NVidia 320.49+ Driver Issues On 400-500 Series Cards FYI

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I'm creating this topic for information purposes in case anyone has the same problems.

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. :-o

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:
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.
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.

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.
Guide (Nvidia)

1. Go to Add/Remove Programs

2. Uninstall all Nvidia associated software (May require several reboots)

3. Reboot the computer and log back into windows as normal

4. Go to folder options and select “show hidden files and folders”

The next part of the guide will remove all Nvidia files and folders from the computer.

5. Go to your C drive and remove any “Nvidia” folders if there is any

6. Double click the “Program Data” folder (Normally hidden) and remove all Nvidia folders

7. Go back to C and double click “Program Files” and remove all Nvidia folders

8. Go back to C and double click “Program Files (x86)” and remove all Nvidia folders

9. Go back to C and double click “Users”

10. Access the name of your windows profile and double click “AppData” (Normally hidden)

11. Check the “Local”, “LocalLow” and “Roaming” folders for any Nvidia folders and remove them.

12. Go back to “Users” and check the “Default” folder (Normally hidden)

13. Double click “AppData” (Normally hidden)

14. Check the “Local” and “Roaming” folders for any Nvidia folders and remove them.

The next part of the guide will remove registry entries left by the Nvidia drivers.

15. Close everything down and go back to your desktop

16. Click start, then type “regedit”.

17. Click “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” and extend the folder

18. Click “Software” and extend the folder

19. Remove all Nvidia Folders

20. Click “Wow6432Node” and extend the folder (Within the software folder)

21. Remove any Nvidia folders

22. Click “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” and extend the folder

23. Click “SOFTWARE” and extend the folder

24. Remove all Nvidia Folders

25. Click “Wow6432Node” and extend the folder

26. Remove all Nvidia Folders

27. Click “HKEY_USERS” and extend the folder

28. Click “.DEFAULT” and extend the folder

29. Click “Software” and extend the folder

30. Remove all Nvidia folders

31. Click “S-1-5-18” and extend the folder

32. Click “Software” and extend the folder

33. Remove all Nvidia folders

34. Click “S-1-5-21-1632250243-966907716-928185508-1000” and extend the folder

35. Click “Software” and extend the folder

36. Remove all Nvidia Folders

37. Close down regedit and empty your recycle bin

38. Undo the folder options change to hide the hidden folders

39. Reboot

40. Install your AMD/Nvidia drivers and reboot

(Remember, if you look in some of the folders mentioned in this guide but don’t have any Nvidia folders, just move to the next appropriate step. This means the uninstall option has removed such files for you. But as we know, the uninstaller still leaves a lot of things behind)
Edited by BradleyW - 7/19/12 at 7:54am
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.
Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it sayingEnd Of The World Switch PLEASE DO NOT TOUCHthe paint wouldn't even have time to dry. Terry Pratchett
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I am not having any of the things mentioned in the quotes happening on my computer?

Does not mean it can not happen, so i will keep an eye on it from now on and when it does start to happen i will follow the list from the spoiler part. So even though i do not have to use it right now, thank you very much up front for posting this information Maigrets. :)
Yeah there will always be people who are so * begin sarcasm * brilliant * end sarcasm * that they do not see how stupid they actually are.
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