Your screen may occasionally blackout for a second and then return to normal, as if nothing ever happened on Windows 10/11. This is usually followed by a notification stating “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered,” such as the one shown below.
The problem can be frustrating for nontechnical users, because they are unable to determine the cause of the problem and then fix it thusly, so that they can resume their actual work. Black screens can be scary if they do not return on.
In this post we are going to discuss what causes this problem, and how you can mitigate it.
Table of Contents
What Causes Display Driver to Stop Responding
A display driver that was functioning perfectly a second ago can go haywire in the blink of an eye. The error you see stating “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” means the display driver crashed for a while, but has pulled itself back up and is functioning normally again.
This error usually occurs when the Timeout Detection and Recovery (TDR) feature in Windows detects that the graphics card (GPU) did not respond within the allowed time. TDR automatically resets the components it thinks are faulty to recover them.
GPU can hang or fail to perform as it should due to several reasons, which is what we will address further down this post.
Apart from the prompt stated above, the following errors can also appear that are related to the graphics card:
- Display driver stopped responding and has recovered every minute.
- Display driver stopped responding and has recovered Nvidia Windows kernel mode driver.
- Display driver stopped responding and has recovered Windows Update.
- Display driver stopped responding overclock, overheating.
- Driver stopped responding nvlddmkm.
- Display driver stopped responding
As you may have noticed, each of the different prompts above states a reason for the driver to stop working. This can help you fix the problem faster.
Fix Display Driver Stopped Responding And Has Recovered
As we mentioned, there can be several reasons why your GPU to not function properly. Perform the tasks given below to mitigate the issue.
Update Graphics Driver
An outdated or faulty driver can often lead to the associated hardware failing to function normally. That is why we suggest you always keep your drivers up to date.
If you are using Intel’s graphics driver, you can use Intel Driver and Support Assistant to always keep your drivers up to date. If you are using Nvidia’s GPU, then use the GeForce Experience app to update your drivers.
Install Pending Windows Updates
Often outstanding Windows updates can cause the operating system to behave abnormally, resulting in other components failing to perform as they should. Therefore, we suggest you check whether there are any pending updates. If there are, install them.
To check for Windows updates, do the following:
- Navigate to:
Settings app >> Windows Update
- Click Check for updates.
- The system will now scan for any pending updates. If found, click Download Now (if they do not start downloading automatically).
- Once downloaded, click Install Now (if the updates do not start to install automatically).
- Once installed, reboot the computer.
When you return, check if the problem still persists.
Change Power Plan to Best Performance
It may be possible that your GPU is not receiving sufficient power to perform. If this is the case, try optimizing your PC for maximum power by changing its power plan. Here is how to do it:
- Navigate to the following:
Settings app >> System >> Power and Battery
- Here, select Best performance from the drop-down menu in front of Power mode.
Once the power plan has been changed, check if the problem still persists.
Turn Off Link State Power Management
A feature in Windows known as “Link State Power Management” controls how much power to save when your computer falls asleep, as opposed to the time it takes to recover from sleep.
For example, when configured to maximize power savings, your PC saves maximum power, but takes a few seconds to wake it. As opposed to Moderate power savings, which consumes a bit more power, but reduces the latency for it to recover.
By default, Windows has set this to Maximum Power Savings, which could potentially lead to the GPU driver going into sleep mode when it shouldn’t.
Follow the steps below to turn off the feature completely so it does not save power:
Change Power Mode to Maximum Performance
By default, the power mode for the network adapters is set to “Medium Power Saving” in the case of a laptop in Windows 11. This needs to be changed to Maximum Performance to rule out the cause of disconnection being a power concern. Here is how to do it:
- Open the Power Options in the Control Panel by typing in powercfg.cpl in Run.
- Click Change plan settings in front of Selected plan.
- On the next page, click Change advanced power settings.
- The Power Options Advanced Settings window will now open. Here, expand PCI Express, and then expand Link State Power Management.
- Now select Off from the drop-down menu in front of On battery and Plugged in. Then click Apply and Ok.
Now check to see if the problem persists. If it does, there are still a few other mitigation tasks you can perform.
Reset Visual Effects Settings
If you have recently updated your visual effects settings, your GPU may not perform due to the new configuration. If so, you need to reset those settings using the following steps:
- Open System Propeties by typing in sysdm.cpl in Run.
- From the SYstem Properties window, switch to the Advanced tab and then click Settings under Performance.
- From the pop-up, select “Adjust for best performance,” then click Apply and OK.
Now restart your computer and check to see if you still see the “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” prompt.
Disable GPU Overclocking
Users often overclock their GPUs to get more performance out of it. This may work in some cases, but causes the GPU to overwork itself, resulting in overheating. Therefore, it is recommended that you return any hardware to its original frequencies, may it be RAM, GPU, or CPU.
If that solves the problem, we suggest that you do not overclock your GPU. If you still want to, you gradually increase its frequency without pushing the frequency too far that it affects the driver’s performance.
Clean Hardware (RAM and GPU)
Over time, carbon buildup in the contacts of RAM and the graphics card can affect the transmission of information between your device’s motherboard and the hardware. Due to this buildup, your GPU and RAM cannot function properly.
That is why, as a possible solution to the problem, it is recommended that you clean your hardware occasionally ensuring all contacts are clean with no carbon or dust particles.
Increase Allowed Processing Time
If all the solutions suggested till now have failed to resolve your issue, it is likely your graphics card needs more time to process the information, which causes the screen to blackout and throw the error.
This can be done by increasing the time delay allowed by TDR. Note that the process involves making changes to the Windows Registry, which could harm your OS if not properly done. Therefore, we suggest you create a system restore point before proceeding with the steps given below:
- Open the Registry Editor by typing in regedit in Run.
- Now paste the following into the address bar for quick navigation:
- Now right-click GraphicsDriver, expand New, and then click DWORD (32-bt) Value.
- Name this new DWORD “TdrDelay.”
- Now double-click TdrDelay and set its Value Data to 8, then click OK.
- Now restart your computer for the changes to take place.
Once it reboots, check to see if it solves your problem.
In this post, we have discussed all possible solutions for the “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” prompt. If you are still unable to resolve the problem, the only thing left to do would be to replace your GPU, since this one clearly has a problem causing your driver to fail.