A Guide to the VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE Blue Screen of Death Error


There are many Blue Screen of Death errors that can occur for many reasons. What happens with a Blue Screen of Death is that the computer halts all operation, and instead of shutting down completely, a blue error screen will pop up and display the error that occurred. It is through this specific error that you can determine what went wrong. Unfortunately, many of these errors won’t mean much to those who aren’t the most technically aware.

What Does the VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE Error Mean?

One such error that can pop up in a blue screen will be one that reads “VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE”. This is normally only seen with users running Windows 7 or later. There are several causes for this error, so if hiring a computer repair professional to diagnose and treat the problem isn’t in your best interest, there are steps you can take to find and both eliminate and prevent the problem.

The first thing you need to know is that this error pertains to an issue with the video card, and that your display driver failed. The display driver in your video card could be the problem, indicating you need to update the driver. Depending on the kind of graphics card you have (popular brands include ATI and NVIDIA) you may need to find and visit the company’s website to download the latest driver. Manufacturer websites will often provide you with a guided form you’ll need to fill out based on your system in order to find the driver that works best for you.

See NVIDIA’s guided driver update website for downloads.

Other Causes and Possible Fixes for the VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE Error

Overheating of the card and dust can also be another source of the problem. Making sure the card in the case is free of dust with canned dust or is properly cooled with a fan can help eliminate VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE errors.

Another cause can be the failure of the hardware itself, meaning you may need to purchase a new video card or possibly other components relating to it. A good way to determine the problem is through a free video stress test performed on your system. You can get free stress tests from various websites and software, including GIMPS and FurMark, that can be found online. A MemTest, performed on a system reboot or downloaded, can test the memory of your computer to help show how well your computer runs in all areas, and may indicate your computer needs more RAM, or memory.

Some brief instructions for running a MemTest:

  • On system start-up, you can bypass the windows boot screen (keys for doing so are usually displayed at the top of the screen) and select the option for a Memory Test.
  • Alternatively, click Start
  • Click Control Panel
  • Type Memory in the search box and press Enter
  • Click Diagnose your Computer’s Memory Problems
  • Choose to restart now and perform the test, or run it next time you restart
  • Finally, sites like www.memtest.org or www.memtest86.com offer free downloadable memory tests that can be saved to a CD or flash drive and run on your PC.

This is the FurMark video stress test software, which can be optimized for your system.

Stressing the video card (with video or games that push the card’s capabilities to or past their limits) can cause many issues, and this can be one of those as a result. Making sure the card is properly cooled (testing component temperatures with software like SpeedFan can help), and is running the latest drivers that are optimized for the hardware can prevent this error from occurring.

There are few things more frustrating than a Blue Screen of Death error, which can ruin your progress with a system crash and indicate serious problems. Knowing how to fix these and make sure they never occur again will prolong your computer’s life and, if the problem is correctly identified, lower the cost of unnecessary components or an entire computer altogether.

If you’re having a different Blue Screen of Death, here’s our master list of BSoDs and how to fix each one.

Steve Horton

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Kees.Ter.Wisch.Bakker Kees Bakker

    All the above is very well, but what if, like my case, The PC is crashes and during the restart I am totaly unable to get in either the boot(F11) or setup screen (F2/Del), simply because the #@%#@$ PC is too fast. So I keep on ending with the silly screen “:( your pc…… restart…..”

    Anybody any advice?????

  • reviversoft

    Hi Kees,
    It’s likely that you have Fast Boot turned on. You’ll need to enter your BIOS quickly in order to turn this feature off and allow you to enter the boot menu. Good luck!

  • CrySkyMen

    its defenitly not graphic card failure, coze i did put another graphic card from another pc withc runs proper, and problem remains same, like it have been with my main graphic card, so people think they know whats wrong, but i believe its not graphic card problem, its somthing else, not related with graphic card. I will try to put my graphic card to another pc and have a look if the graphic card will work fine. Both pc runs on windows 8 enterpice system. i need more infor about this error, because all forums full about graphic cards, but im sure, thats not the case, there is samthing else! I tryed to install fresh windows 8 instalation, but everything works till screen shows prepering your seestem and at about 78% it crash

  • http://ragex.ca RageX

    For me TDR_Failure occured because Windows 8 Update was on and it installed the “Microsoft version of GTX 580 drivers” which ever since even doing reinstall of drivers and so on from Nvidia with clean install give me HEADACHE and problems.

  • Robert Zeurunkl

    Where can I get some of this “canned dust” you speak of? ;-)

  • Karim Allam

    hi, i get “video-tdr-failure” when i install my graphical driver amd radeon 7600m in my laptop Samsung (NP350V5C-A01US) so what i will do, please help

  • Саша


  • Arie Klep

    After many hours of research i finally found the cause AND solution to this problem !

    I’m not going into details about the cause since there are many aspects to discus before even adressing the topic of TDR, so i skip to the solution.

    Turning off TDR (set TdrLevel to 0) did solve everything on my part on Windows 7 32/64 bit and Winxp.

    Here you can find the proper registry keys and their possible settings, just play around with it and see what fits your demand :

    KeyPath : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetControlGraphicsDrivers
    KeyValue : TdrLevel
    ValueType : REG_DWORD
    ValueData : TdrLevelOff (0) – Detection disabled
    TdrLevelBugcheck (1) – Bug check on detected timeout, for example, no recovery.
    TdrLevelRecoverVGA (2) – Recover to VGA (not implemented).
    TdrLevelRecover (3) – Recover on timeout. This is the default value.

  • Andreas Busschop

    What are the risks, and what does it instead of a BSOD now?

  • Arie Klep

    on every keyboard there is a key “pause”
    use it to intterupt the boot process.

    btw, this is an ancient and basic method. since the beginning of time all BIOS’s are still working the same, meaning : once the power is turned on the BIOS will sequentially perform a hardware diagnostics. It does this to prevent catastrofic electrical failure and to ensure the minimum hardware requirements are met to operate properly.
    The BIOS uses a specific order to perform each test (memory,keyboard,monitor, etc). During the test itself it is impossible to intterupt the process unless you cut of the powersupply. (not recommend, but i have never seen it leading to any issues at all…)
    BUT : every key you press on your keyboard will be cached and once the BIOS finishes its test or is about to start the next test then your keystrokes will be executed. This can be very annoying, so that’s why they invented the “PAUSE” key …

    Happy pausing ;)

  • Wassim Benslimen

    i have the same problem with the same card, any suggestions???

  • Oussəmə Aissi

    same here

  • Dr. Chronosphere

    In windows 7, I could play all of my games with ease, now that I have windows 10, it brings this stupid error up every time I start up Portal 2! Portal 1 also has troubles.

  • Arie Klep

    Sorry for the late reply.

    Well it’s kind of a (very) long story but it’s important to know that it doesn’t replace the BSOD !
    All BSOD’s are the same, meaning : when the instruction pointer of the BIOS is resetted (flag set to 0) while your OS is running then it will be caught in a never ending loop. At that point your system has crashed,
    Microsoft was aware of this issue even before the first windows version saw the light. The only thing they did was to created a (binary) page we now call the famous Black Screen of Death (BSOD).
    The BSOD appears only when the above conditions are met and has (in essence) nothing to do with the OS at all.
    It’s a pure function call within the BIOS itself which can only be solved by resetting the powersupply to force the BIOS to restart. (thats why the BIOS is ROM btw)

    TDR is a poor attempt to try to recover from such a crash and therefor it has never been a topic of discussion since the BIOS is not a microsoft product. (and if MS doesnt get money for it they won’t spend their time on it)

    TDR can solve some problems but it can not replace the the BSOD at all.
    Simply because the crash itself can not be prevented.
    In essence TDR is just an attempt to fool the BIOS (when crashed !) by faking a power reset of certain hardware (videocard, soundcard, usb-device etc.) hoping the BIOS will be triggered to start it’s diagnostic ability from scratch. This ofcourse is a doomed way of solving things and therefor microsoft will never ever give any support for these kind of problems.

    As said, it’s a BIOS issue and not a OS issue therefor there is actually nothing you can do other then experimenting with it yourself.

    And for the risk: well it doesn’t matter what you do since the BIOS will always dictate the outcome, that’s why you can experiment with it freely but without guarantee it will work.

    The only way to harm your BIOS is when you physically demolish it or short circuit it, other then that it’s invulnerable to any software changes. (BIOS = ROM = read-only memory)

  • Andreas Busschop

    I updated/flashed my BIOS a few weeks ago and it runs perfectly (my nvidia card) again.

  • Arie Klep

    Good to hear :)
    Yet i’m alarmed by the fact that a videocard was apparently incompatible with your previous BIOS.
    Seems that NVIDIA doesn’t apply to the standard BIOS instruction set (which is a whole different story btw due to the changes in the way our displays work nowadays)
    If a BIOS update solved your problems then NVIDIA has some explaining to do !
    Since the BIOS is still the same with some small additions throughout the years, like the E-PROM, not a single videocard should ever experience these issues IF they use the standard BIOS instruction set.
    Again it’s probably all about the money ….

  • Nate Bloomer

    any idea what would cause it on a desktop with integrated graphics?

  • rblk

    Ever since I installed the new Windows 10 operating software I started have this VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE errors! Anyone have this problem at the Windows 10 install?

  • XhanZ

    Help?Laptop Lenovo Y70-70.Drivers is ok.System:Windows 8.1 .Graphics: GTX860M.

  • Yll Sghj

    Me 2

  • rblk

    Fry’s or Best Buy. Costco has it it’s called “Dust Off”

  • David A. White

    I think I’ve discovered what was causing my TDR_FAILURE crashes. I had
    been looking at the CPU temperature and it was in the mid to high 60
    Celsius range which I thought was normal, however, upon further
    investigation, I discovered that the normal range
    was mid-50s to low 60s C. So, I took the fan and heat sync off my CPU
    and replaced the thermal paste on it and now it’s running in the mid 40s
    C. If it crashes. I’ll report back here, but I have a very high
    confidence level that this was the problem.

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