixed it.

Note: I'm running a GTX 470 with no dedicated physx card, but some of the symptoms are the same and broken physx after install is a known issue.

Good luck with it.

06-16-10, 04:59 PM
Thanks for the suggestion. I did an uninstall of Physx, uninstalled the drivers, rebooted in safe mode, ran a driver cleaner, then installed the drivers only. No physx, 3dvision, or hdaudio driver, just display drivers. When I rebooted I had the same issue as before. I cannot successfully run any driver version higher than 196.34. I can run 196.34 w/latest physx standalone, so I do not think it is a physx issue.

What has Nvidia changed that would affect a dual gpu setup w/one card dedicated for physx? I would think my system is fine since it ran well driver versions lower than 196.34. This also happens on the same system in a fairly clean install of XP (I dual boot) as it does in Windows 7.

06-16-10, 05:04 PM
Can you post a complete list of your system specs?

06-16-10, 05:13 PM
I may be way off the mark here..but just for trouble shooting purposes -

Disabling the 9800GT smoothed it out, have you tried booting with a newer driver and only the 9800GT installed? I have no idea what may have changed between releases, but it looks like it's all centered around the GT.

Have you tried installing drivers with only the 260 installed and adding the 9800 later?

I've heard of this with linux a few times, but never windows. And in linux it had to do with video playback iirc.

06-16-10, 05:18 PM
Can you post a complete list of your system specs?

Will try to do this tonight. I have to leave for a while.

06-16-10, 10:01 PM
Well more information about the problem. I removed my gtx260 and installed the 257.xx drivers w/only my 9800gt low power edition card. After the driver install my system would not work right. Similar issue as before. It appears driver releases after 196.34 will not work right on my Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 motherboard with my Zotac 9800gt Low power edition card installed in the system. This is both in XP and Windows 7.

I want to use this card for physx processing but cannot upgrade my drivers any suggestions or should I just live with the 196.34 drivers?