NVIDIA Display Driver crashes every time I try to play games

I recently built a new computer with a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce 9500GT graphics card and installed Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit on it. I formatted the hard drive and did a clean install of everything. I am not overclocking any of the components, and I have checked the GPU temps and ran stress tests, and the GPU doesn't get very hot, maybe around 50C.

Every time I try to game on it, even with a game as simple as Portal, the game will freeze up and the graphics driver will crash. The screen will flash black for a second, and the monitor will stop recieving a signal from the graphics card temporarily. After 2 or 3 seconds, the system starts working properly again. This is the error it's giving me: "Display driver NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver, Version xxx.xx stopped responding and has successfully recovered."

I have tried this using the default drivers that came with the card, the most up to date drivers on NVIDIA's website, and an older version of the drivers from NVIDIA's website. No matter what driver version I have installed, this still happens. It has even happened before when I wasn't even running a game, just using Firefox.

I have checked Windows Update for any updates, uninstalled the drivers and used Driver Sweeper to fully remove them before installing a new version, and no matter what I cannot seem to fix the error. Any suggestions?

The rest of my specs:
Diablotek 450-watt PSU
ASROCK P43DE Motherboard
2 GB DDR2 667 MHz
2.8 GHz Pentium 4 with Hyper Threading

(yes, I know the CPU and RAM aren't great, I'm upgrading both as soon as I can, but it still should be enough to run a game like Portal, and I don't think it is related to the cause of this error)


You're getting TDR timeout errors. Please install the latest driver from NVIDIA's site. The video driver version is not the cause, so you will be best off with latest anyhow.

Please post any crash dumps you have and then I can sort this for you by showing you what to do.


Copy the files in there to any other folder. Zip the files then attach to a post using the paperclip above where you type, in advanced mode reply.

Okay, I just reupgraded the driver to the most recent version from NVIDIA and then tried to find the crash dump, but I could not locate that directory. There is no folder called Minidump in the Windows directory on my hard drive. I tried to recreate the bug on my computer, and after playing Portal for a few minutes it froze up and the monitor lost the signal. After recreating the bug there was still no Minidump directory.

Just to be clear, this has not caused a BSOD before, the main effects are that it just freezes up whatever game I'm playing for a few seconds, and the monitor loses the signal. Once or twice before the game has also crashed, but typically it just freezes for a few seconds. So I guess since the games usually don't "crash", it doesn't create a crash dump.

I just kept my temperature monitoring up while I was playing portal in a window just to be absolutely sure the GPU wasn't overheating, and the temperature was at 48C when the driver crashed again. Is there any other possibility this is a hardware problem? I want to rule that out first, while I can still send back the graphics card if there are problems. I did not connect the graphics card directly to the PSU, I'm pretty sure it is supposed to be powered entirely by the PCIe connecter. It did come with a cable I didn't use, I think the cable was for SLI or something. Could I have installed the graphics card wrong? Am I supposed to connect it directly to the power supply in some way? The graphics card is a Zotac ZT-95TEK2M-FSL

Type msinfo32 in the start menu then press enter. File | save on the screen that opens. Zip the saved file and attach to a post.

I can get a decent idea of your system this way and it's very likely to help.

Here's the file you requested. Thank you again for the help!


Uninstall AsRock Tuner and AsRockIES.


Type Regedit then press enter, in the start menu. Navigate to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
to delete AdobeAAMUpdated-1.0

Close Regedit.


Type services.msc in the start menu then press enter. Disable the NVIDIA Stereoscopic 3D service.


Uninstall AVG in safe mode using the tool found here:

AV Uninstallers - Windows 7 Forums

Reboot to normal mode and install MSE.


Update your Sierra wireless network adapter driver, if there is a newer one available:

Sierra Wireless - Downloads


Look in CPU-Z for your motherboard model. Visit the manufacturer's site and install the latest bios for it.


You're welcome. If you follow all that well, the issue will likely clear.

Okay, I followed everything you suggested and the driver still crashes. The only 2 things I didn't do was upgrade the Sierra Wireless adapter driver or the motherboards BIOS, there weren't upgrades for either of those. After installing MSE like you suggested and then doing a virus scan, I did find a trojan my computer had that AVG missed. I got rid of that, but the NVIDIA Driver still crashes every minute or so while I am playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and even more often than that while I am playing Portal.

Any more ideas? Could this be a hardware issue?

Doubtful about a hardware issue.

Very likely you have an old driver on the system causing conflict, motherboard utilities installed, Daemon Tools installed or something alone those lines that can cause the issue.

I did still have some motherboard utilities still installed. I got rid of them, rebooted, and the games still crash. I've noticed they crash less often with low graphics settings, but they will still always eventually crash.

Could the TDR timeout errors be caused by a slow CPU or slow RAM, or is it always caused solely by a slow graphics card?

The next thing I will try is doing a clean install of Windows 7 again, then just install the latest NVIDIA driver, then install Portal, then test it and see if I still have the issue.

I just reformatted the Hard Drive and reinstalled Windows 7. After installing all I did was install Portal and run it, and the graphics driver would still crash during the game. The only difference is this time I don't get the notification saying "Display driver NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver, Version xxx.xx stopped responding and has successfully recovered" because I haven't even installed the NVIDIA drivers. The screen just flashes back to the desktop, then back to the game every so often when I play it.

Does this mean the problem has to be a hardware problem? And if it is a hardware problem, does that mean it has to be the graphics card or is there a possibility it is some other component?

TDR timeouts happen for any reason under the sun that can disrupt the video subsystem. There are tons of reasons including hardware and software.

I would use RivaTuner to set the fan speed to max while playing games to test.

Also, clean any built up dust or dirt from the video card fan if any. It would be good to take it out of the machine, then place it firmly in again so you know all connections to motherboard are well. If they aren't now, that is yet another thing that can cause the issue.

Make sure your psu is sufficent for your system, with respect to it's maximum watt rating.


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
Hi Thomas,
Is the motherboard bios up to date?

TorrentG: I took the video card out, then put it back in, hardly any dust has collected anywhere in the system, I just built it a week ago, and most of the parts I used were brand new, including the Graphics Card.

I know it's not overheating, when I've used temperature monitoring while it crashes, the GPU temp is never more than 48C and the CPU is never more than 50C.

I'm pretty sure the PSU is sufficient, the graphics card is probably the most power intensive component I have and it only suggests a 350 watt. I have a 450 watt. Based on my specs, would you say my power supply would be enough?

Kemical: I'm not quite sure if the BIOS is up to date... This is the motherboard I have: ASRock > Products > P43DE
I couldn't find a download for a newer BIOS version on the website for the motherboard.

Another thing that has solved the TDR timeout issue in the past has been to set the memory timings and VDIMM (voltage) for the system memory, manually, in the bios.

Use CPU-Z to find the exact model number of the RAM modules. Then visit the manufacturer's website to get the correct values. Adjust motherboard by hand accordingly and save.

The RAM I have is Kingston KVR667D2N5/2G. I cannot seem to find the default timings for it anywhere. I know it is 2GB DDR2 667. This is the spec sheet for it from the Kingston website: http://www.valueram.com/datasheets/KVR667D2N5_2G.pdf

The timings that were auto-set by the motherboard for it are 5-5-5-15

The motherboard auto-set the voltage at 1.9V, but I brought it down to the default 1.8V (or rather, 1.79V, as the BIOS says) a few days ago.

The modules have a + or - range of .1v. I'd try setting it to 1.9v to see if it helps.

That may have helped a little. It seems to be freezing up less often now, but it still does it once a minute or so in Portal. If it is the RAM, I can swap it out for an old 256 MB module I have to test it, although I'm not sure what Windows 7 would do with only 256 MB...

That link is for the P43DE3. I have the P43DE. The BIOS version I'm running now is 1.70, and it was last updated on 05/27/2010.

I changed that URL to this one to match my motherboard's model, and the site says the latest version is 1.60, released on 09/08/2009: ASRock > Products > Motherboard > P43DE > Download

So I have a more recent version than the most recent version on the ASRock website...

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