For several months now I've been wresting with issues with Windows and to a lesser extent games, particularly Skyrim, since it's the one I mostly play. I couldn't get my head around why Skyrim was behaving so poorly when it had been almost perfect beforehand with the same number and type of mods and no other changes. What bothered me much more was erratic behaviour and system freezing in Windows itself, which most often manifested after exiting a game, but also randomly at other times and often when the PC was idle.
Well, they say persistence pays off and I finally found my answer and working solution without having to reinstall Windows. For some clueless reason it never occurred to me that it was video drivers, particularly the weird Windows activity.
I have a Nvidia 550ti 1GB VRAM graphics card and this bug/problem is affecting the 400 and 500 series family of cards. I've read it can also cause overheating and possibly damage to the card over time. Nvidia has known about the issue for some time, but has been unable to resolve it.
I eventually found these pages (and many others) after toiling through tons of Google searches trying to find something related to what was happening to me. These two are the most relevant and informative without a lot of added crap:
https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.c ... ssue-fixed
This GeForce forum thread is still active today:
https://forums.geforce.com/default/topi ... ing-my-pc/
Symptoms of driver issues I've experienced:
This can be very annoying and concerning since hard resets are not good for the system and buggy drivers are not good for the device they are managing.1) Mouse cursor corruption (mouse cursor changes to a vertical line or different shaped cursor) cursor color changes to yellow, magenta, red.
2) Mouse cursor disappears randomly and most often after exiting a game. Can't be resumed without rebooting, ie hard reset.
3) System freezes every 10 seconds - but can be random.
4) System freezes/locks up completely requiring hard reset. This most often happens when typing a document, browsing the Net, using Windows Explorer, or more frustratingly, when the system is idle.
5) Symptoms occur randomly, it may happen when you just booted Windows or if PC stays on for about 24-72 hours and nearly always soon after exiting a game.
6) There are no event warnings on Windows after lock up although I have been getting a lot of other Nvidia related entries as described here by Star-Pirate (post 7):
http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/11645 ... recovered/
7) Seems to only happen when the GPU is idle since playing games, watching movies etc doesn't trigger it.
Anyway to cut it shorter....
I, like many others on the linked pages, and others that I have read, have reverted back to the 314.22 drivers which are the last bug free set and working perfectly.
I followed this procedure to manually and completely remove all trace of registry entries, which only took a few minutes. Then installed the 314.22 drivers and haven't had a problem since. Many people advise the use of certain apps to automate the process but I have also read some of them can remove things they shouldn't and cause more issues.
Quoted from web: Note..this is for Windows 7 but would still be fine for WinXP...just a few less folders to go through.
I have had no issues whatsoever since reverting to the older driver and my games, and PC system in general are also performing better. The issues I had with Skyrim these past months have been mostly resolved and anything minor that remains is due to other causes, like script lag and other common stuff.
I'm aware of the latest 326.19 drivers, however according to the Nvidia forums they also have the same bug for anyone using older cards.