This morning, the video adapters on my Vista dev box were resetting 2–3 times per minute.
After a pile of Windows Updates landed on my machine at 3am yesterday, it would occasionally freeze solid for a few seconds. Once in a while, all the monitors would go black briefly, then restore. Each time, I would see a status update pop up from the system tray, "Display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding and has successfully recovered."
This was irritating enough that I downloaded the latest NVidia drivers this morning, 185.85_desktop_winvista_32bit_english_whql.exe. That really screwed me. The video adapters started resetting 2–3 times per minute, rendering the machine almost unusable. I have two video adapters, NVidia GeForce 8600 GT and NVidia GeForce 7600 GT.
The eventlog was full of Event ID 4101 - Display Driver Timeout Detection and Recovery.
I reverted to the 178.24 drivers and that helped. When I’m not touching the machine, the adapters only get reset every few minutes instead of several times a minute. When I am using it, something as simple as clicking a window to bring it to the foreground can trigger a reset.
It’s very irritating but I can live with it for a little while, unlike the other. I don’t want to repave my box: apart from the time loss, I’m not convinced that it would help if I got the same driver config all over again.
I contacted a friend at Microsoft who tried to hook me up with a driver guy, who is unfortunately out of office. I’m hoping that it can be fixed early next week or my temper is going to fray rapidly.
Update: June 19th: See When Video Cards Go Bad.