Win XP crashes solved by disabling Nvidia Driver service

I finally solved a long-standing problem with my Windows XP laptop.

My CPU would slowly grow to about 15% even when idle.  Then a window would pop-up telling me I had 60 seconds to reboot because an RPC service had crashed.  This occurred about once a week.  Often enough to be annoying, but not often enough to make me dig to find the problem.  The crashed "RPC service" was not very instructive, because it's a service used by lots of programs.  So clearly some software running on my computer was "abusing" this service.

At first I thought it may have been due to the Intel PROSet/Wireless software running on my computer that was doing something bad with RPC, it turns out the problem was with Nvidia driver software for my Nvidia graphics card.  The problems were on my Asus A8JS laptop, under XP Pro SP2 & SP3, with an Nvidia GeForce Go 7700 graphics card, and Nvidia Forceware 163.44 drivers, with DirectX 9.0c.

I found the solution here:
http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?p=3076277#post3076277

I had to disable the Nvidia Driver service (see detailed instructions below).  After that, I've not had any of the symptoms.

This describes the exact symptoms I was seeing (including the 1 minute to reboot):
http://www.notebookforums.com/thread212236.html

Apparently, you can shutdown the Nvidia Driver helper without much consequences. There may be some multi-monitor stuff that doesn't work, but you can always start it manually, or re-enable it to start automatically.
http://www.glaryutilities.com/processlibrary/process/nvsvc32.exe.html

Read on for detailed instructions…

You should run the Windows XP "Computer Management" application, so you can disable the service.  You can probably find this under Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools.  If you can't find this, then you can run it "manually" by using Start, Run, then enter compmgmt.msc.  If that doesn't work, try Start, Run, then services.msc.

Next, expand the tree to find Services, then scroll down to Nvidia Display Driver.

Services

It probably will show as "Automatic" in the startup column.  You want to change it to "Manual".  Double-click to get the properties window, then change the Startup type to "Manual".

Nvidia Driver Service

Click "Ok" to close all the windows, then re-start your computer.

If for some reason you lose some functionality, you can always temporarily run the service by going back to the properties window and clicking the Start button.  This will run until your next reboot.  Or if you want to permanently turn it back on, change the Startup Type to automatic.

6 Replies to “Win XP crashes solved by disabling Nvidia Driver service”

  1. Casey: The problems were on my Asus A8JS laptop, under XP Pro SP2 & SP3, with an Nvidia GeForce Go 7700 graphics card, and Nvidia Forceware 163.44, with DirectX 9.0c. (I also updated the post above with this info).

  2. Thanks for this post. It also affected my laptop. My specs are: Dell Vostro 1500, XP Home SP3, Nvidia Geforce 8600M GT, DirectX 9.0C, Forceware 177.92.

    I definitely think it's driver related as the driver was not certified for my hardware yet.

  3. Question …… I don't have Nvidia Display Driver in my services list. I'm using XP media centre sp3. How do i find it? where is it?

  4. Matt: Maybe XP Media Center is different, but I doubt it. If you you are looking at the services list, and don't see the Nvidia Display Driver, that probably means it's not installed an not running. If your RPC service is crashisng, there are lots of other potential causes. If you'd like, email me at jeff@netjeff.com and be sure to put "maps" at the end of the subject line to get past my spam filter — maybe I can help you that way. For any other readers, I'll post the results if we find anything specific to media center.

  5. My parents' computer is having the exact same problem with the RPC svchost – but their PC doesn't even have a nvidia card, it has a 3dfx voodoo 5500, which doesn't have any process running visible in services.msc

    Any ideas?

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