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When a Display Driver Stops Responding

You’re scrolling through your favorite websites, when suddenly the screen goes blank and eventually recovers back to your desktop with the message, “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered.” This is a frustrating message to deal with, whether you’re utilizing your system for high performance gaming and graphical rendering, or you simply want to look through Facebook. Instead of gritting your teeth and trying to tough your way through the situation when it occurs, here are a few reasons for the error, along with ways to troubleshoot the problem in Windows XP, 7, and 8.


Your display driver powers your graphics card, and may crash occasionally for a few reasons. One of the main issues that occurs with your graphics card drivers are incompatibility issues, older DirectX software problems, outdated display drivers, and missing operating system updates. The actual feature that causes this error and subsequent recovery is called the Timeout Detection and Recovery feature. This feature automatically restarts the display driver if it hasn’t responded within a certain amount of time.

Getting the Latest Display Driver

The process you use to obtain a new display driver is the same no matter what operating system you’re using. Go to the video card manufacturer’s website and look for the Downloads or Drivers section in order to download the latest drivers. Make sure that the driver you download is the proper one for your graphics card. Some websites have scanning software that double checks your hardware version before directing you to a download.

Double-click the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions to get the latest driver on your system. If you have a video card that’s built into the motherboard (also called Integrated Graphics; Intel is usually the manufacturer), you want to download the latest drivers from the motherboard manufacturer or from your computer manufacturer in general.

Updating Your Operating System

If the graphics card driver isn’t the issue, the fault probably lays with your operating system. Keeping your OS up to date addresses any compatibility issues and bug fixes that have been implemented since the last time you updated.

Windows XP

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click Run.
  3. Type sysdm.cpl in the text box and hit Enter. The Windows Update screen appears.
  4. Select Automatic (recommended) to automatically apply Windows updates to your computer.
  5. Click OK to save your changes. Your system is now set up to automatically download and install any updates.

Windows 7

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click All Programs.
  3. Click Windows Update.
  4. Look on the left sidebar and click Change Settings.
  5. Change your Windows Update settings to Install Updates Automatically.
  6. Click OK.

Windows 8

  1. Press Windows Key + X.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  3. Click Windows Update when viewing by Small Icons.
  4. Click Change Settings.
  5. Select Install Updates Automatically and click OK.

Display Driver Stopped Responding and Has Recovered. What do I do next?
Update Windows from this screen.

Display Driver Stopped Responding and Has Recovered. What do I do next?
Be sure and tell Windows to install updates automatically.

Driver Reviver

Our application, Driver Reviver, is excellent for keeping graphics card drivers updated to the latest version and reducing this particular display driver error. Give it a try!

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