Solving the Dreaded nvlddmkm.sys Blue Screen of Death (2024)

The nvlddmkm.sys file is the kernel mode driver that powers the NVIDIA graphics chips. When this file becomes corrupted or runs into conflicts, it can cause the infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) crash on Windows PCs. This BSOD error is incredibly frustrating, as it will force restart your computer, potentially causing data loss. The nvlddmkm.sys BSOD bug has plagued NVIDIA users for years across multiple Windows versions.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various methods to troubleshoot and fix the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD issue once and for all. We’ll cover everything from quick fixes to advanced solutions, ensuring you have all the tools necessary to overcome this persistent problem.

Understanding the nvlddmkm.sys File


Before we dive into the solutions, it’s crucial to understand the role of the nvlddmkm.sys file and why it’s so important for your NVIDIA graphics card to function correctly.

The nvlddmkm.sys file is a core component of the NVIDIA Display Driver, acting as the kernel-mode driver that facilitates communication between the graphics card and the operating system. Its primary responsibilities include:

  1. Initializing the graphics card and its resources during system boot.
  2. Managing video memory allocation and deallocation.
  3. Handling graphics rendering and acceleration tasks.
  4. Providing an interface for other programs to access the GPU’s capabilities.

When the nvlddmkm.sys file becomes corrupted, outdated, or encounters conflicts with other software or hardware components, it can trigger a BSOD crash with the error message “NVLDDMKM_SYS_FAULT.” This crash typically occurs during graphics-intensive tasks, such as gaming, video editing, or even sometimes during regular desktop use.

Quick Fixes


Before we explore more advanced solutions, let’s start with some quick fixes that might resolve the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD issue without too much effort.

Reboot in Safe Mode


Sometimes, a simple reboot into Safe Mode can temporarily resolve the issue, allowing you to continue using your computer while you investigate further solutions. Here’s how to boot into Safe Mode:

  • Restart your computer and repeatedly press the F8 key during the boot process.
  • In the Advanced Boot Options menu, select “Safe Mode” or “Safe Mode with Networking” (if you need internet access).
  • Once in Safe Mode, check if the BSOD issue persists. If not, you can proceed with other solutions while in Safe Mode.

Update NVIDIA Graphics Drivers


Outdated or corrupted graphics drivers are often the culprit behind nvlddmkm.sys crashes. Updating to the latest NVIDIA graphics drivers can potentially fix the issue. Here’s how:

Scan for Malware


In some cases, malware infections can interfere with system files, including the nvlddmkm.sys file, causing BSOD crashes. Run a full system scan using reputable anti-malware software to detect and remove any potential threats.

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Check for Windows Updates


Microsoft regularly releases updates that address various issues, including BSOD crashes caused by driver conflicts or bugs. Ensure your Windows operating system is up-to-date by checking for available updates and installing them.

Advanced Troubleshooting


If the quick fixes didn’t resolve the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD issue, it’s time to dive deeper into more advanced troubleshooting methods.

Disable Third-Party Antivirus and Security Software


Antivirus and security software can sometimes conflict with the NVIDIA graphics driver, leading to nvlddmkm.sys crashes. Try temporarily disabling any third-party antivirus or security software and check if the issue persists.

Perform a Clean Boot


A clean boot involves starting Windows with a minimal set of drivers and services, which can help identify and resolve software conflicts. Here’s how to perform a clean boot:

  • Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type “msconfig” and press Enter to open the System Configuration utility.
  • In the System Configuration window, go to the “Services” tab.
  • Check the “Hide all Microsoft services” box.
  • Uncheck any third-party services and startup items you don’t need.
  • Click “Apply” and “OK” to save the changes.
  • Restart your computer.

If the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD issue doesn’t occur during the clean boot, it indicates a third-party software conflict. You can then try re-enabling services and startup items one by one to identify the culprit.

Check for Hardware Conflicts


In some cases, hardware conflicts can also contribute to nvlddmkm.sys crashes. Here are a few steps you can take to identify and resolve hardware conflicts:

  • Open the Device Manager (Right-click the Start button and select “Device Manager”).
  • Expand the “Display adapters” section and right-click on your NVIDIA graphics card.
  • Select “Properties” and navigate to the “Resources” tab.
  • Check for any conflicts or overlapping resource assignments (e.g., IRQ, I/O, or Memory Range).
  • If conflicts are detected, try updating or reinstalling the conflicting device drivers.

Update BIOS and Chipset Drivers


An outdated BIOS or chipset drivers can sometimes cause compatibility issues with graphics drivers, leading to nvlddmkm.sys crashes. Check for updates from your motherboard manufacturer’s website and install them if available.

Repair or Reset the NVIDIA Graphics Driver


If all else fails, you can try repairing or resetting the NVIDIA graphics driver to its default state. Here’s how:

  • Open the Device Manager (Right-click the Start button and select “Device Manager”).
  • Expand the “Display adapters” section and right-click on your NVIDIA graphics card.
  • Select “Properties” and navigate to the “Driver” tab.
  • Click the “Roll Back Driver” button to revert to a previous driver version (if available).
  • If the “Roll Back Driver” option is unavailable, click the “Uninstall Device” button to remove the driver.
  • Restart your computer, and Windows will automatically attempt to reinstall the NVIDIA graphics driver.

Perform a System Restore


If the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD issue started occurring after a recent software installation or system change, you can try performing a System Restore to revert your computer to a previous working state. Here’s how:

  • Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type “rstrui.exe” and press Enter to open the System Restore utility.
  • Select a restore point from the list that precedes the onset of the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD issue.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the System Restore process.
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Perform a Clean Install of Windows


If none of the above solutions work, your last resort may be to perform a clean install of Windows. This will ensure a fresh and clean system environment, eliminating any potential software conflicts or corrupted system files. However, be sure to back up your important data before proceeding with this step, as it will erase everything on your hard drive.

After the clean install, be sure to install the latest NVIDIA graphics drivers and any other necessary software and updates.

Preventing Future nvlddmkm.sys Crashes


While the solutions outlined above should help you resolve the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD issue, it’s also essential to take preventive measures to avoid future occurrences.

Keep Your NVIDIA Drivers Updated:
NVIDIA regularly releases driver updates to address known issues and improve performance. Make sure to keep your graphics drivers up-to-date by periodically checking the NVIDIA website for new releases.

Avoid Overclocking or Modifying Graphics Card Settings
Overclocking or modifying your graphics card’s settings beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations can sometimes lead to instability and crashes. Unless you’re an experienced overclocker, it’s best to leave your graphics card’s settings at their default values.

Monitor System Temperatures
Overheating can cause various system components, including the graphics card, to malfunction and crash. Ensure that your computer has adequate cooling and

monitor your system temperatures using a tool like HWMonitor or SpeedFan. If temperatures are consistently running high, you may need to improve your cooling solution (e.g., add more case fans, upgrade CPU cooler, etc.)

Keep Windows and Other Software Updated As mentioned earlier, keeping your Windows operating system and other software up-to-date can help resolve potential conflicts and vulnerabilities that may lead to crashes like the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD.

Perform Regular System Maintenance Regularly defragmenting your hard drives, clearing temporary files, and running disk cleanup can help maintain a healthy system and potentially prevent crashes caused by low disk space or fragmented files.

Use System Restore and Create Restore Points Enabling System Restore and creating restore points before making significant system changes can provide a safety net in case something goes wrong, allowing you to revert to a previous working state.

Consider Upgrading Hardware If your graphics card or other system components are getting outdated, it may be time to consider upgrading to newer, more powerful hardware. Older hardware can sometimes struggle with modern software and games, leading to instability and crashes.

Troubleshooting Resources If you’re still having trouble resolving the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD issue after trying the solutions outlined in this guide, there are several online resources and communities that can provide additional help and support.

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NVIDIA Support Forums The official NVIDIA support forums (https://forums.nvidia.com/) are a great place to seek help from NVIDIA representatives and other users who may have encountered similar issues. Search the forums for existing threads related to your problem, or create a new thread with detailed information about your system configuration and the steps you’ve already taken.

Microsoft Community The Microsoft Community (https://answers.microsoft.com/) is another valuable resource for troubleshooting Windows-related issues, including BSOD crashes caused by drivers like nvlddmkm.sys. Browse existing threads or post your own question for assistance from Microsoft representatives and fellow users.

Reddit Communities Reddit has several active communities dedicated to PC hardware and troubleshooting, such as r/techsupport, r/nvidia, and r/buildapc. These communities can provide crowdsourced solutions and advice from experienced users who may have encountered similar issues.

Online Guides and Tutorials Various tech websites and blogs offer detailed guides and tutorials on troubleshooting BSOD crashes, including those caused by the nvlddmkm.sys file. Some reputable sources include:

Tom’s Hardware (https://www.tomshardware.com/)

Puget Systems (https://www.pugetsystems.com/)

Crucial (https://www.crucial.com/)

WindowsCentral (https://www.windowscentral.com/)

Professional Repair Services If you’ve exhausted all other options and are still unable to resolve the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD issue, you may need to seek professional repair services. Local computer repair shops or authorized NVIDIA service centers can diagnose and potentially fix hardware-related issues that may be causing the crashes.

Conclusion The nvlddmkm.sys BSOD crash can be a frustrating and persistent issue for NVIDIA graphics card users, but with the right troubleshooting approach, it is possible to resolve this problem. By following the solutions outlined in this guide, from quick fixes to advanced troubleshooting methods, you should be able to identify and address the root cause of the nvlddmkm.sys crashes.

Remember, prevention is key to avoiding future occurrences of this issue. Keeping your system updated, performing regular maintenance, and following best practices for hardware usage can go a long way in ensuring a stable and crash-free computing experience.

References:

NVIDIA. (n.d.). NVIDIA Driver Downloads. https://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx

Guru3D. (n.d.). Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) – Download. https://www.guru3d.com/files-details/display-driver-uninstaller-download.html

Microsoft. (n.d.). How to perform a clean boot in Windows. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/929135/how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-in-windows

Tom’s Hardware. (2021, May 21). How to Fix NVIDIA Driver Crashing with Error Code: 0x0000000A. https://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-driver-crashing-error-code-0x0000000a-fix

Puget Systems. (2022, February 16). Fixing NVIDIA Driver Crashing and BSOD Issues. https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/support-software/Fixing-NVIDIA-Driver-Crashing-and-BSOD-Issues-2046/

Crucial. (2021, July 21). How to Fix the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD Error in Windows 10. https://www.crucial.com/support/articles-faq-nvidia/nvlddmkm-sys-bsod-error

WindowsCentral. (2021, September 25). How to fix the nvlddmkm.sys BSOD error on Windows 10. https://www.windowscentral.com/how-fix-nvlddmkmsys-bsod-error-windows-10

NVIDIA. (n.d.). NVIDIA Support Forums. https://forums.nvidia.com/

Microsoft. (n.d.). Microsoft Community. https://answers.microsoft.com/

Reddit. (n.d.). r/techsupport. https://www.reddit.com/r/techsupport/

Reddit. (n.d.). r/nvidia. https://www.reddit.com/r/nvidia/

Reddit. (n.d.). r/buildapc. https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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