2 Methods to Fix NVIDIA Installer Failed Issue for GeForce Video Cards

During the recent assembly of several NVIDIA video cards for different high-end systems, I came across this rather annoying issue where the NVIDIA setup failed to install the drivers on a Windows computer.

It consistently returned an error that read “NVIDIA Installer failed” and none of the core components were installed. See, that totally sucks because if I wanted a generic video card I’d just use the integrated chip and call it a day than $200 for a GTX.

So the troubleshooting took places and many of my hours of frustration for trying to diagnose and fix this issue (where it should have been remedied by NVIDIA or Microsoft themselves in the first place). A search from Google and Bing returns similar problem everywhere. It does not matter if it’s a GTX 460, GTX 570 or the new GTX 680,etc.. the damn installer just won’t install. You only got one job! 1! And to make it worse, Windows also tries its best to deny any proper driver for the device –even one that was obtained by Windows Update itself. Great.

Good news is –here’s a (potential) solution for that problem; just right before things start to get any uglier.

Why this s**t does not install!!?

Also Read Radeon vs. NVIDIA : A Big Comparison Guide

Essential Things To Check

First thing first, be sure Windows is running on the latest Service Pack.

Everybody understands that this is a secret affair between NVIDIA and Windows and all, but unfortunately we’re caught up in the middle. Like a lost child. This is what often seen: Error Code 28, Driver cannot be installed, No Hardware Specified, System keeps rolling back to Standard VGA Adapter driver after restart, etc…

Some blames NVIDIA for the bug, but who knows ? It could just be Windows.. being Windows.

Windows 7 SP1 - Windows Vista SP2 - Windows XP SP3

  • 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 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.

Method I : Manually Update Driver Through Device Manager

This is the most simple fix. Sometimes it works like a charm, other times it doesn’t. Like the first date. Or first dump after chipotle.

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 a** SP). Seriously, do it!

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

Restart PC and go into 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) :

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

Fire up Driver Sweeper and delete everything else that is related to NVIDIA.

Restart the PC after the process is completed.

This process prevents Windows from trying to apply any readily pre-cached, pre-downloaded driver for the video card without asking first.

B. Perform a Clean Installation under Super User Role

  • Download and extract PStools. Cut and Paste 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 to the rest of the setup process.

Restart the PC right after the task is done 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. Also check them comments, too. Some of our readers have pretty good advice that works for them so it may work for you. Cross your fingers and toes.

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