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Windows 10 - Driver and System Stability Troubleshooting

Last Updated: 2/7/17

I've had two interesting experiences troubleshooting Windows 10 recently.

1) HP Envy 17 laptop, Windows 10, freezes / hangs / stops responding, and has to be hard rebooted.

2) Dell XPS 8900, Windows 10, crashes and reboots unexpectedly.


The first one was caused by a bad driver. Apparently Windows 10 was not checking for new drivers automatically. I went to device manager > selected a device > driver tab > Update Driver > Automatically check online. Most every piece of hardware had a driver update (both video cards, sound, ethernet, Wifi, and bluetooth).  The system appears to be more stable now.

The second case was Windows Update automatically installing hardware drivers, repeatedly. The Nvidia GTX 745 was getting a new driver, but was crashing each time. Windows update would retry (after rebooting from the cash) and create a loop. The system would only be stable for a short while until Windows update tried to update the driver again. The bad driver was: nvlddmkm.sys (bug check error: VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE). The solution was to uninstall the old driver from device manager. Then while I was downloading the new driver from, Windows update beat me too it and installed a new driver!

The Nvidia driver update version after getting the update installed correctly:


Windows 10 is inconsistent with its treatment of driver updates. It updates all your hardware drivers automaticaly and without warning, except for when it decides not to update any of them at all.  It seems that if a driver update will improve your stability, Windows 10 will not install it.  If the driver update will decrease your stability, then Windows 10 will try to install it at all costs!


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