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Windows 7: Display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding...

23 Nov 2010   #1

Win7 Ult 64
Display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding...

I did search the forum and found a couple of people with this problem but no one had a "fix" to it as this error seems to be tricky. I have been reading a lot on the nVidia forums and this error is a plague it seems that can come and go for users, everything from brand new custom built machines to premades. The reason I wanted to post this here is because I wanted others to see what I have done to try and resolve the problem, of which I am still working on as well I am going to provide some links to the nVidia site with lots of info on this problem for future use if people use the search function.

GeForce Driver Installation Guide - NVIDIA Forums
How to remove and do a clean install of nVidia drivers

The nvlddmkm error - What is it? - NVIDIA Forums

This thread here has TONS of information as well as suggestions to fixing this problem.

And here is a summary of what I have found/done and still am working on to fix my problem. *Note* my problem only happens when I am running Photoshop from CS3, my usual background programs are running as well, iTunes, Firefox and Windows Live Mail.

Ok recently, within the past two weeks my display driver will crash and then recover. This usually only happens when I am running Photoshop along with my usual other programs, iTunes, firefox and my windows live mail. Again this has been only in the past two weeks this has happened, I have updated to the latest driver, version, dated 10/16/2010. I am running dual monitors, both Samsung 2333SW with the most current driver for them unfortunately it's dated 2008. My PC specs are as follows;

Intel i5 Quad 2.8Ghz - Stock speeds/timings
8Gigs A-Data Gaming series DDR3 1600 - currently running at 1333 speed/timings
MSI P55A-GD65 Motherboard
GTX275OC by BFG 896Megs Ram - Stock factory settings other than fan speed boost to 65% with riva tuner
Corsair TX850 850watt PSU
Dual Samsung DvDRW drives
Dual Samsung 2333SW Monitors (1920x1080 resolution)
Antec 900 V1 case with additional side mounted fan

All settings within the Nvidia control panel are set to Mid Range for a mix of performance and quality. The cooling of my case is very good, as my GPU idle temp as I type this is 44C. I have monitored my GPU during Photoshop and Gaming of which it goes up to the 67C range but nothing usually above that unless I am in a long 2+ hour gaming session.

The error showing in Event Viewer is Event ID 4101, Display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding and has successfully recovered. After reviewing the log and filtering the problem seems to have started on 11/08/2010.

I have since this initial post, done a clean removal (via this sites instructions) and reinstallation of the driver, that had no effect. I have also removed and let windows install an audio driver for my Realtek audio component as I found a few others had the same issue and that was causing it and so far so good, no display driver resets with the same project I was working on earlier tonight in Photoshop.

Edit - Forgot, I reset my bios as well, I will run memtest to be safe, but this build is less than 3months old and this is the first encounter with this issue. Win7 Ult 64 bit, and this card has been in this build and a previous one, with a Q6600 and never had this issue.

Seems I spoke too soon, I will run memtest to be safe but it was ran 3months ago with a 10 hour session showing no faults.

So just to update, ran memtest for a good 5 hours, and 0 failures. Upon looking at my system restore points around the date of the first occurrence, here is a list of the programs/drivers that were changed.

Adobe flash player 10 plugin
Apple Application Support 1.3.2
Apple Mobile Device Support
Nvidia Display Control Panel
Nvidia Drivers
Nvidia PhysX
Nvidia Stereoscopic 3D Driver
Realtek High Definition Audio Driver
Security Update for 2007 MS Office System
Update for Outlook 2007 Junk Email Filter
World of warcraft
Apple (net) 03/16/2010
Apple Inc. (usb) 07/26/2010 6.0.9999.50
Nvidia Display 07/09/2010
Realtek Semiconductor Corp. (media) 07/06/2010

Since this problem only occurs when I have photoshop and a few other programs open, which is not really taxing any part of my system I "think" the solution is here. I am going to do a rollback to this date and then see if the problem is gone and make sure I am very watchful of what gets installed via windows updates.

At this point I have done the rollback and it's not easy to see a clear reason or culprit in what could be causing my issue. However I am going to be testing and monitoring what I update from the above list and see if I can narrow it down.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2010   #2

Windows 10 Pro x64, Arch Linux

This is a TDR error caused by a faulty GPU/RAM
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2010   #3

Win7 Ult 64

Actually a blanket statement like that is incorrect. I have ran memtest and it is not my Ram, I have also ran 3dMark and even during the benchmarks most taxing portions my card is fine thermally and other wise. Also because there is a specific time frame associated with my issue and several updates were done on that date, there is a logical determination that it is in fact a driver conflict. As I said this error is NOT limited to old/used computers, it can happen with a brand new machine. As well lots of people who have solved this problem have NOT bought a new video card or new ram because it's simply not that simple of a fix.

Also your statement doesn't really apply to me seeing as I can run MUCH more than I am when this error occurs and never have an issue. Example, World of warcraft logged in and running, iTunes, Firefox, Windows Live mail and tack onto the end CoD Black Ops. All running at the same time on my dual monitor setup and not a single issue, however I run very little and Photoshop and suddenly I have a problem?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Nov 2010   #4

Windows 10 Pro x64, Arch Linux

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Element View Post
Actually a blanket statement like that is incorrect. I have ran memtest and it is not my Ram, I have also ran 3dMark and even during the benchmarks most taxing portions my card is fine thermally and other wise. Also because there is a specific time frame associated with my issue and several updates were done on that date, there is a logical determination that it is in fact a driver conflict. As I said this error is NOT limited to old/used computers, it can happen with a brand new machine. As well lots of people who have solved this problem have NOT bought a new video card or new ram because it's simply not that simple of a fix.
Some people reported having conflicts with old realtek drivers, this might be the cause
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2010   #5

Win7 Ult 64

Well since my rollback, I have not had a single issue, I have had the same project open in Photoshop with the same programs running in the background and nothing. I have only let windows update selective things, no video drivers, no realtek drivers only MSE definitions, office items and windows critical files/updates.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2010   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

I came to this forum trying to solve the TDR issue on my own PC, and I too could not believe it could be a bad graphics card - it had been working perfectly in XP for 9 months! - but it was.
I learned alot while chasing my tail. Below is the sum of all the diagnostics you can try to zero in on the cause of your TDR errors:

"Display driver xxxxx stopped responding and was recovered"

Timeout Detection & Recovery (TDR) = "Display Driver Stopped Responding and was Recovered" is a useful feature that started in Vista and is also in W7 that allows the OS to try and recover from a video timeout so that the system does not crash to a bluescreen. Symptoms included a screen flash with the TDR message appearing one or more times or the screen blinking out to black. If the system cannot recover it will crash (Stop Error 116 typical). The issue is that the video card is not responding as expected. The solution is in the: why?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to TDR errors. But the problem is usually found in the local environment (your computer). Finding the cause is a matter of checking every possible cause and uncovering the culprit through a simple process of elimination. By methodically running down a checklist of diagnostic procedures you should be able to find the cause and can correct it.

There are numerous reports of hardware solutions to TDR's. The most common are:
  • Poor Cooling
  • Problems with the power supply
  • Overclocking Issues
  • Bad System memory or incorrect memory timings
  • Defective PC Components

The order you do the diagnostics is not all that important. My personal strategy is to do the cheap & easy stuff first, the cheap & harder stuff next, and then the stuff that costs last. But whatever order you do it in you need to check or confirm the following:

Poorly written software and games will cause TDRs. But if this were the case it would affect lots of people, not just a few. Check the game's website & forums for patches and tips.
See if other people in the forums are having the same problem and if they were able to solve it and how.
You could also be asking too much of your video card. Check to see if your video card is tested and recommended for the game/program. Test the game at reduced settings.

It helps if you can isolate the actions that trigger the TDR. Most often it will be an application using 3D graphics. But if the incidents occur constantly it would point more towards defective hardware. If it happens more specifically (just when running Game X) it points towards overheating, settings, software, or driver issues.

You need to eliminate the possibility that your computer has a global problem. You can use a program like Prime95 to stress test your system. Free Software - GIMPS
You can run the "Stress Test" for a few hours or overnight. This will not tell you what the problem is, but it is helpful to uncover any issues your system has with instability and cooling.

Running a video intensive game for hours can generate some serious heat and overheating will cause video errors. You can check your temps by looking at your BIOS readings or use a free program like Speedfan SpeedFan - Access temperature sensor in your computer .
A real easy test is to just pull the side panel(s) off your case (You can also blow a house fan directly into the open case) and see if the problem goes away or gets better. If it does then the issue is definitely overheating. If you are overheating you need to look at installing some cooling upgrades. You want to look at ventilating the case (more or bigger fans), Upgrade your case to a larger gaming case (lots of fans, water-cooling), etc.
There are free utilities like BurninTest PassMark BurnInTest software - PC Reliability and Load Testing that you can use to test your system's cooling capability. Caution is recommended using these types of programs.

Bad drivers happen and they can get corrupted. Before installing or reinstalling any video drivers first completely uninstall all video software and the drivers. (Some people say to run a cleaner program from safe mode, some say this is unnecessary). Never rely on the driver package to overwrite the old drivers. Also: Delete the video driver folder (ex: C:\NVIDIA) in Windows Explorer (or windows may install the same drivers again!).
After uninstalling the old drivers and rebooting Windows 7 will install it's own WDDM 1.1 driver. Check for the video problem while using the generic Windows driver.
You can then install the latest drivers for your card (or try older drivers).
See This Tutorial: Installing and updating drivers in 7

Look in Device Manager and make sure there are no problem devices (yellow ! icon). Correct these by loading the correct drivers or disable the problem device and see if the video problem goes away.

Reseat video card and memory modules. Make sure the contacts are clean. Check all the electrical connections.

In BIOS, check the listed voltages against the manufacturer recommended specs. Reset the voltages to factory defaults and see if the video problems disappear.

Memory errors can cause video problems. Run a program like Memtest86+ for at least 3 passes to see if there are any memory errors. Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool .
You can also test for a bad memory module by installing one stick in Slot 1 and testing, and then switch it out for the next stick, etc.

Overclocking can be a trial and error process. The clocks and/or multipliers you set or change for CPU, Memory, or GPU could be unstable. Eliminate this as a possibility by resetting these to their defaults to see if that clears the video problems. The simplest way to do this is to "Restore Bios Defaults", or Clear CMOS.

Some people have reported that by going into the video cards control panel and "down-clocking" the cards performance settings they were able to clear up the TDRs. Since W7 does not seem to tolerate any hiccups in the GPU, this would allow you to run a poor perforning card in the W7 enviroment.
So for instance, you could set the GPU clock from a 777 MHz factory setting to 750MHz, and the ram clock from a 1126MHz factory setting to 1050Mhz, or similar small change for your particular card.

Check for and install an updated BIOS, particularly if it says the newer BIOS corrects memory errors or bug fixes. You could also try loading the BIOS defaults.
While you are there, check the motherboard manufacturers forums to see if others are having issues with the same board.

Eliminate Power Management settings as a possible cause, especially if you are working with a laptop. These settings could be particularly important if the issue is in playing games.
Go to Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Power Options. Under "Select a Power Plan" you will find that "Balanced" is the default setting.
At the bottom you will see a Down arrow next to "Show Additional Plans". Click that and select "High Performance". See if the TDR issue is affected.
Alternately, you can click "Change Plan Settings" next to the "Balanced" plan and change the setting to "Never" put the computer to sleep (This is the default on a desktop) and/or change when the display is turned off as a test.

You need to know that your power supply is delivering sufficient power. Power supply problems are the most common cause of video problems, especially using high end cards.
Check the power supply's amperage ratings. Be sure it has the ample amperage for your video card and the rest of the system.
Test the supply with multimeter to measure for a steady 12v to the card's power connectors. (The only true way to test a power supply would be to use the very expensive diagnostic equipment used in labs). But for us regular folks: I tested my power supply by hooking up my multimeter to the PCI-E connectors that I was using to power my video card (I used a spare pair from the power supply to run the card while I was testing). I then observed the meter while I used the computer, first watching the voltage, then the amps, to see if there was any drop-off or erratic behavior while booting or using the computer. My readings were rock solid. So I declared my power supply good.
Otherwise you need to replace the supply to eliminate this possibility. Or borrow one from another computer.

I suspect that a video card must perform flawlessly to operate in a Windows 7 environment and run the most recent games. If you tried all the above diagnostics and no problems were found then that leaves you with only one possibility: a defective video card. Some brands have the problem more consistently than others. You could check their forums for clues.
You could try your card in another computer running W7 to see if the problem goes along with the card.
You could try a different card in your computer. I bought an inexpensive card to use. My TDR's disappeared using a "lesser" card. Or borrow a card from another computer.
Otherwise RMA or replace the card.

TDR complaints have come from PC owners running virtually every PC configuration. They occur regardless of which video engine, manufacturer, driver, or system used. They are too numerous to write off as a random problem, but at the same time if people are getting their systems to run correctly using the same hardware and software that you are then it follows that your problem must be solvable.

More Info Here:
Timeout Detection and Recovery of GPUs through WDDM
NVIDIA Statement on TDR Errors - NVIDIA Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2010   #7

Win7 Ult 64

Yes I understand the logical progression of troubleshooting the problem, however in my case EVERY component in my PC is less than 3months old with the exception of the Video card. ALL system components were put through bench tests and performance marks and all passed. My Cooling is almost as good as it can get for air cooled, between the Arctic Freezer Pro V2 on my CPU to the multitude of fans in my case, NOTHING is ever too hot. In addition, I do NOT overclock therefore that step of troubleshooting was never a consideration. As I said there was nothing found wrong with any 1 individual component of my computer. The drivers were uninstalled and reinstalled cleanly as posted by nVidia how-to. It wasn't until I rolled back my computer to the day before it started happening that it is now fine. Which leads me to believe it is a driver conflict plain and simple in my case and most likely the culprit is Realtek.

The funny thing about the TDR I was getting was it occurred during NO 3D rendering in use. It was only happening while I had normal programs open and I was using photoshop. If I was gaming or anything else, no problem ever. So while it is safe to say TDRs can be hardware related, I do not feel it is safe to say hardware is the problem you should always look for first. Generally the people I talked with concerning this error where in situations like mine, PC was relatively new, no problems till recently and it just randomly occurs. Bottom line, is there are several problems with drivers still to this day between the different hardware manufacturers and they need to get their act together instead of just ignoring the issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I might have a solution for this, and similar problems since i had the same problem. I own a GeForce 9800GT, and with this card i sometimes play games. Well..about a year ago it gave me the same error. So after hours of searching i gave up and experimented for myself and came up with this:

Since my card is set at a higher clock rate than a standard card(higher by default, set at the factory), i thought it might be the clockrate. My card (Zotac 9800GT Amp! Edition) came with a clocking tool, so i underclocked the card a little bit, and never saw the problem again :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Nov 2010   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

Did you ever get to the bottom of this issue? What did you find to be the solution?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2010   #10

Windows 7 64bit

Nice to see my topic has been useful outside of the NVIDIA forums - been updated recently with some Realtek driver conflict links, also adding a couple of others from here who've found fixes.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding...

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