Make sure you only install Nvidia drivers you need
If your computer is powered by a Nvidia graphics card you have probably also installed the driver package that Nvidia makes available for various operating systems.
The package has currently a size of nearly 380 Megabyte and one of the reasons for that is that it includes several components and not only the graphics driver.
If you select to do a full installation in the installer, you end up with installed drivers for features that you may not be able to use at all.
If your monitor does not support 3D for instance, you can't really make use of the 3D drivers that get installed anyway on your system. Another example is the audio driver that you only need if you use the card's audio capabilities.
Then there is GeForce Experience, a new software that requires registration. Initially designed to offer configurations for games to improve performance or visuals, it has since been pushed to be a lot more than that. It is now used for instance to download and install updates automatically.
Even if you do not use the drivers, they may be loaded with the operating system and features they offer may be displayed in various menus of the operating system.
Nvidia custom driver installation
It is therefore highly recommended to custom install Nvidia graphics drivers and not use the express installation option that the installer offers.
If you select custom (advanced) installation in the installer you are taken to the next page where you can block several driver components from being installed on your system.
While you need to install the Graphics Driver, you are free to block the installation of any of the other components the installer makes available to you.
- 3D Vision Controller Driver - You only need to install this driver if your screen supports 3D, if you have proper glasses and if you access 3D contents, e.g. movies or games, on your PC. If you do not, do not install this.
- 3D Vision Driver - See above.
- HD Audio Driver -You only need that if you want to transmit audio signals via your video cards HDMI connector. If you don't, you do not need to install this driver either.
- NVIDIA Update (no longer offered) - This resident program checks regularly with NVIDIA if driver updates are available. If you check for updates manually all the time, you do not need the process running in the background on your system.
- PhysX System Software - If you are into gaming, you may need to install this for some games to run. If you never play games, you do not need this.
- NVIDIA GeForce Experience - This tool serves several purposes. It checks online to find new drivers, can optimize games so that they run better on your PC, and video broadcasting options.
I disable all features but PhysX during installation to avoid installing drivers that I do not need on my system. I suggest - highly - that you also check the perform a clean installation option unless you have created profiles that you want to retain.
You can download the latest Nvidia drivers from the official website.
Update: You may notice the two processes nvvsvc.exe and nvxdsync.exe running on your system even after you have only installed the modules that you needed to install using the custom installation option.
You can disable both process by stopping the NVIDIA Display Driver Service. When you do that, you won't be able to access the NVIDIA control panel anymore. I have not experienced any other issues doing so however.
- To disable the service tap on the Windows key, enter services.msc and hit enter.
- Locate the NVIDIA Display Driver Service, right-click it and select Stop.
This stops both processes for the current session. I suggest you do that for a couple of sessions to see if there are any other side-effects of turning the service off.
If there are not any, you can go back to Services and disable the service by right-clicking it, selecting Properties from the context menu and switching the startup type to disabled there.
Update 2: You may have noticed the processes nvbackend.exe and nvstreamsvc.exe running on the system as well.Â Follow the link to find out how what they do and how to remove them.
Update 3: Recent Nvidia drivers add other processes to the system after driver installation. You find the new NVDisplay.Container process there which powers the Control Panel applet now.
You can disable it in the following way:
- Tap on the Windows-key, type services.msc and hit the Enter-key.
- Locate the service NVIDIA Display Container LS.
- Double-click on it.
- Click on Stop to stop it for the session.
- Select Disabled under Startup Type.