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
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.