Horrible Problems with nVidia Geforce Drivers and Vista x64

Aaaargh! That’s how you feel when you install nVidia Geforce drivers for your brand new card and suddenly your display goes blank!!

Hint: If you have more than one display connected to your card, try plugging one display first then add and configure the rest.

Hint: Try using a VGA cable. This works for some people.

Hint: This will take a few hours to resolve

That didn’t help? You can sort it out by logging in from another computer using RealVNC. From the remote computer, you select your monitor as the ‘primary display’, and choose a compatible resolution so your display shows up OK.

You can also login to windows vista from another computer using Windows Remote Desktop. This didn’t work for me, because it didn’t let me change the graphics settings from another computer. VNC works slightly differently, so it works well when trying to fix this problem.

The Problem

So you buy a graphics card, PCI Express, nVidia Geforce 8 Series (8400GS in this case) connect it up using a DVI/VGA cable to an LCD display (mines a Fujitsu-Siemens). You have Windows Vista x64 (I tried Business Edition). You’ve installed all the windows updates.

You come round to installing the graphics driver, so you put the driver CD in (or you get the latest version from the website) and install. It asks you to restart. The system loads, you see the the login screen loading at a nice resolution (so the driver’s working). You login, you see the welcome screen and then… BOOM. ‘No Signal Input’. The green LED turns orange, and your screen turns off. What??


This problem seems to be quite old. One suggestion is to use a VGA cable, but this doesn’t work for everyone. One explanation offered by some of the forums is that the nVidia drivers can’t read the EDID data held in the monitor. This EDID stuff tells the card what resolutions, refresh rates, colours etc. the monitor supports, so you don’t accidentally set the wrong options and fry your shiny new screen. If you’re monitor doesn’t have this data, or the card can’t read it, you might be getting the black screen problems.

You can view your monitor data using ViewSonics EDID tool. If you look at your screens EDID data and everything is fine, you must be wondering why your screen is still not working?

In my situation, my graphics driver settings were the problem. The card was saying I had a TV connected as the primary display instead of an LCD. Stupid machine.

Things To Try

I restarted the computer, pressed F8 after the BIOS screen, and chose safe mode. I downloaded guru3ds driver sweeper and the latest drivers from the website of the guys who packaged and sold my graphics card (a subvendor called Gigabyte). I ran driver sweeper, and cleared out the nVidia drivers. I restarted, installed the updated drivers and restarted.

If you get a black screen after doing this, try a different cable (ie from VGA to DVI or vice versa) then try a different monitor (if you have one).

If you still get a black screen, reboot into Safe mode, run driver sweeper, reboot into normal mode.

If you still get a black screen?? Read on…

Fixing the Problem with VNC

Note: Step 4 has instructions for Windows Vista – please Google instructions for other versions of Windows

  1. Start in safe mode so you can use your monitor, and remove the nVidia drivers using the guru3d driver sweeper.
  2. Restart into normal mode, then download and install RealVNC. If RealVNC has trouble starting as a service (you get an error message when you try to login ‘connection closed unexpectedly’) unregister the service (from the start menu, all programs, realvnc, unregister as a service) and run it in user mode.
  3. Right click the green V icon in the system tray and choose options. Configure RealVNC to authenticate using a password, and make one up.
  4. Setup your windows firewall to allow VNC through. If you see a dialog asking if you want to allow this program through the firewall choose yes. If you don’t see the dialog, you can do this from the Control Panel -> network connections & sharing option, click the windows firewall link at the bottom left of the window. Then choose allow a program through the firewall in the left hand menu of the new window, and choose add program, browse to the vnc folder, choose winvnc.exe and set the scope to your local subnet (usually 192.168.0.*).
  5. Set RealVNC to start up in user mode every time you log in. Do this by copying the shortcut for starting the server in user mode from the start menu->all programs->realvnc to the startup folder for ‘all users’. To do this, right click on start->all programs->startup folder, from the menu choose open all users, and paste the shortcut into there.
  6. Remove all user accounts from the system, except for the administrative account you use to install drivers. See step 8 to understand why.
  7. Install the latest nVidia drivers and restart the computer when it asks you.
  8. The computer loads up. If you see the login screen, login, and wait for the display to go blank. If the screen is already blank at the login screen, just type in your password and hit enter. This works because you only have one account installed. Vista should be logging you in even though you can’t see anything.
  9. Once you’re logged in, VNC should have started up. This means you can connect from another computer. Connect to the VNC server from another machine in your network using the vncviewer software and login using the password you selected before.
  10. You should now be able to see the desktop. Right click on the desktop and choose nVidia Control Panel. Run through the wizard, select a compatible resolution and click ok. In the nVidia control panel, there is a menu on the left, choose the option ‘manage multiple displays’. On my computer it was detecting the screen as a TV. I chose to display the same image on two displays (clone) and then selected P17 + TV in the drop down list (my monitor was called P17.) I Chose my P17 monitor as the primary display. I then Clicked apply, clicked OK to keep the new settings. And the flat screen started working correctly.


If you install the latest RealVNC Enterprise/Personal Edition trial, it may be more compatible with Windows Vista and above. If you do this, it will register and run as a service. This means you don’t have to delete all your accounts in step 6 and try to login without seeing anything in step 8. I’ve not tried this though, so someone try this out and see if it works.

Comments welcome!


9 thoughts on “Horrible Problems with nVidia Geforce Drivers and Vista x64”

  1. I’d like to thank for great reading… Though, I solved this problem the same way “Raoul” did. I had 2 screens connected so i simply disconnected one of them (the tv) and it worked like a charm. Thanks though!

  2. You know I have an 8600GT with Vista x64 and I have only found one stable video driver for it. 163.75. They are old drivers but the most stable that I have found.

    To be honest I have been with nVidia and this is the worst ongoing driver problem that I have ever had. I will make the switch to ATI when I can afford it. Its really amazing how shotty of a job nVidia has done with their drivers and Vista. They used to be known for great drivers. Shame.

  3. Switching to a vga cable fixed the problem. For some reason my videocard thinks I running two moniters, the 21inch im actually using and some random analog input. After removing the analog moniter and restarting with the dvi cable the same problem occurs. Is there anyway to get the DVI working?

  4. Hi Rick. I think your video card allows you to connect two displays at once, your vga and one dvi, so that’s you’re seeing that random analog input.

    I’m guessing that if you connect two monitors up, one vga, one dvi, and start your system, it might allow you to setup the resolution on the DVI display using the nVidia control panel. Once you set it up you should be able to use the DVI cable with just one monitor connected.

    If you don’t have two monitors, I’m not sure what elseyou can do besides the remote login method in the article? If you get this working, please keep us posted.

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