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We, IT people, often like to tell clients that all software updates should be installed promptly or bad things will happen. And this is true… most of the time… However, in rare instances, the same promptly installed updates can ruin your day…

Nvidia GeForce Graphics Card
Nvidia GeForce Graphics Card

In this particular case, a Windows 11 computer of a client from an Oxford small business for no apparent reason started “crashing” after going into sleep mode. When waking up, the screen’s LED status light would briefly change to blue, meaning that the PC is waking up, but then change back to orange with a short “no signal” message on the screen. The PC itself would keep chugging along with fans spinning and Hard Drive LED light flashing.

From experience, all this immediately pointed me to the graphics card and video drivers. A quick glance at Windows system logs confirmed the suspicion – on the same day when the issue started Nvidia GeForce Experience software installed an updated version of Nvidia graphics drivers for the Nvidia GeForce 970 video card (specifically version 546.17).

The fix was pretty obvious – roll back the driver to an older version. When the driver is updated by Windows, this can be done pretty easily from Device Manager > [device] > Properties > Driver > Roll Back Driver.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Properties
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Properties

Unfortunately, when the driver is updated by third-party software (like in this case), this option is greyed out.

In that case, you need to head to the manufacturer’s website and find a driver download page, which is normally somewhere under Support. To complicate matters further, quite often manufacturer’s websites only allow to download the latest drivers, which in our case is of no use. In Nvidia’s example, on their main driver download page, there is a link to “Beta and Older Drivers“, which is exactly what we need!

Nvidia Driver Download Page
Nvidia Driver Download Page

There was a bit of trial and error, but eventually, I found that the driver which doesn’t cause this particular issue was version 537.42.

Despite this kind of issues, the advice remains the same – always update your software and drivers. Sure, issues like this can occur, but they are quite easily resolved. On the other hand, if an out-of-date software/driver with a massive security hole lets the bad guys lose on your network, we could be talking about issues of an entirely different calibre…

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