Solution 1: Replacing the old version of nvlddmkm.sys with an updated copy.

Make sure you have your nVidia drivers updated. At the time of this writing, the driver version is: 180.48. Now navigate to your C:WindowsSystem32drivers (assuming Windows is installed in C: with default path). Look for nvlddmkm.sys and hover your mouse over it. If this driver version number is different from the latest driver version, it needs to replaced. So what you do is:

1. Download the latest driver version and extract the contents of the .exe file (this should happen when you double click on the .exe, if not, use 7zip to extract it).
2. Rename your current nvlddmkm.sys file to nvlddmkm.sys.old.
3. Look for nvlddmkm.sy_ in the folder where you extracted the latest drivers.
4. Copy nvlddmkm.sy_ to WindowsSystem32drivers folder.
5. Open command prompt in Administrator mode (start menu->programs->accessories->right click command prompt->Run as Administrator).
6. Navigate to your WindowsSystem32drivers folder. (example cd C:WindowsSystem32drivers)
7. Type expand nvlddmkm.sy_ nvlddmkm.sys
8. Reboot computer.

For most people, this has solved the problem completely. If the problem still exists, don’t worry, this method didn’t work for me either.

53 Responses to “Solution 1: Replacing the old version of nvlddmkm.sys with an updated copy.”

  1. lawrence Says:

    This issue is a real bitch.

    My games has always worked.
    I didn’t upgrade any hardware of software, then today – out of the blue…this nvlddkm issue popped up.

  2. Jakob Says:

    I have the same problem. I have been playing Fallout 3 for the last two months at maximum settings with no problems, but then today all of a sudden the nvlddmkm issues started. Nothing I have tried has worked and I have the latest drivers.

  3. lawrence Says:

    I spent the last two hours installing and unistalling each of the several archived drivers of Nvidia.

    The problem still persists.

  4. lawrence Says:

    lol – I NEED to play my games!!!

    tv is boring, and you can only read so long.

  5. admin Says:

    well i’m still searching on google every day, i’ll post new methods as i find them

  6. lawrence Says:

    There are no new methods.
    This problem dates back to early ’07, I believe.

    Either Nvidia or MS has to develop a working patch for this. In the meantime, you just have to cross your fingers that one of the ‘mini-solutions’ on the many forums works for you.

  7. admin Says:

    Well actually replacing the nvlddmkm.sys was posted in late 2008, so there’s bound to be new ways to fix this problem!

  8. Jeff Says:

    Where is this 180.48 driver update?
    Nvidia said that my GeForce 6150SE update is 178.24 and I have it already.
    Don’t worry, in two to three years Microsoft and NVIDIA will solve this problem.

  9. Vega Says:

    I cannot believe I have this issue again! I first had it a couple of years ago when Vista was new. I don’t remember what I did to fix it but I remember it took a long time to find out and it was painful. Here I am with a fresh Vista install two years later and this error constantly happens now. Unbelievable how shitty Microsoft and nVidia are for not fixing this issue.

  10. Vega Says:

    As a matter of fact, I think my next video card will be ATI explicitly because of this issue and nVidia’s total lack of competence or will in fixing it.

  11. admin Says:

    Apparently nvidia is only showing 178.24 for the geforce 6 series. If you want to try, select the geforce 9 series on and it’ll take you to teh 180.48 update.
    HOLD ON. I had the same problem with an ATI card, I then switched over to nvidia and I get the EXACT same problem. While some people have reported that switching brand video cards may solve the problem, it isn’t 100% complete fix. My point is: ATI cards do carry the same problem. Google search atikmdag and you’ll see it’s pretty much the same problem. I think the company to blame here is microsoft.

  12. Vega Says:

    Admin, I appreciate the web site as I think your solution #2 update #2 fixed my problem. It’s good to know it’s not just a nVidia issue. Sounds like Microsoft! I first tried this solution #1 but my file was current so it obviously didn’t work. If solution #1 doesn’t work I’d definitely have people try Solution #2 Update #2, worked for me!

  13. Vega Says:

    UPDATE: After much more thorough testing, although not happening as frequent, none has resolved the issue for me.

  14. Brianimal Says:

    This problem has been around for a long time. When is it ever going to be fixed??

    I just downloaded the latest NVidia drivers 181.20_geforce_winvista_32bit_english_whql and now I can’t play Dead Space for even five minutes without crashing because of this nonsense.

    Anyone else have an increase in error frequency after 181.20?

  15. admin Says:

    Hi Brianimal. I haven’t tried out the 181.20 so I can’t say if it is worse or better. What you can do is download and install the old drivers and replace the new nvlddmkm.sys with an older version. You can find the older drivers here:

  16. jaques Says:

    QQ, none of these fixes worked for me. Last time for me a bought a windows product.

  17. shaun Says:

    try this, it worked for me. straight from microsoft. goodluck

  18. shaun Says:

    helps to include it in the message lol

  19. michael Says:

    I had an 8800GT with an intel P45 motherboard, was having this error constantly… what i did was i downgraded the bios to gen1 version (from ASUS – did some googling). stability settled at last. also, no performance drops were observed, in fact, it might even have increased as per 3dmark06 results (from 12800ish to 13000+). hope that helps.

  20. Martin Says:

    Hi. I hane a question about point 7 of this solution. It says: Type expand nvlddmkm.sy_ nvlddmkm.sys but on the others websites I found: Type expand.exe nvlddmkm.sy_ nvlddmkm.sys
    So, where is the truth? It should be expand or expand.exe? THX

  21. Bill Says:

    The problem started with the new drivers from 1/09/0 and even the latest ones 1/22/09. If i run just one video card it does happen only in Sli Mode.
    sli 8600 gts
    4 gbs ram downgraded to 2 to see if that help but didnt

  22. admin Says:

    Martin: it should be fine either way, I personally did expand and it worked. If one doesn’t work, try the other.
    Bill: it could be a ram problem, have you tried using completely different brand of ram?

  23. Bill Says:

    I tested my original ram problems still occurred. So I reformatted and then installed the latest drivers 181.22 and still BSOD and crash. I rolled back my drivers to 178.13 and runs fine now. Played Crysis Warhead in SLi fine. With latest drivers 181.22 Warhead crashed right away. On the nvidia forums there is topic for 181.22 causing a lot of problems. I suggest not using any drivers that are 180 and above. I also sent Nvidia an email about it as well.

  24. admin Says:

    Cool thanks. I too have problems with 181.22 (can’t even boot into windows).

  25. Andersson Says:

    I’d like to back up Bill’s suggestion not to use any drivers that are 180 or above. For me, this is definitely a driver issue since these problems only started after I bought a new computer and downloaded 181.22. Have uninstalled and rolled back to 178.13 and it’s working fine again. I suspect there could be some major driver problems that need addressing post 180, though I can’t confirm this.

  26. Andersson Says:

    Also, I’d like to caution others that while keeping drivers updated is usually a good thing, it seems new updates are not necessarily MORE stable or BETTER. In some cases (as we’re seeing now) updated drivers are causing problems where before there were none.

  27. Ku Says:

    Could someone help me please – I don’t really know what I am doing and I keep getting error messages in the command prompt window when trying to access the correct folder. I can get to the windows and system 32 folder but not the drivers folder.
    Could someone please show me exactly what I need to type to get the expand command to work? This probably sounds silly but I am sick of this stupid error message and my computer crashing!

  28. admin Says:

    Ku: You can try disabling UAC. Goto control panel -> type UAC in the search box -> click on User Accounts – Turn User Account Control (UAC) -> uncheck the box Use User Account Control (UAC) -> click OK -> restart.

  29. Imho Says:

    I tried this, but it didnt help at all. But check your power, and read my post here. I was put on to that possible culprit by another website and an electrician.

  30. e4Services Says:

    Well this WAS frustrating.
    Trying to fix a X205-S7483 Satellite, 8700M GT graphics, with the problem of Blue Screen, BSOD, when booting normal mode. I had reloaded VISTA. Not even the original Toshiba driver worked (7.15), well with the original drive that kept Re-Installing itself, even after deleting it (could not stop that) I did the writing over the .sys file with one from the 8.xx series drive and BINGO now it boots

  31. Matte Says:

    I keep getting the message “Can’t open input file: nvlddmkm.sy_”

    I am running it as a administrator WHYYYY!? HELP ME!

  32. admin Says:

    Have you tried disabling UAC? Google “disable UAC”. If I remember correctly, it’s in the control panel under user accounts.

  33. Eric Says:

    I have been using 178.13 and it has been crashing in Warhead, Fallout 3, and Mass Effect. It also takes the downclock approach as well. 9500m gs Asus G1S.

  34. Lou Says:

    I just started having the nvlddmkm issue a few days ago after installing the 181.22 nvidia drivers. Now even after reverting back to 17X.XX series of drivers, the issue is still there. Formatting does not work. Messing with the nvlddmkm.sys file does not work. Buying a new video card from a diff vender (ATI) does not work. FFS! Do we have to stand outside microsoft HQ with baseball bats, and big signs that say “FIX YO SHIT!” ? Worst part of it all is that no one seems to know whats causing the problem. Total BS! Guess no pc gaming untill windows 7 hits then. Cant wait to bend over for that one…

  35. Kayla Says:

    hello, I had this problem about a month ago. It was fixed upon replacing the ram. Now the problem returned for no reason clear reason. I’ve tried several things to fix it but have received no stable results. I noticed in system files there are 18 different nvlddmkm.sys files all in different folders. All of which i can’t rename or do anything to. I have an HP laptop so the driver for it is one coming from the hp homesite and not nvidea. I looked at updating from nvidea but it told me to use the driver provided by the manufacturer. I have a pavilion dv6223se notebook. It’s graphics card is a geforce go 6000. the driver I am using is the Nvidea VGA Driver. Version A. Im not sure if I should attempt to use a driver from the nvidea site as they’re not design for my notebook. I’ve tried several of the methods on this site so far. No luck.

  36. Nick Says:

    I’ve had this problem for awhile too. Bsod 15mins into a game or movie. I have tried everything and replaced nearly every part in my computer, but still no fix. Out of frustration I even tried deleting all instances of nvlddmkm on my computer and it still responds the same. This is just plain stupid.

  37. Kayla Says:

    o yaa and question about the renaming the file to .old ummm it says i need permission to preform that action. I have admin powers and all. Note the files are all located in system33\DriverStore\FileRepositroy\random other folder “nvqh.inf._bdb29539” or “nv_io.inf_efce3eb7” etc
    again there are 18! copies of this file and i can’t seem to do anything to them. I’m suspecting that is the root of the issue but i could be wrong. It might be that my mother board is getting buggy or something. Which would suck cause… It’s a laptop. I’m actually tempted to downgrade to XP and see if the problem still persists cause then i would know if it was hardware or just vista. When i first encountered this problem getting new ram fixed it so perhaps i will try a different ram stick again and see if it fixes it. but there is no reason the ram I got should already be buggy so i doubt it’ll help.

  38. Nick Says:

    If you’re looking for a way to delete these files I suggest a program called Unlocker.

    Kayla I doubt it’s your mobo. I just upgraded mine, my ram and my psu and I still have the same problem. The latest nvidia drivers seem to make it crash even faster too.

    I’ve tried downclocking, and the hotfix. I’ve tried every single solution I can find and still nothing. I’m disturbed by the fact that this problem has been around for two years now and no solution that works for me.

  39. Nick Says:

    Ok so I just got my new hard drive yesterday. Tried a new install of vista and still the same problem crashes after at most 15mins. This is just unreal. All that is left to replace is the video card. Anyone have any advice on this? The video card is roughly a year old. 9800gtx+. Two months after I bought it the driver error started and I figured it was a software or compatability issue.

  40. Frustrated Says:

    So, to answer the question way above about ‘expand’ vs. ‘expand.exe’ (Gaaad, I’m going to sound old).

    When you type a command into a command prompt, the OS (MS-DOS) understands that the extension is either null (there isn’t one), .exe (executable file), .bat (batch file), or .com (command file). To reduce confusion, extensions are generally added to the command, i.e., expand.exe vs. expand. The reason for this is that you can have expand.exe and expand.bat in the same folder structure… and DOS will execute the first one it gets to.

    Hope that bit of history helps.

    Old man.

  41. Goldfire Says:

    I recently got my hands on the GTX295 coming from ATI’s 2×4870’s. Their drivers and crossfire just aren’t the best considering that I haven’t been able to enable crossfire since 8.11. Now I’m getting the nvlddmkm.sys error within 15 minutes of any 3D applications/games.

    My benchmark is the PhysX screensaver, works well. Normally it crashes after the screensaver has looped once, but never hits the second loop.

    I installed the 182.06 drivers, and replaced nvlddmkm.sys from the 181.20 drivers. I managed to get about 8 loops before it BSOD’d. I started to get my hopes up too.

    I’ve tried to update to SP2 for Vista32, failing that, I then went and tried Vista64, same deal, if not, worse. I have tried different RAM (I have active cooling for the RAM and NorthBridge), disabled overclocking, upped the voltage on the RAM, tried a 8800GT as a dedicated PhysX card (was performance for PhysX by the way).

    I’m completely stuck, and feel like sitting in the corner and crying, does anyone have a fix?

  42. Hilik Says:

    humm. having major problems with this, ( i have disabeld the UAC and are running the command prompt as admin)

    And still i get the “Can’t open input file: nvlddmkm.sy_”

    think i have dune all the steps right, so if someone know what ive dune wrong type a reply please


  43. Jason Says:

    Had this error pop up recently. Tried all the hotfix but did not get rid of the error. Had an exact spare card and put that in to see if it was a driver issue. It wasn’t. It is a hardware issue. The second I put in the new card the error was gone. Put the one that was giving me the error back in the computer and the error popped up again. No software was changed during this process. Looks to me, from what I just experienced, that the card is faulty in some way.

  44. Seb Says:

    Hey, thanks for the site Admin. I just went through most of the 11 solutions that didn’t involve pulling chips and cards and had no joy. I’ve been getting this a while but Empire Total War was just driving it crazy. Crashing every 2-3 mins.

    So anyway, a lot of people might have already thought of this and taken it for granted but other people might benefit from this method that fixed it for me:

    1) unistall your display drivers.

    2) reboot in safe mode.

    3) run a driver cleaner like Driver Sweeper and remove all nVidia display drivers. (or whatever your graphics card is)

    4) boot up normally, expect a few error messages, just shows how incomplete the uninstall is.

    5) reinstall drivers, reboot again.

    Worked for me!

  45. Zipline58 Says:

    I’ve succesfully ended a rash of errors using this method but it always seems to come back. What the hell is going on here? I specifically have avoided using the “new” 8800GTX driver update I keep seeing in Windows Update. Is Windows somehow overwriting my fixed file? Is Nvlddmkm.sys becoming corrupted somehow? Is this a virus? A registry error? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE IT STOP!!!!

  46. Zipline58 Says:

    Where can i find drivers below version 180?
    The lowest one I have in my backup folder (I keep a folder full of older versions of drivers and web browsers) is 180.48.

  47. admin Says:


  48. Zipline58 Says:

    Are there no Vista drivers older than 180, or do the ones referred too also work with Vista?

  49. web8696 Says:

    My video card was overclocked from the factory, I put in the standard values and the nvlddmkm problem has not happened since. Keeping my fingers crossed. If you try it then please post your results.

    nvidia geforce 9800gt,vista 64 home premium edition,195.81beta driver from:

  50. admin Says:

    This may be due to an overheating problem. Try a new cooler for your video card or leave your computer case open.

  51. K29 Says:

    Hey all, Lots of posts here so I’m sorry if this has been talked about.

    Some MB bios default to 1gb agp aperture size. this gave me this error at random till I lowered it to 512mb.

    also there is a setting for windows 7 to better use 4 gb of memory. some people cant even run 3d apps without errors untill they set this.

    This works for older systems with 4gb of ram and windows 7……huge fix for my AV8 motherboard.

    Load MSCONFIG.( start menu-in the search box type- run msconfig ) under the boot tab click advanced button. Check the box that say memory and it should show your total memory. click ok and then apply and restart. worked great for me.

  52. geopap Says:

    Before you try the funcy approaches described above please do the following basic stuff that we normally neglect to do and enter panic mode without simple logic:

    1.Use Authenticated programms (Windows Vista , etc) If you use something cracked why you blaim Microsoft or ATI or Nvidia for not doing their job?
    2.Use Authenticated Antivirus programme (Example NoD etc…).Same comment as above. 1 licence for 1 year cost roughly 10-12 euros. IF you pay 15 euros per month just for wow then you can afford this . they work reliably and without messing your pc.
    3. Use any PC register cleaner(Freeware from Tucows ,not Shareware versions ,as the shareware versions just locate problems.they do not fix them). This is the tool that all pc users should install day one on their pc.Use it everytime windows updates something like drivers etc..
    4.Dont panic/Dont Remove programs/ dont play with bios/ dont play with tools you dont know/Dont use recovery of windows to earlier state/
    5.The above fixed my world of warcraft problems.
    6.If problem persists(which I highly doubt) format.
    7.If problem persists(which I highly ,higly doubt)its hardware problem(0% chance on this I have already tried changing graphic cards, rams , etc …. I m only glad this was on gurantee and didnt need to pay 1 cent for updated hardware that ofcourse didnt have any problems.I am not convinced by any posts that graphic cards,rams etc overheat and cause this error. As I said I changed them all foolishly without doing baby steps 1st.)

  53. geopap Says:

    I also did 2 more additional steps as a wow user:
    1.Used same analysis on World of WArcraft>Video options with Nvidia’s panel.
    2.Removed new keyboard that I just happened to buy 1 day before this bugg occured(just to make sure. Note that I day before crash Widnows did an auto Update + 1 installed a new keyboard)

    Hope it helps

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