Nvidia drivers driving me crazy

I can’t figure this out for the life of me. I’ve got a fairly vanilla P4 2Ghz, 512MB RAM, Win98, with a GeForce Ti 4600. DirectX is at 9.0b. The last two iterations of the Detonator (44.03 and 45.23) drivers have been causing me problems, so I’ve been using 43.45.

However, I’ve got a game (UFO Aftermath) now that won’t run with 43.45. So I upgraded to 45.23 and it runs fine. But now all kinds of other stuff won’t run. Age of Mythology returns a simple ‘Failed to Initialize’ error before reaching the main screen (which uses the game engine). C&C: Generals crashes before getting to the main screen (which also uses the game engine).

I’ve tried various standard tricks like reinstalling the basic PCI VGA drivers before changing Detonator drivers, disabling virus protection, and even reinstalling DirectX just to be sure. No luck.

Anyone have any ideas on how I can maybe diagnose what’s going on here? I’m at the point now where I have to swap out drivers for different games, which is a real pain, especially for a guy like me who hunts down no-CD cracks before I even get the shrink wrap off a box.


Constantly swapping drivers is not a good thing. You may end up with different versions of different files from different driver sets and completely FUBAR your Windows. (I just had this ’ fun 'with the naughty 51.xx set)

All I can recommend you do is contact the peeps that made UFO and see if there is a patch out, you shouldn’t really be having trouble with any of those games with the latest drivers (the 45 set) …

Smart move on diabling virus protection, that shit can mess with your drivers upon install.

Also, before upgrading drivers you should remove the drivers for your graphics card first, so that it goes back to it’s default VGA set… once you’ve rebooted, then install the newer drivers. (In my experience)


Generally when my system starts doing stuff like that I tend to go “time for the annual Windows reinstall” and once I’ve lost a half-day to formatting/restoring, everything works great for another six months.

Before resorting to such, though, I’d recommend trying Driver Cleaner. It does a great job of purging the registry of old driver chaff, and it’s solved a few weird video card problems for me. Just uninstall your drivers from Add/Remove Programs, run Driver Cleaner (and CAB Cleaner, the first time you use it), and then install the latest drivers.

As any regular Combat Mission player will tell you, the last NVidia drivers without any problems were 30.82 :) . The latest official ones appear to work with CM if you turn off FSAA. Because I play CMBB regulalry by PBEM, I’ve stuck with the 30.82s and have had no problems with any other games, including AoW2 and UFO:Aftermath.

Oh 30.82! How I pine for thee!

Start with Denny’s suggestiong, so that all possible files and registry references to old drivers are nuked. If that doesn’t clean up the problem, trying going back even further, to older drivers. Performance may suffer a bit, but may also solve your problem.

Nvidia should have yet anohter set of new drivers out in a couple of weeks.

FSAA broke Combat Mission 1 on a Voodoo 5.

And those guys are still being burned by these problems?


For what it’s worth I’m still using 30.82. If you can downgrade that far Tom, do it. I’ve had no problems with those drivers with any games. If the new drivers make things look better… well, to hell with “looking better”. I like “working”.

FSAA broke Combat Mission 1 on a Voodoo 5…[/quote]

ATI cards, on the other hand, don’t show the fog effect in the Combat Mission (i.e. can’t show foggy weather on the battlefield), so there’s no perfect solution for that game.

Nvidia’s driver problems are really troubling – first Creative stops supporting Live cards, now Nvidia’s rock-solid driver tradition is in tatters. Meanwhile, ATI has largely worked out its driver problems. The hardware world is upside down.

ATI’s drivers are still plenty wonky, though. Sadly, there’s no solid current-generation video card solution right now.

That’s not my experience, although I may not test out as many games as you guys. I haven’t had any driver problems with an ATI card (9700/9800 pro) in well over a year (since the initial drivers released with the 9700 had a problem with a few new games at that time, inludiing BF1942)

I’ve actually never had drivers as solid as ATI’s have been over the past 12 months – no problems whatsoever.

I have a rig with a GeForce FX5900 Ultra and a rig with an All-in-Wonder Radeon 9800 Pro, and I’ve seen a few problems in both places.

MS Flight Sim 2004 had problems with both cards, for instance.

Detontators aren’t as solid as they used to be. Catalysts are much, much better than they were. But I’d say if anything they’ve about reached parity now – a mild slide on Nvidia’s part and a dramatic improvement on ATI’s.

I agree, every single issue I had with them has been fixed by the 3.4s and up. There is the 16-bit OpenGL bug still floating around (that hasn’t really effected me) but even that should be fixed by the 3.8s (current version is 3.7).

– Xaroc

Rats, no luck.

I tried Denny’s Driver Cleaner and I even rolled back to 30.82. But UFO Aftermath won’t work with anything but the last two iterations, and the last two iterations won’t work with some of the latest games. Must be something screwy deep in my system, because I can’t imagine 45.23 is inherently incomptaible with AoM and C&C.

Sigh. Guess it’s time for a Windows reinstall/sacrifice of half a damn day.


New audio drivers?

Maybe use this as an opportunity to upgrade to Windows XP. I have a similar system to yours and am using the latest 45.23 drivers. All my games work fine - even C&C Generals (which can be damned flaky at the best of times).

FWIW though I still have to reinstall XP every six months or so. I don’t care what anyone says I still find XP to be as flaky as Windows 98 was.

I’m actually in the process in prepping my machine for a wipe and reinstall. (Backing up data, downloading the latest hardware drivers so I can burn them on a CD, etc.)

It’s been about 7 months since I last did this. There’s nothing wrong with my system, and performance is still the same. But it’s just some weird need for me to do it. I suppose it’s kinda like I’ve been conditioned.

Part of the reason is that I’m just kind paranoid about making sure there’s nothing “hidden” lurking in my system. I suppose the security nightmare Valve is having right now, discovering tons of spyware on their systems, is probably part of the reason.

But I also do tend to think there’s a lot of junk on it as well, and that it’s good to force myself to actually examine the contents of all the folders and just keep the stuff I need.

Yeah, they write DirectX calls according to Microsoft standards and expect video cards to support DirectX properly. What idiots.

I think the old advice to always keep your video drivers up to date no longer stands, these days it’s more the case of finding a set that works for you and sticking with them. It if ain’t broke don’t upgrade it.

I think most everyone else programming 3d engines realizes that sometimes, the documents don’t work and you have to do these things called “workarounds”, especially if you’re a small company that can’t lean on ATI and Nvidia to fix their drivers.

I care one whit about whether or not their code lines up to the specs. CM1 never worked well on my Voodoo5, so I didn’t buy CM2.

I’m a programmer. If the documentation isn’t right, and the customer asks me why so-and-so doesn’t work, the answer isn’t “I wrote to the documentation. Go away.”

I think BTS has their priorities screwed up. They are well within their rights to keep developing Mac versions and making sure their games don’t work on gamers that play more games than Combat Mission. I’m just not going to buy any of their games, and I’m going to bitch about it on a message board, and that’s my right.

Because it says so in the Constitution!