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Microsoft data shows NVIDIA caused bulk of Vista crashes

When Windows Vista first hit market, some driver issues were to be expected as hardware manufacturers moved existing components to the new OS from Windows XP. As is natural for new items, the enthusiast community was among the first to embrace the new operating system.

The incompatibilities were part due to Vista incorporating Microsoft’s DirectX 10 promising better graphics and physics in PC games. At the time, the high-end G80 graphics cards were some of the most popular graphics cards on the market including the NVIDIA 8800 GTS, GTX, and Ultra.

NVIDIA had driver problems with of Vista and DirectX 10 from the get go and delayed their first driver from a December 2006 release to a January 2007 release. Even once the driver hit market, there were wide spread reports of crashes because of NVIDIA drivers.

The problem with reports of buggy drivers is that no one can really tell if the drivers are actually at fault, or if the computer experiencing the driver crash has some other underlying problem contributing to the crash.

As part of the ongoing Vista Capable class action lawsuit, Microsoft released data on exactly what drivers caused the bulk of logged Windows Vista crashes. The number one culprit of Vista crashes related to driver failure was NVIDIA at 28.8%. Microsoft only broke logged crashes out for a few companies including NVIDIA, Intel (8.8%) and ATI (9.3%). Microsoft’s data shows that it was responsible for 17.9% of logged crashes.

The main early adopters of Vista were PC enthusiasts; the hardware of choice for PC enthusiasts at the time was NVIDIA G80 GPUs so it would be natural that more crashes would be logged as caused by a NVIDIA driver. Ars Technica also points out that the Microsoft data doesn’t specify if the crashes logged are from multiple machines or a group of particularly error prone computers experiencing multiple crashes.

DailyTech reported on the original suit being filed in April 2007. The suit alleged that Microsoft knowingly deceived customers with Windows Vista. The suit was given class action status in February 2008.

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Still have issues...
By EidolWays on 3/26/2008 5:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'm actually still having issues with my 7900 GT on Vista x64. When I enable dual displays, one display begins displaying nothing but distorted colors. The problem doesn't manifest until I install nVidia's drivers atop MS's default drivers.

Of course, I also experience these problems on 64-bit Linux, so I think it's either nVidia's drivers in general or this card in particular.

RE: Still have issues...
By exanimas on 3/26/2008 6:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
From what I know, it's a model specific issue relating to the drivers and not the x64/dual displays. I have a 7900GT and Vista 32-Bit and at first whenever UAC would pop up I'd get the distorted colors you are mentioning. After some research I found that, oddly enough, the "band-aid" like fix for this is to overclock the card (some people said even underclocking works). I have mine OCed 10mhz more than what it comes with and haven't seen those screens again since. If you're wondering, I used RivaTuner to make sure it stays overclocked. Hope this helps.

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