Sometimes, a Windows computer may become incredibly sluggish during use, followed by the computer’s screen going off and then turning back on again, at which point an error message stating that the “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” can be seen in the Notification Area in the bottom-right corner of the screen. This happens when a feature known as Timeout Detection and Recovery (TDR) determines that the GPU has not responded within the allotted period of time and restarts the display drivers in order to save the user the trouble of restarting the computer entirely.
Some of the most common causes of the “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” error message are a lot of programs and applications running and stressing the GPU, a problem with the affected computer’s display drivers and an overheating GPU. This issue is known to affect all versions of the Windows Operating System from Windows XP to Windows 10. If you happen to see the “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” error message once in a blue moon, there is no cause for alarm. However, if you start seeing the “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” error message pretty often, there might be a pretty serious underlying issue.
Thankfully, though, the “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” error message can be fixed as long as it is not caused by a defective GPU. If you want to solve this problem, the following are the most effective solutions that you should try:
Solution 1: Uninstall and then reinstall your graphics drivers
Press the Windows Logo key + R to launch a Run
Type devmgmt.msc into the Run dialog and press Enter to launch the Device Manager.
In the Device Manager, expand the Display adapters
Right-click on your graphics drivers, click on Uninstall and then go through the uninstallation wizard to uninstall the drivers. If you have more than one graphics driver, do the same for every one of them.
Restart your computer. Once your computer boots up, it should automatically reinstall the same version of the graphics drivers. However, if the computer doesn’t do so, simply log on to the official website of your GPU’s manufacturer and locate, download and install them yourself. Once the drivers have been reinstalled, check to see whether or not the problem has been resolved.
Solution 2: Update your graphics drivers
If a newer version of the graphics drivers on your computer is available for your computer, downloading and installing them may just be able to fix this problem for you. To check to see if a newer version of your computer’s graphics drivers is available, log on to the official website of your GPU’s manufacturer, head on to the Downloads or Support section and see if a newer version of graphics drivers for your specific GPU is available. If such a version is available, download and install it, and then check to see if that fixes the problem.
Solution 3: Increase the TDR timeout for your GPU
TDR (Timeout Detection and Recovery) has a set time period at the end of which, if a Windows computer’s GPU does not respond, the feature reboots the display drivers, at which point the “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” error message is displayed. If you are seeing the error message quite often, a pretty plausible cause may be that TDR’s set timeout is just too little for your GPU to respond in time, which is why the display driver reboot is triggered over and over again.
If this is the case, you can resolve this issue by simply increasing the TDR timeout for your GPU, which can be done by editing your computer’s registry. Although the process is pretty simple, be sure to take extra caution when tinkering around with your computer’s registry. To use this solution to try and fix this problem, you need to:
Press the Windows Logo key + R to launch a Run
Type regedit into the Run dialog and press Enter to launch the Registry Editor.
In the left pane of the Registry Editor, navigate to the following directory:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control
Click on GraphicsDrivers in the left pane to have its contents displayed in the right pane.
In the right pane, right-click on an empty space and hover over New to expand the context menu. If you are using a 32-bit version of Windows, click on DWORD (32-bit) Value in the context menu. If you are using a 64-bit version of Windows, click on QWORD (64-bit) Value in the context menu.
Name the new registry value TdrDelay and press Enter.
Double-click on the TdrDelay registry value to modify it, type 8 into its Value data field and click on OK.
Close the Registry Editor, restart your PC and check to see whether or not the problem still persists once it boots up.
Solution 4: Relieve some of the stress on the GPU
A Windows computer’s graphics driver may reboot and cause the “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered” error message to be displayed when more applications and programs than the GPU can handle are running. If that is the case, simply relieve some of the stress on your GPU by closing a few unnecessary applications and programs that are open, and that should do the trick.
Solution 5: Manually clean dust and other impurities off the GPU
An overheating GPU can also prove to be a cause of this issue, and one of the most common reasons why GPUs overheat is because of dust and other impurities on them (and especially on their radiators and heat sinks). To rule this possible cause out, simply shut your computer down, open your computer up, unseat your GPU, thoroughly clean it, its radiator, its heat sinks and its port in your computer’s motherboard, reseat the GPU, restart your computer and check to see if that fixed the issue once the computer boots up.
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