2 Methods to Fix “NVIDIA Installer Failed” for GeForce video cards

Look at this error on the right. Look at it. I came across that fantastic log box over there, after the NVIDIA setup failed to install the drivers on several different high-end systems that I was working on for no apparent reason. So like most other innocent pc builders, I relaxed, stretched my fingers and hamstrings then fire up the setup.exe again.

Immediately I came to the same message that read “NVIDIA Installer failed” again –and none of the driver components were installed. See, that totally sucks because if I ever wanted a random generic video card, I’d just use the integrated GPU and call it a great life; rather than burning through a few $300’s for these GTX’s. In a short moment, I was pretty sure that this is karma bitching me for not letting that guy merge into my lane two days ago.

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However, I quickly recomposed myself and the troubleshooting took places along with many of hours of frustration –where it should have been remedied by NVIDIA or Microsoft themselves in the first place. But who knows, marriage is complicated. Anyway, several searches from Google and Bing return similar problem everywhere. It does not matter if it’s a GTX 460, GTX 570 or the new GTX 980, etc.. the damn installer just won’t install (I think it’s possessed). On the other hand, Windows, being a difficult teenager, wouldn’t even bother to give a second try at the very certified driver that it directly obtained from Windows Update itself. Cute.

Good news is I got a potential solution for that problem –hopefully just right before you got so mad.

Essential Things To Check

First thing first, be sure Windows is running on the latest Service Pack. Windows 7? Get SP2. Windows 8? Get 8.1. Windows 10? ..Shit. Well, check anyway.

We all know that this is a complicated relationship between NVIDIA and Windows and all but unfortunately you and I are caught up in the crossfire –which should have been a problem of AMD since they came up with the term Crossfire in the first place. But well, NVIDIA holds the honor. Anyway, these are the few forms of the error –there is yet the final form though:

  • Error Code 28
  • Driver cannot be installed
  • No Hardware Specified
  • System keeps rolling back to Standard VGA Adapter driver after restart, etc…

Now before we dive in, let’s get these cautions out of the way.

  • Make sure on-board graphics chipset is deactivated and BIOS is set to use current discrete video card as main.
  • Make sure your motherboard BIOS is running the latest firmware.
  • Hard Drive is not too full. There were many cases when NIVIDA setup could not extract the packet into the Temp folder because the target drive was packed.
  • Antivirus program or Firewall should not give any issue but it’s worth some attention. Disable it just in case. Don’t forget to enable it the next time your browse brazzer the Internet.
  • Try your video card on a different PCIe slot or different computer to see whether the same issue occurs. You may find a way to rule out the possibility that the motherboard or the video card is defective.
  • Run a quick file system check using the command sfc /scannow to make sure the Windows core has not been altered or violated.

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Method I : Manually Update Driver Through Device Manager

This is the most simple fix. Sometimes it works like a charm, other times it’s a miss. Like the first date. Or first dump after tacos.

1. Right click and use Update Driver Software on the Display or Standard VGA Graphics Adapter from your device list.

2. Point to the path of the extracted NVIDIA driver folder (eg. C:\NVIDIA\DisplayDriver\xxx.xx\windows_version\English\Display.Driver). If this folder does not exist, you have never run the installer before.

Restart PC as soon as it’s done.

Proceed to run the NVIDIA installer once again as usual if the video card has been successfully recognized. In case nothing happens or the system still identifies the video card as a generic device, you have to move on to the next step.

Method II  (Follow each step carefully)

A. The complete removal of all NVIDIA driver files from the System

Once again, make sure you are using the latest Service Pack (not minor updates but big ass Service Pack). If you have trouble finding an urge to get this done, watch this piece of wood going super saiyan.

  1. Install Driver Sweeper.
  2. Apply Take Ownership to Registry (this registry hack is pretty useful for other situations, too; such as when you cannot delete a file or do not have access to old porn folder due to permission issue).

Restart PC and get in Safe Mode (press F8 after initial POST).

Delete these following NVIDIA Driver data supplied from Windows Update if existed (right click on the folders and choose Take Ownership if the system does not allow you to remove them) :

  1. C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\nvdsp.inf–xxxsomethingxxx
  2. C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\nv_lh–xxxsomethingxxx
  3. C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\nvoclock–xxxsomethingxxx
  4. C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\
  5. C:\Program Files (x86)\NVIDIA Corporation\

Now also fire up Driver Sweeper and delete everything else that is related to NVIDIA. Restart the PC after the process is completed.

This step prevents Windows from trying to apply any pre-cached, pre-downloaded driver for the video card behind our back.

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B. Perform a Clean Installation under Super User Role

  • Download and extract PStools.
  • Move the PsExec.exe file into your C:\Windows\System32\ folder.
  • Press Windows key + R and type the following command into the message box. Be sure to replace the path accordingly to your own reference  :

psexec -i -s “C:\NVIDIA\DisplayDriver\xxx.xx\windows_version\English\Display.Driver\setup.exe”

  • After the License Agreement screen, choose Custom instead of Express installation.
  • Now you can check Perform a Clean Installation and uncheck NVIDIA Update.

Continue on until the setup process completes. Restart the PC and you should have your video card working properly upon the next load.

Leave us a comment whether this has or has not solved your issue. Some of our readers are like, geniuses, and have pretty good advice that works for them so it may work for you. So be sure to go throught the comment section below for more solutions.

If nothing works, perhaps it’s about time to buy one of them AMD R9 300-series instead.

Worst comes to worst, please proceed to Method III below :

Method III


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141 Comments on "2 Methods to Fix “NVIDIA Installer Failed” for GeForce video cards"


10 hours 51 minutes ago

Just download MS Net Framework 4.0 and install before running the Asus setup disk. Worked on my Strix 970

Spore Racker
1 day 7 hours ago

Thanks fot Method III… it helped me very much

11 days 16 minutes ago

Dissable Comodo Antivirus and Firewall and end kill all its processes in task manager

13 days 22 hours ago
For those struggling with the step of psexec.exe! I dont know if required but i got it working this way: I actually executed the exe after i put it inside system32 folder. There was a prompt to accept terms and i pressed accept. The program should close automatically. Afterwards i input the command manually, apparently this ” sign doesnt work when copied or something! Also, the setup.exe is nowadays not located at \display.driver folder anymore, just delete that part out there and the path is correct. Thanks for making this guide, the second step worked for me, after a year… Read more »
kati ivanova
16 days 15 hours ago

uninstalling geforce experience with revo uninstaller using advanced did the job for me. Quickest way by far.

18 days 19 hours ago

Thanks–Method II Part A did the trick. After that, Nvidia’s installer succeeded. (Didn’t need to try Part B.)

Gabriel Peres Bernes
27 days 23 hours ago

Method I worked for me, thanks a lot! : )

1 month 9 days ago

My solution:

1 – I downloaded the necessary driver zip directly from NVIDIA’s official website.
2 – Unzipped, launched BUT (big BUT) instead of selecting the Express/Recommended install, I instead opted selected custom.
3 – A checkbox at the end of the custom installation form can be checked to run a CLEAN INSTALL. This will remove your previous NVIDIA driver profiles and components.
4 – I received a confirmation message that the driver installed, rebooted and my display was functioning as desired.

Note: I DIDN’T combine this with any other measures. E.g. Disabling Comodo etc.

1 month 17 days ago

Thank you SO MUCH !!! NVIDIA support didn’t helped me at all, giving me twice the 1st advice. Second method is pretty hard to guess, and it’s so helpfull. You saved my gaming computer thanks !

1 month 21 days ago

Thankyou very much, can’t believe you have to go through these steps to simply install the latest driver but I’m very thankful someone has solved the issue!

Method 2 worked for me, only needed to do part 1, couldn’t get pstools to work so simply ran the exe file after using drive sweeper and thankfully it worked fine (Installing driver for GTX 970 for Windows 10 64 bit).

1 month 26 days ago


1 month 28 days ago

Thank you very much… after two low-speed months of living with VGA Compatible Driver on my GT610, your method 1 has helped me install GT610 from CDROM successfully. You are God-sent!

2 months 7 days ago

Thanks dood!! just ran Driver Sweeper you linked (didnt update it as i tryed latest ver earlier and it had some bs netframework error even tho i had all that up to date…) then stupid Nivdia driver would FINALLY install!

Only prob is i cant move or delete the Nivdia driver installer from my desktop as it says its still in use by explorer?? even after restart, oh well i can live with that

2 months 8 days ago

OMG! method 2 works! Thank you very much~

2 months 10 days ago

lol struggling cant find that take ownership thing.

Jon Snow
2 months 10 days ago

Thanks! Method 2 helped. I didn’t use Pstools though; I just installed it normally after using Driver Sweeper.

Eugene Goh
2 months 14 days ago

Thank you so much, for a total computer noob, this helped greatly!! If there’s a commend button i would click it! (Y)

2 months 17 days ago

wooow!!! method 2 finaly worked!!!!!

2 months 27 days ago

For those of us who are not so tech savvy. There is an amazing program called display driver uninstaller (ddu) that does all the file uninstalling for you in method 2 and even sets the computer to safe mode for you. All you have to do after that is click costume install and clean install.

2 months 27 days ago


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