Fix for BSOD from NVLDDMKM.SYS Nvidia Driver on Windows 7 64-Bit

I originally wanted to put this up on eZineArticles but they rejected it claiming I had advertising in the body of the article. I don’t really see how, but I don’t feel like arguing it with them either.

This article is intended for intermediate-to-advanced users. If you are a beginner, please have someone assist you with performing any steps you are unfamiliar with.

If you are experiencing a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) from the NVLDDMKM.SYS Nvidia driver and you are using Windows 7 64-bit (may also work on 32-bit, not sure), I may have found the only REAL solutions. It is so difficult to find an answer because it appears that Nvidia is simply not very compatible with Windows 7.

If you’ve been scanning the forums, you’re bound to come across MANY people have experienced this problem and most haven’t found many solutions. However, these are a few of the ones that helped some people, as well as what worked for me.

Since I know how horrible it was trying to weed through the forums – full of complaints but very little beneficial information – I thought it’d be helpful to compile everything into one easy article. If you’re out there and dealing with this problem, I feel your pain.

I can’t promise that any of these suggestions will work, but I definitely hope that one of them does the trick for you. As I said, I eventually did find a working solution.

These solutions will address these following problems:

  1. Computer will not boot to Normal Mode, only bootable to Safe Mode.
  2. Computer hangs at “Starting Windows” screen.
  3. Computer reaches “Starting Windows” screen and restarts.
  4. Computer will boot to Normal Mode, but will randomly BSOD.**

Possible Solution 1: Thoroughly check your computer for spyware, viruses, or any other possible malware.

This is a good first step to take to make absolute certain that nothing else could be causing the problem. I recommend Malware Bytes (they have a free version). Assuming you have already taken this step, let’s go to the next one.

Possible Solution 2: Run chkdsk /r /f

This may or may not be contributing anything to your problem. It’s one of those “general” possibilities. However, it didn’t help me. If you’ve gone way past this point and are ready to throw your computer, keep reading.

Possible Solution 3: Disable Aero

This solution may only work if you are able to boot into Normal Mode, but I think I discovered a roundabout way of disabling Aero via Safe Mode as well.

How to Disable Aero In Normal Mode:

  1. Right-click your Desktop
  2. Click “Personalize”.
  3. In the list of themes, scroll down to “Basic and High-Contrast Themes”.
  4. Choose “Windows Basic Theme”.
  5. Click OK.

If you are stuck working in Safe Mode, “Personalize” is not available. However, I think I found a way around it. Aero deals with resource-intensive visual effects. Although you don’t have the option of directly disabling Aero from safe mode, you can disable those effects, which should, in turn, disable Aero.

How to (Possibly) Disable Aero In Safe Mode:

  1. Click your “Start” button (the flag orb)
  2. Right-click “Computer”.
  3. Click “Properties”
  4. Click “Advanced System Settings”.
  5. This should put you on the “Advanced” tab in a new box titled “System Properties”.
  6. Under “Performance” click “Settings”.
  7. On the “Visual Effects” tab, you’re probably set to “Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer.” Change this to “Adjust for Best Performance”.
  8. Click “OK”.

Revising that setting will disable all the fancy stuff and your menu will go back to pre-XP style. Again, I don’t know for sure but given that you’re disabling Aero’s features, it only makes sense that it would disable Aero.

Possible Solution 4: Roll back your video card driver.

If it’s possible that you updated video card drivers before you started experiencing the problems, try rolling back your drivers. Maybe it’s just the most recent one that’s causing the problem.

You may want to create a new system restore point before you do this, but it shouldn’t make too much difference unless your last driver version was even worse.

  1. Click “Start”.
  2. Click “Control Panel”
  3. Click “Device Manager”
  4. Expand “Display Adapters”
  5. Right-click your Nvidia adapter.
  6. Click “Properties”
  7. Click the “Driver” tab.
  8. Click “Roll Back…”
  9. Click “OK”

Possible Solution 5: Install Vista (or other OS) instead.

This is a bit extreme, but several people mentioned that when they downgraded their Windows 7 to Vista, everything worked smoothly. Personally, I can’t stand Vista and I still love Windows 7… but if your computer won’t function and you have the disc handy, I suppose it’s worth a shot.

I’d use it as a last resort, though, unless you’re really into Vista. You could also try a different operating system altogether, but Vista is the closest to Windows 7 without being Windows 7.

Possible Solution 6: Update your Nvidia video card drivers.

Perhaps your current driver is the problem and only an update would work. If you do, you can update to the most recent one (as of this writing, it’s 280.26). However, after a little research I discovered people were having a lot of problems with that driver. I’m not usually one to go for the latest and greatest – I let other people be the guinea pigs.

I read that 275.33 seemed to be a decent driver, so that’s what I tried. You can download the 275.33 driver from Nvidia.

After you download the file, you’ll have to run it to install the drivers. You can attempt to install the new Nvidia driver over the existing, or you can go with the “Clean Install” option. This option will remove your existing drivers, restart your computer, and then install the new Nvidia drivers.

Note: This was the first time the computer rebooted without issue. However, the video started to go and the driver repeatedly crashed, even though it would “Recover Itself”. Eventually though, it blue screened again.

Possible Solution 7: Try a clean boot.

This will instruct your computer to boot using minimal services and drivers. However, it didn’t eliminate enough for me to solve the problem. But it’s worth a shot.

  1. Click “Start”.
  2. In the search box type msconfig
  3. Press “Enter”
  4. On “General”, click “Diagnostic Startup”
  5. Click “Apply” (the button will automatically shift back to “Selective Startup”, but this option will disable unnecessary services and programs)
  6. Click “OK”.

It should ask you to restart, if so, click “Restart Now”.

Possible Solution 8: Disable or uninstall your Nvidia graphics card.

It may suck, but it was ultimately the solution that proved to work in the end**. And if your computer absolutely will not boot up except in Safe Mode, it may be your only solution.

You could buy a new video card, but that would still first involve uninstalling the existing one. (Note: If you’re on a laptop with Nvidia Graphics built-in, this should still work fine. That was my scenario. Windows defaults to its basic graphics driver when you disable Nvidia. I should’ve known this already, but I had a brain fart. 😛 )

  1. Go to “Start”.
  2. Click “Control Panel”
  3. Click “Device Manager”
  4. Click “Display Adapters”
  5. Right-click your Nvidia display adapter.
  6. Click “Disable” (you could uninstall it right away, but this should work too)
  7. Click “OK”.

If you are able to boot into Safe Mode, you’ll notice that your Nvidia drivers aren’t in use (hence the whole point of Safe Mode). If your computer is stable in Safe Mode but seems to fall apart in Normal Mode (or not make it there at all), this may be the solution.

In the end, disabling the card was the only thing to bring the computer back to a mode of stability and allowed it to boot up into Normal Mode without a hitch.

The resolution isn’t as good and Aero isn’t enabled, but it works.

Hopefully, one of these solutions solved the problem for you.

**Update: The laptop that I did these repairs on has a bunch of random issues and after the “Uninstall Driver” it worked a few times then reverted to the 640×480 resolution without the ability to change it back. Sometimes a reboot would change it back to normal Windows resolution, but other times not. Eventually, we re-enabled his Nvidia graphics card with the 275.33 driver which produced a good resolution (Aero re-enabled by default). The computer now functions as normally as it will, but it still experiences random BSODs. However, coming from a non-functional status (problems #1-#3 above) I still consider it a success.
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18 Responses to Fix for BSOD from NVLDDMKM.SYS Nvidia Driver on Windows 7 64-Bit

  1. MKx says:

    well for me none of those worked on my G60JX Asus i5-430M. So what did I do? I down-clocked the GPU from 500/1800/1323 (factory) to 525/1725/1225 and I have NEVER had that blue screen issue. How to do it? Simple. Install nVidia nTune. Then download nVidiaInspector by Orbmu2k and click onon show over clock. Adjust the settings as necessary and the click “Create Shortcut Clock” at the bottom. The shortcut is on your desktop. Put that shortcut in your startup folder and say goodbye to that annoying issue. Just remember clocks can ony be reset when the power is on A/C. After that you can remove A/C and it will be as you set it.

    • Heather says:

      Glad you found another solution! I know that this Blue Screen proves a headache for so many, it’s nice to add another possible fix. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  2. Sil198 says:

    Try switching to a few rezolutions accepted by the drivers card : 640 / 720/1280/1440/1920 on 60 Hz , I discoverd this in regedt at local machine/system/control/additional mode lists/graphics drivers/DVI .I had the same problem before I was running 1680 anyway … but not anymore … not yet

    • Sil198 says:

      From safe mode or low rezolution ( push F8 in boot screen or if you do not have a boot screen before loading windows),change your resolution and then restart in normal mode.

      • Heather says:

        Thank you for the additional solution! It is great and at the same time unfortunate that there are SO MANY solutions coming together on here. Great that everyone is compiling an even larger list of possible solutions but awful that there are so many things that could be tried and nothing seems to be a guaranteed fix!

  3. Jon Vox says:

    For some time I suffered from random Bsod with Windows 7 (64) and a Nvdia GTX465. There were no indications where to lay the blame. I always update my Nvdia drivers, properly, with a clean install. This time I deleted the driver completely, let it reboot and prevent windows to put back any old driver. It did on reboot , but that was the vga driver. Reinstalled the latest driver 301.42 and problem solved.

    • Heather says:

      Thanks so much for the info! I’m hoping that a compilation of solutions on this page continues to grow and help anyone else with this headache of a problem!

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  5. BVerse says:

    Thanks for this post. I have a Dell M4400 with Windows 7 32bit. Bought it used. When i got it it wouldn’t go into sleep or hibernate mode. Then on battery power it would simply drain battery and shutdown, not saving anything. After much search I decided to re-install the OS. This fixed the sleep/hibernate issue but then these BSOD problems started. Always displaying the nvlddmkm.sys source. Sometimes the computer would run for days with no problems – then it would BSOD 10 times in a row. Then run for more days. 6 Days ago it happened again. I could get it to reboot, but whenever I opened almost any window (like Chrome, Quickbooks, Personalization) it would BSOD. Then I’d go to Safe Mode with Networking and it worked fine. I’d then reboot and leave it untouched so my Dropbox would sync. Then try to open Chrome again and BSOD before it could complete. (BTW, I tried reinstalling Windows 7 several times.) I found this page today and tried disabling the NVidia driver. Funny though that I was able to do this in normal mode while opening the control panel and device manager window. I’m writing this up in Chrome while in Normal Mode. This is the first time in 6 days that I’ve been able to run in normal mode this long. I consider myself an intermediate Windows user, but I didn’t know that I could disable the NVidia driver. Not sure what capabilities I lose, but it’s worth it so far. I’ll keep you posted on the longevity of this fix. Thanks for the blog post.

  6. BVerse says:

    Quick followup: I just realized that now that my Nvidia driver is disabled I don’t have sleep/hibernate capability.

    • Heather says:

      I’m so glad that something on here helped you, even if it disabled the sleep/hibernate capability again. I just did some quick research and found that Windows 7 apparently will not hibernate when on its standard Windows drivers, so it isn’t just a random recreated issue on your computer, it’s a Windows 7 problem. 😦 What an unfortunate forced trade-off just to have a working PC! It could also mean that your initial problem with sleep/hibernate was caused by one or more faulty drivers on your system when you bought the PC, that the previous owners didn’t bother (or know how) to fix.

      You may wish to try what Jon Vox suggested above, installing the latest Nvidia driver 301.42. If this helps you definitely post back and let us know – if so, that could mean Nvidia FINALLY solved the problems with their driver! If not, you could always disable the driver again and go back to the current setup.

  7. Alex says:

    Hy, your solutions are the most logical I could find on the web, thanks. For me “update driver” really worked. I should have seen that. But I realized that the same BSOD came after a month or so when I played a game, and I think madde it reach some critical temperature. And as long as I control myself in gaming, I’ve seend it works just fine. Thanks for the solutions in the first place, really came handy.

  8. Arthur Crout says:

    Im not trying to be rude here folks. I suffered from that plague and many other green guy errors. It happened all the time, no matter speeds , drivers, install what ever. I got fed up and did my research and finally found the only 100% fix for this problem.
    I bought AMD baby! Faster , less buggy, cheaper, and wow did I notice a difference! The entire PC sped up.
    But with nvidia, those error’s were usually caused by heat, and single bit errors in the gpus memory. Its a catch 22 using that prehistoric DDR3 sometimes 2 RAM thats on the boards of most green cards. Try dumping your mem MHz, and raising your fans to lower your cooling.

    • Heather says:

      LOL well yes, replacing the hardware entirely would seem likely to fix things – albeit on the pricy side. Thanks for your input! 🙂

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  10. Nice writeup! eZineArticles was probably greedily concerned with its own revenue more than posting quality articles, their loss.

    I’ve just started having this issue with my desktop and eVGA GeForce 470, in my case BSOD occurs just after ‘Starting Windows’ appears and mentions the nvlddmkm.sys file. Upon uninstalling the nVidia drivers completely from Safe Mode I was able to at least boot into normal mode in VGA (640×480), but upon trying to reinstall the latest drivers the problem recurs.

    I was tired when I tried the above last so I’ll give it a fresh start later today; entirely possible I missed a step and need to do something else (e.g. if a Windows update has insinuated itself I might have to account for that).

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