"Display driver stopped responding and has recovered" error in Windows 7 or Windows Vista

Applies to: Windows 7Windows Vista

Summary


This article introduces three methods that you can use to troubleshoot the "display driver stopped responding" issue. For more information about the cause of the issue, move to the More Information section.

Resolution


To resolve this issue, follow the steps in the methods starting with method 1 and then proceeding with method 2 and method 3 if the solutions do not resolve the issue.
 

Method 1: Update to the latest display driver for your graphics hardware

To update to the latest display driver for your graphics hardware by using Windows Update, click the link specific to your version of Windows and follow the steps in that article:

Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly in Windows 7

Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly in Windows Vista

If installing the latest updates does not resolve the issue, continue to method 2.
 

Method 2: Adjust visual effects for better performance

Having multiple programs, browser windows, or email messages open at the same time can use up memory, and cause performance issues. Try to close any programs and windows that you are not using.

You can also adjust your computer for better performance by disabling some of the visual effects. Here’s how to adjust all visual effects for best performance:
  1. Open Performance Information and Tools by selecting Start > Control Panel. In the search box, type Performance Information and Tools, and then, in the list of results, click Performance Information and Tools.
  2. Select Adjust visual effects, if you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Select Visual Effects  > Adjust for best performance > OK.
    Note For a less drastic option, select Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer.
If this method did not resolve the issue, continue to method 3.
 

Method 3: Modify registry entry to increase GPU processing time

Timeout Detection and Recovery is a Windows feature that can detect when the video adapter hardware or a driver on your computer has taken longer than expected to complete an operation. When this occurs, Windows attempts to recover and reset the graphics hardware. If the GPU is unable to recover and reset the graphics hardware in the time permitted (two seconds), your system may become unresponsive, and display the error message “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered.”

Giving the Timeout Detection and Recovery feature more time to complete this operation by adjusting the registry value, may resolve this issue.

To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Exit all Windows based programs.
  2. Select Start, type regedit in the Search box, and then double-click regedit.exe from the results above. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Locate to the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers
  4. On the Edit menu, select New, and then select the following registry value from the drop-down menu specific to your version of Windows (32 bit, or 64 bit):
     
  5. Close Registry Editor and then restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up the registry in Windows 7, see Back up the registry.

More Information


This behavior can occur for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You may have to install the latest updates for your display driver.
  • Visual effects, or too many programs running in the background may be slowing your computer down.
  • The GPU is taking more time than permitted to display graphics to your monitor.
Note If you are using an older video card, there may not be a video driver that is fully compatible with your version of Windows.
For more information about Timeout Detection and Recovery, see Timeout Detection and Recovery of GPUs through WDDM.