Windows 10 borked by automatic updates of Nvidia drivers

NvidiaOne of the new features of Windows 10 is that home users will be graced with automatic software updates – whether they like it or not.

Which should be great news, most of the time. After all, there’s a huge problem with consumers not keeping their desktops and laptops properly updated with security fixes, and malicious hackers exploiting those devices in response.

No more update headaches for home users – huzzah!

Windows 10

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Well, don’t cheer too quickly. Because what if a software update actually causes problems? Would you really want no choice about that being pushed out onto your computer?

After all, there’s a reason why businesses don’t automatically roll out updates across their networks – and aren’t being forced by Windows 10 to succumb to automatic updates.

You can probably guess what has happened…

As Forbes reported last week, many computer users are up in arms over a driver update to their Nvidia graphic cards that was pushed out to their computers running Windows 10.

This has hardly left a great early impression amongst for Windows 10 users who took to online forums to complain of crashes, glitches, and in some cases PCs failing to boot up entirely after the driver update was pushed out by Windows Update (WU).

In previous versions of Windows Update, driver updates were classified as optional. Not any more…

Now ZDNet‘s Ed Bott reports that Windows 10 testers may wish to try a “well-hidden troubleshooter package” that crucially allows you to choose which Windows Updates and driver updates get automatically installed.

Microsoft knowledgebase article

In his ZDNet article Bott also recommends that users check that their Windows 10 PCs are running System Restore, and create a restore point before installing any new patches – just in case they need to roll back again in the future.

That seems sensible advice to me, even if it may be beyond the ken of some less technical home users of Windows 10.

My advice generally would be to not rush into installing a brand new version of any operating system – let other people do the “live” beta-test of it, wait a while until you’re sure that the biggest wrinkles have been ironed out, and always back up your data so if the worst does happen, you can recover.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

18 comments on “Windows 10 borked by automatic updates of Nvidia drivers”

  1. Chris Pugson

    Either Windows 10 is a consumer friendly product or it is not. From past experience, there is a high probability that automatic updates will screw up some time so it is clearly not a consumer friendly product unless the consumer is a geek or a professional.

    All versions of Windows are susceptible to update problems. Windows 7 can develop problems if .NET updates are installed in the same session as other updates. What price automatic updates?

  2. Dan

    See this for fix regarding nvidia drivers:

  3. nonW00t

    Well, I was looking forward to win10, but now I'm in the waiting camp because of the windowsupdate crap. If win10 will still reboot you in the middle of a fullscreen game because of automatic updates, then it's a fail.

    1. cj m · in reply to nonW00t

      Windows 10 doesn't automatically restart while in fullscreen applications and as far as we are aware, the automatic driver updates are only for the RTM version of windows. Don't get your knickers in a twist… so much uninformed shit hurling.

      1. Gary · in reply to cj m

        Well that's patronizing, just who is hurling the shit?

      2. JaceCar · in reply to cj m

        Win 10 definitely does auto-restart while in full screen-applications. It might warn me, but I wouldn't know, because I'm running something full-screen.

        In fact, it just did it to me again… which is why I was prompted to search for a fix to something that should be an easy-to-access setting. Why the heck is "download and notify" no longer available? That's something that has worked well for the last 10 years… oh, I get it — it's Windows 10, so it ignores all the stuff Microsoft learned in the last 10 years. Go figure.

        Windows (any recent version) can detect multiple displays, allow you to set one display as primary, etc. How about notifying us on the non-main screen for things that it currently likes to pop-under whatever full-screen app we're running?

  4. Pete

    I have a deep, passionate hatred for automatic system updates…actually for automatic software updates in general.

    Anyone who has to ask why has never been the victim of an update that broke something. It's bad enough when what gets broken is production software on an individual workstation, and work grinds to a halt because of an incompatibility. But when it happens on a server used by a network of people, it's a disaster.

    In my case, the culprits have mostly been OS X apps, or OS X itself. I haven't used Windows in the last couple of years, but I can't imagine that the results would be any more pleasant there.

    For my workstations and servers, I maintain cloned system drives that I use to test "mission-critical" software updates. If it works on the clone, then I install it on the primary system drive. Sure, it's a bit of a hassle rebooting from the clone to test the updates, but it's far less problematical than installing updates that end up breaking something important.

    What’s worse is the recent trend instigated by Apple to hand control over to the App Store, abandoning the use of installers that let you revert to an earlier version if a later version breaks something. Apple used to be a champion of the idea that users should make their own choices, instead of being mindless drones. I guess they've forgotten their roots.

    This entire business of automatic processes and other "features" that take control away from the user is a very bad idea for folks who take responsibility for their systems and prefer to remain productive.

  5. DirkH

    Came here for the wordpress update fix and now I find this – which I will also need! You're fantastic!

  6. justniz

    For literally decades all Microsoft products have been sub standard crap where the only reasonably well engineered bits are the mechanisms that put Microsofts own interests over the user's. Anybody that chooses to keep paying good money for Microsoft products because this time the advertising said it would be different only has themselves to blame, especially as there are much more powerful, professional, secure, reliable and much easier to use alternatives out there available for free download.

    See this update for your PC that instantly gets rid of all Windows problems.

  7. Colin

    AND, the next thing you know, the government (s) will decide to take control of your PC via a mandatory update, Similar to their stated aim in Australia in taking control of the Telcos technology and security aspects as though they were part of the governments military services. In my view, you really need to segregate devices into internal, not net attached and external, net attached and maintain the air gap. Not perfect but it will protect you from auto updates and all but the most determined invasions.

  8. Dan Jackson

    Where do I go to get updated on when this is fixed? I have an nVidia graphics card but I don't want to upgrade yet if I'm going to have driver troubles.

  9. Rod

    On the first day of the Win 10 release I successfully installed Win 10 on both my laptop running Win 8.1 and my desktop running Win 8.1 with a NVIDIA graphics card. Absolutely zero problems with both devices and Win 10 runs flawlessly (but so did Win 8.1). .Total elapsed time from download, installation and restart was 65 minutes for my laptop via 85 mbps ethernet connection and 50 minutes for my desktop (with the NVIDIA graphics card) via 33 mbps WiFi connection

  10. Darren

    I had this, upgraded to win 10 and random crashes, restarts no BSOD just a restart! Went back to win 8.1 and everything is rosey in the garden again. What do you expect from bloody Microsoft eh? I wish you could run a PC on android os

    1. J · in reply to Darren

      You can. It's called Android-X86. And you get it at

  11. Tate

    Great review above.

    Just ran Windows 10 install and Nvidia graphics crapped out on 4 monitors. Reboot not working. Appears to be big problem. Will need to take out Windows 10.

  12. bob iller

    windows 10 is the most mess windows ever frist it screw up my hole computer and then after i fixed my computer windows ten reload its self and the second time it screwed up all drivers and to repair it they want you to buy there program and pay for tex help

  13. Jim grant

    Now we see the problems with automatic updates, but when the screen just blinks or goes black where are the known solutions from the experts? Turn off computer with win 10 so and then turn it on pressing what keys so it will only start in safe mode, all of the other solutions only work if the computer is working.

  14. JD McAllister

    Windows 10 installed on two HP P6 desktops, but thankfully not on my laptop so I still had something that worked. Windows 10 both ininstalled to cyberspace never to return. PCs back to W7. Wish I'd listened to the voices saying 'wait a year before installing' What a load from Microsoft after all the hype.

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