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Monday, May 20, 2013

Troubleshooting nVidia nforce drivers

for GNU/Linux
  1. About this Howto
  2. Determining your card model
  3. Installing the drivers
    1. GeForce 8 and newer
    2. GeForce 6/7
    3. GeForce 5 (FX series)
    4. GeForce 2 through GeForce 4
    5. Older
  4. Special notes
    1. x86_64 (64bit) users
    2. PAE (Physical Address Extension) kernel users
    4. Akmods
    5. Nouveau compatibility
  5. Troubleshooting
  6. Disable or uninstall the nvidia driver
  7. Bug Report
Nvidia ForceWare Network Access Manager (NAM)
(to install NAM look for post number 316)
And a comment
Yeah, I got NAM installed, but over the last 48 hours or so I have seen enough bugs to abandon it, plus Nvidia has apparently abandoned it. Can't connect to DHCP server no matter what the security settings, plus random flakiness in the logs and user interface. Using ZoneAlarm now.
NVIDIA "hidden firewall" causes networking problem!!
If you have the NVIDIA nforce networking controller with onboard LAN, you may have a "hidden firewall" interfering with your network connection.
To make a very long story short, I exhausted all of the networking manipulations which Chuck's excellent advice and his website had to offer (details of the saga in the thread cited above), and then corrected the problem by uninstalling the NVIDIA drivers and reinstalling them without the Forceware Network Access Manager. I was lulled into a false sense of security the first few times I did this, because I specifically did *not* install the firewall and disabled the ActiveArmor firewall configuration program. I did, however, install the Network Access Manager, thinking from the title, that it enabled me to connect to my "network". Wrong. Actually it's just a web-based configuration manager for the NVIDIA LAN, firewall, and ActiveArmor, like the one Linksys routers use. Not needed.  But the "hidden firewall" must have been installed with the manager nonetheless. But it was indeed hidden. 
With that background, I have outlined a stepwise solution, which I would recommend if you have a similar problem. There's nothing irreversible here. 
1. First go to Local area connection properties and write down all the values, especially for TCP/IP, including values under the advanced tab. You'll need these later.
(Control Panel\network connections\local area connection - right click\properties)
2. Download the appropriate drivers for your system and OS. In my case it was nForce4 series for  AMD/Win2k/XP
3. Now go to control panel|add remove programs.
4. Remove Network Access Manager first. (Don't remove NVMixer, a separate program.)
5.  Remove NVIDIA drivers.During the removal, a menu will appear to ask you which components you want to remove. Choose "Remove all drivers except display". This makes things a lot easier. If you remove "display" when you reboot, you may have trouble continuing, because without display drivers, the "next" and "enter" buttons will be off  the bottom of the screen. I was lucky enough to be able to proceed by using  a blind "CTRL-ENTER" but you may not be that lucky. There's no need to remove the display drivers.
6. Reboot. 

7. Install the new drivers from the downloaded .exe file. When you are asked "Do you want to install NVIDIA Firewall and Forceware Network Access Manager?", just say "NO" 
8. Reboot.
9. Remember you'll now have to reconfigure TCP/IP. Control panel, right click "network connections"\open\local area connection\right click\properties\internet protocol (TCP/IP)\properties. Go through all the screens, including under advanced tab, and fill in all fields as they were before they got deleted.  (You wrote them down at the start.)
If you want some more input, do a search with words NVIDIA and
"network access manager". Here are two sites I came upon:

"The NVIDIA Firewall and ForceWare Network Access Manager was not installed because it is not needed, can make intentional network access more troublesome,..."

Another site, randomly chosen. There are many more.  
But yeah, Nvidia Firewall conflicts pretty badly with antivirus programs. 
Use revo uninstaller
https://www.  box  .com/s/fqwp9uhyd5kb72j2m2wg
New Driver Installation
There is nothing tricky or difficult about installing the new Forceware drivers. The whole process is simple, as long as you read and follow the prompts provided by the installer. However below are some things to note during the process:
1. Once you've downloaded the latest Official Forceware driver package, simply double-click on it to launch the Nvidia driver installation wizard.
2. When the driver package prompts you for a directory to install the Forceware drivers, it is important to note that this directory is just the place where the files will be temporarily unzipped for installation purposes. It is not where the final drivers will be installed. You can leave the default location shown, but I personally recommend you specify an empty folder of your own choosing. In any case make a note of the directory name, as after installation you can safely delete this directory and its contents - see the Tidying Up section on the next page.
3. As of the 260 Forceware series onwards, during installation you can select the driver components you wish to install. Select the 'Custom (Advanced)' option during installation, and then untick any unnecessary components. For example, if you are not using the Nvidia 3D Vision functionality - which requires specialized 3D glasses and a suitable display - then untick the '3D Vision Driver' box to prevent its driver from being installed. Similarly, the 'HDMI Audio Driver' is unnecessary unless you use this function. THe 'Nvidia Update' component tries to automate the process of regularly updating your drivers. The only essential component is the Graphics Driver (which cannot be unticked). I also recommend installing the PhysX System Software as almost all GeForce 8 and higher cards support this feature, and it is often used in recent games; it does no harm to install the PhysX driver.
A 'Perform clean Install' check box is also available on the new installer, and if ticked will reset all Nvidia Forceware settings to default, removing any customizations you have made in the past. It's not absolutely necessary that this box be ticked, however in general I recommend ticking it to ensure that each time you install a new Forceware driver, you start with a clean slate and hence have less chance of conflicting settings from previous drivers. However this requires that you note down any of your custom driver settings first before installing new Forceware drivers.
4. Follow the remaining prompts and during the installation process reboot as often as you are prompted, since this is also an important step in making sure Windows has a chance to replace system files which are currently in use. As noted earlier, you do not need to enter Safe Mode in Windows to properly install/uninstall drivers.
If you want to install an unofficial Forceware driver set for which there is no single executable driver package or automated setup file, you will have to manually install the driver. To do this, go to the Windows Control Panel>System>Hardware>Device Manager in XP or Control Panel>Device Manager in Vista and 7 and under the 'Display Adapters' category, double-click on your particular graphics card. Go to the Driver tab and click the 'Update Driver' option, then select 'Install from a list or specific location' and click Next. Then select 'Don't search, I will choose the driver to install' and click Next. On the next screen click the 'Have Disk' button and Browse to the directory where the new Forceware driver files are located, and find the appropriate .INF file.
Once the above is done, your new Forceware drivers should be installed and your system should be fully functional. Test out a few of your games to see if there are any obvious issues or glitches. If available, you can also load up your Forceware Control Panel settings from any pre-saved Profiles you may have - see the Profiles section further above. If you want to uninstall/remove any of the Nvidia driver components at any time, you can do so as required - see the next page for details.
Old Driver Removal
You need to follow some simple steps which will help guarantee that your installation of the Nvidia Forceware drivers is 'clean', and leads to trouble-free performance. Fortunately, as of the 260 Forceware series onwards, Nvidia has incorporated an option which automates the 'clean install' process. This is covered in the section above. I only recommend the procedure below if you are experiencing graphical corruption, performance issues, or strange behavior, and the automated method of doing a clean install via the Nvidia driver installer does not assist in resolving your problem. The procedure below is also useful if you are going to remove Nvidia drivers and switch to another brand of graphics card.
To completely remove your existing Nvidia Forceware graphics drivers and all associated traces of them from your system do the following:
1. Uninstall any existing graphics drivers. To do this, go to Control Panel>Add or Remove Programs in XP or Control Panel>Programs and Features in Vista and 7. Select the 'Nvidia Drivers' (or similar) item if available and click the Change/Remove or Uninstall button and follow the prompts, rebooting as required. If you happen to have any other graphics drivers left over from previous hardware, such as ATI graphics drivers, uninstall them from here as well. If you have an Nvidia-based motherboard, when uninstalling the Nvidia drivers you may have to specifically select the 'Remove only the following' item, then only select the 'Nvidia Display Drivers' box. If you cannot find any Nvidia display-related entries (e.g. a fresh install of Windows), you are probably using the default Windows graphics drivers, which means you can skip this entire section as there is no driver residue on your system.
Note that if available, you may wish to save your settings under a custom Profile (see further above) before you uninstall the Forceware drivers. Note further that there may also be 'Nvidia Display Control Panel', 'Nvidia PhysX', and even a 'Nvidia Stereoscopic 3D driver' components visible. You can uninstall any of these which are left after uninstalling the main 'Nvidia Drivers' component before installing another graphics driver to prevent any problems, but it is not absolutely necessary.
Prior to the next step, you may hear some people recommending that you reboot Windows into Safe Mode before continuing installation. You can do this if you wish - see the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for details of how to enter Safe Mode, and what exactly it does. The reason Safe Mode can be used is because in Safe Mode, no third party drivers are loaded up into memory by Windows; only the default Windows drivers are used. However this is almost always unnecessary; you do not need to enter Safe Mode to install/uninstall drivers properly. Only if you're having major driver-related problems which nothing else resolves should you use the Safe Mode method, as it is not a required part of the standard driver installation routine. Certainly I've never used this method and I've also never had any notable driver issues for many years now.
2. When you reboot, you may find Windows detecting your graphics card as a new device and attempt to find appropriate drivers for your card. Cancel out of all such attempts. If you can't then don't worry about it - usually Windows will simply install its own built-in default drivers for your graphics card and this is fine.
3. This step is optional, however it is strongly recommended if you are either (a) downgrading your Forceware drivers to an older version, or (b) experiencing problems and want to ensure you have a complete 'clean' install of the Forceware drivers. Basically the aim is to find all the individual Nvidia graphics driver files and Registry entries and remove them manually. Note that if you have an Nvidia nForce motherboard, it is recommended that you undertake this step with great caution, as you may accidentally delete Nvidia driver files which relate to your motherboard and not the graphics card. The instructions differ based on your OS:
Automated Removal
For less advanced users, or for those who want to take less of a risk, you can remove older driver files and entries using the free and fully automated Driver Sweeper utility.
Manual Removal
If you are still experiencing problems after using the automated method, or you want to be certain you've removed all driver debris, use the manual method below, though it carries extra risks:
Windows XP: For nForce users, the only file you can safely delete is nv4_disp.dll which relates to the graphics driver - skip to step 4 below after that. For all non-nForce users, to manually delete the Forceware drivers go to your \Windows\System32 and \Windows\System32\Drivers directories, and find and delete all files beginning with 'NV...'. You may notice that some of these files keep recreating themselves - don't worry, these are just the default XP Nvidia drivers which are protected and can't be permanently deleted. Just delete all the Nvidia driver files and let Windows decide which default files the system should keep. Alternatively you can use the Windows Search function (Start - Search), with the search string NV*.* to make searching and deletion faster. Importantly however, do not delete the files under the \ServicePackFiles or \Lastgood directories, or under any game or application-specific directories. Just stick to files found under the two directories mentioned above.
Windows Vista & 7: See the 'Viewing, Updating or Uninstalling Drivers' section in the Windows Drivers chapter of the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. It can be trickier to manually remove driver traces in Vista and 7, so you must read the instructions carefully to see how it's done. Generally speaking manual driver removal in Vista and 7 shouldn't be required unless you're experiencing problems.
Note: If you want to know the exact filenames of all the Nvidia graphics driver files in use on your system, prior to uninstalling the drivers open the Forceware Control Panel and click the 'System Information' link in the bottom left corner of the new Forceware CP. Under the Components tab of the box which opens you can see all the individual filenames and the functionality they relate to. Make a note of these and you can then search for and remove any that are left after you've uninstalled the drivers.
Finally, make sure you delete the main program folder(s) where you installed the Forceware drivers. The default install location is \Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation (and also \Program Files (x86)\NVIDIA Corporation on 64-bit systems) - go there and delete this folder and all of its contents.
4. This step is completely optional, but again it is recommended if you want to ensure a totally 'clean' install, especially if you are experiencing graphics-related problems. See the Windows Registry chapter of the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for the relevant tools you can use to do this. If you're using the Windows Registry Editor to manually delete registry entries - which is recommended only for more advanced users - go to Start - Run or Start - Search Box, type RegEdit and press Enter. Then go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key, select the 'Software' subkey, and scroll down to the 'Nvidia Corporation' entry, and underneath you should find a 'Global' entry. Right-Click on this 'Global' key and select Delete to remove it. You can also delete the 'Installer' and 'NVControlPanel' keys. Do not remove any other items.
The steps above should remove all the main components and entries of old Nvidia graphics drivers and Control Panels which have been installed on your system. Of course the quickest method is to just uninstall the Nvidia Drivers item in Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features under the Control Panel and reboot - but as I've said, if you have a history of graphical problems, if you've installed multiple versions of the Forceware drivers without a proper clean out, or if you are reverting to an older version of the Forceware drivers from a newer one, you should follow all four steps above at least once, and even consider the use of the Safe Mode method if all else fails.
The next section continues with details of how to clean up your system and do some initial optimization after the Forceware installation

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