GeForce Driver "Clean" Install Guide


By: DJNOOB
December 8, 2010

There are many users out there have issues installing or updating their drivers. More often than not the issue is an error between the desk and chair. Here I will outline in detail how to properly uninstall and install drivers. There are some that may view some of these steps as overkill but these steps however take into consideration several potential issues that might prevent a driver from uninstalling or installing properly.

This guide is created on a desktop Windows Vista 64 bit operating system and assumes that you have some basic computer knowledge. This also assumes that you have recent drivers installed including PhysX and 3D Stereo drivers.

First things first, download your drivers from here.

If you are unsure which driver to download, NVIDIA has made a handy dandy tool that will scan your system and provide you with the driver to download. Just click the grpahics driver button and follow the prompts. (you will be asked permission to download and install a scanner which does require java to have been installed on your pc)

Desktop users: This is the only place you should be downloading drivers from. Some websites such as guru3d.com have drivers posted on their download pages but even those links actually come from the NVIDIA driver download.

Notebook users: Some laptops, especially older ones, require that you get your drivers directly from the manufacturer. If you attempt to install a driver from the NVIDIA site and get a message saying the driver could not find a compatable device then you will need to get your driver from the laptop manufacturer. Unfortuantely for you, this likely means that this driver will not have the latest feature set. NVIDIA is working with laptop manufacturers to eliminate this issue.

Next you need download a program called Driver Sweeper. You find that application here.

Once you have downloaded this application, install it. Then open up the applicaiton and under the options section check for updates and install any that are available. Now close the application.

Now before we begin the uninstall process there are a few things you need to do

Step 1. Stop windows from installing updates automatically. Go to your control panel, then windows upate, then change settings. Change this setting to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them."

Step 2. Disable or turn off any antivirus you have running, especially any that have some sort of real time scanner. (Sorry but with so many apps you'll have to figure this one out on your own) VISTA USERS- make sure you disable windows defener. (personally if you do use it I'd stop using it al together. It's a horrible program)

Now if you use any applications like EVGA precision, nHancer, MSI afterburner, or ANY type of system monitoring software that is set to launch when you start windows, disable it.Also, if you use any of the above applications to Overclock your graphics card, you need to return you cards to stock settings. This is optional but you may even want to take the step of just simply uninstalling any of these types of applications, especially those that are able to to be used for overclocking or 3D profile changes (such as nHancer)

We are now ready to being the uninstall process.

Step 1. Go to your control panel and go to programs and features or add/remove programs

Step 2. Uninstall the NVIDIA Stereoscopic 3D Driver

Step 3. Uninstall the NVIDIA PhysX

STOP! - do not uninstall anything else. close the applications window.

Next navigate to your device manager. This can also be found in your control panel.

In your device manager, navigate to the display adapters. Click on the little + button next to dispaly adapters and you should now see your graphics card listed. Right click on your graphics card and click uninstall. At this point a you'll get a pop up window- NOTE: be sure to put a check mark in the box to "delete the driver software for this device"

Now that your driver is uninstalled we need to delete the driver folders. These can be located in the following locations:

- C:/NVIDIA/
Delete the "DisplayDriver" folder

- C:/Program Files/
Delete the entire "NVIDIA Corporation" folder

Go to this folder c:/Windows/System32/DriverStore/FileRepository. Delete any folder that begins with nv_disp.inf (make sure you are deleting the correct folder here) If you are unable to delete this folder, please see the bottom of this thread.

For 64bit OS users

- C/Program Files (x86)
Delete the entire "NVIDIA Corporation" folder

Optional step- you will lose any 3D game/program settings you may have altered in the control panel

- C/ProgramData
Delete both the "NVIDIA" and "NVIDIA Corporation" folder

If for some reason you don't find some of these folders, that's ok.

Now before you do ANYTHING else, read these next steps until your are instructed to re-boot your pc.

Step 1. You are going to reboot your pc in safe mode (press F8 as your computer boots up)(DON"T DO THIS NOW)

Step 2. When options come up for safe mode, choose the first option on the list that only says "Safe Mode" (The one without networking)

*Note* Windows will install a generic VGA driver once you boot. That is totally fine and will not affect your install. There is no need to remove it.

Once your computer has booted and you now in windows safe mode

Step 3. Open up Driver Sweeper application.

Step 4. Put check marks in the boxes next to the following items

- NVIDIA Display
- NVIDIA PhysX

Step 5. Click the Analyze button

Once the program is done analyzing you should see a list of items with check marks next to all of them. If for some reason all the items do not have checkmarks, you can click the * button, then select and then all.

Step 6. Now click the Clean button

Step 7. Once that has completed. Close the application and reboot your machine as normal.

If you do not think you can remember these steps then I suggest you copy and paste this info into a word or text doc and save it on your desktop so you can reference it. Remember, you will not have internet access while you are performing these steps.

Once you have completed steps 1-7 you can proceed with the driver installation.

You may now go ahead and do steps 1-7 and then install your new drivers.

Happy New Drivers!!!

Instructions on how to take ownership of file/folder so you can delete it.

Step 1. Right click on the folder and go to properties.

Step 2. A window will pop up and you need to go the "security" tab.

Step 3. At the bottom next to where it says "For special permissions....." click the "advanced" button.

Step 4. Another window will pop up and you need to go the "owner" tab.

Step 5. At the bottom of this window, click the "edit" button and another window will pop up.

Step 6. You will see a box in this window that says "Change owner to:" at the top. In this box, click/highlight the name that has "Administrators" in it.

Step 7. Cick "Apply" and then "OK" to close that window.

Step 8. Click "OK" to close the Advanced Security Settings window.

Step 9. Click "OK" to close the properties window

Step 10. Now, again right click on the folder and go to properties.

Step 11. Again, a window will pop up and you need to go to the "security" tab.

Step 12. Cick the "Edit" button next to where it says "To change permissions, click Edit." and another window will pop up.

Step 13. In this new window, in the box under where it says "Group or user names:" click/highlight "Everyone"

Step 14. Now, in the box that says "Permissions for Everyone", click the box in the "Allow" Column next to "Full Control"

Step 15. Cilck "Apply" and then ok to close the window.

Step 16. Click "OK" to close the properties window.

You should now have permission to delete this folder.


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