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How to uninstall nvidia forceware update with blank screen

Posted on 2006-06-10
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Under pressure from Grandson, I installed Half-Life 2 episode 1 on a W2K machine. It did all its updates (hours) on-line but then complained that if I did not update to the latest nvidia graphics drivers it would probably fail.
I have GeForce card (don't know which right now) and was running 81.98_forceware_winxp2k_international_whql.exe with no apparent problem. Yesterday I downloaded Forceware version 84.21 and (don't laugh) installed it without doing backups. The computer cycles rebooting with an exception more or less before anything,
I then tried "safe mode" (sic) with "enable vga mode". Sure enough it now displays a login screen which will stay indefinitely. BUT any user logging in looks normal to start with, but about 5 seconds into the login, the video goes off completely. The computer is still running OK because I can access all the filestore with admin shares from a linux computer. I think that the keyboard and mouse are working also. I JUST CANNOT DO ANYTHING before the screen blacks out.

It looks like it is loading something (and I thought the culprit was nwiz.exe) during the start-up of every user. I cannot get into uninstall the update and I don't know how to do it completely blind. I tried renaming the nv*.exe files in system32 directory but it still kills the screen. I am reluctant to start re-loading W2K.

It of course COULD be something that half-life has imported, but I had rebooted with half-life on before I installed Nvidia.

I cannot telnet into the W2K machine (connection refused) and not sure that would help if I could. I tried running "NVUNINST.exe uninstall" from the "run" prompt which I did manage to type in before the black screen of death. Unfortunately it failed but that might be because I had renamed some files. I will put those back and try again.

So, the question is - can anybody help me to remove the latest "Nvidia improvement" completely blind?
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Question by:Sanktwo
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by:mistymisty
ID: 16877017
You could boot to a Bart CD and try to manually pull the files out that you think NVidia loaded.

Here is info on Bart:
http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/
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by:callrs
ID: 16877030
What about "Last Known Good Configuration"? http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000626.htm
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by:Sanktwo
ID: 16877052
Tried "last known good configuration" - give BSOD before getting to the log-on screen.

As far as Bart is concerned, that looks interesting. Do you know if it is possible to edit the registry of the misbehaving computer from the booted OS? It does not seem to mention that on the Bart site.
I can already delete files from Linux via smb though I am nervous about doing that since I don't want to add problems.

Does anyone know where an nvidia install log might reside?
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by:Sanktwo
ID: 16877496
Update, I managed to get in to the control panel to uninstall the nvidia latest.
I eventually figured out how to use the command line to start up the control panel after using "safe mode command prompt" which is the only safe mode which would come up for me. Sorry for any trouble caused.
Can this question be closed please.
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by:callrs
ID: 16877563
You can post a message here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/
Asking to close the question & that you solved the problem yourself    
What command-line command got you into the control panel?
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by:_
ID: 16879664
You might want to ask to have this one PAQ'ed and Refunded. Different enough to keep in the database.
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by:Sanktwo
ID: 16880879
Further update: I typed "appwiz.cpl" at the command prompt and the window for add/remove applications opened (which is where nvidia drivers are unloaded).
BUT, before I leave this, although I solved the original question of how to remove nvidia, I am not out of the woods yet. I installed the old version. That went fine apparently, including setting up the screen with the nvidia installer after rebooting. Looked wonderful, full resolution, everything. However, the computer would not then reboot in normal mode, still gives "unexpected kernel mode trap 7F" - so it is NOT the nvidia upgrade that was the problem. I still don't know how to solve this, but I am working on it. Next step is to unload half-life and hope that that is the culprit. Wish me luck.
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by:mistymisty
ID: 16880996
Thanks for letting us know you got it.  As far as the 7F error, check this article:  http://aumha.org/win5/kbestop.htm
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by:mistymisty
ID: 16880998
Sorry, forgot to mention click on the 7F on the left to get to the correct area.
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by:Sanktwo
ID: 16881149
That is a good explanation. I had found out already that it was a "divide by zero" error - but why is it occurring? All the usual suspects of hardware fault, memory fault, device driver fault, seem unlikely since it is almost certainly something I did in the install of Half-life. The computer boots just fine using only the default vga driver. When installing the nvidia drivers, the first reboot works ok. I go into the nvidia control panel and set the resolutions, colour depth, one monitor etc. etc. and it all looks wonderful. On the next reboot, once again div by zero. I wish I could find out just WHICH piece of code is doing this. I asked for a core dump but that seems not to work at this stage of the boot. I thought I recalled a method of requiring the exec to ask before loading each driver, but that might have been another OS since I cannot identify such a command right at this moment. Thanks for your assistance.
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by:Sanktwo
ID: 16881269
AAARRRGGGHH, the problem "went away".

I reloaded the latest nvidia drivers (again) and set up boot.ini with switches /NOGUIBOOT/SOS/BOOTLOG and, expecting it to end in "divide by zero", rebooted. It rebooted fine with no exceptions. I removed the noguiboot and sos switches and it still reboots just fine. Whatever it is, it seems I corrected it.
The only thing that I did differently was that I went through most of the options on NVIEW and set up as much as I could with the logic that there might have been a bad value lurking somewhere. That certainly is not proven.
If the div by zero returns I will try to analyse better what I did to get to it in the first place. I still have half-life installed but have not run it. One problem is that the computer has insufficient memory for half life and I have to kill the process to exit. I will upgrade the memory and then see if the problem returns. That's all for now.
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by:mistymisty
ID: 16881802
Ah great to hear you solved it.  
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by:Sanktwo
ID: 16918662
Just to finalize this question. I changed the memory from 256Mb to 1Gb and then ran half-life 2 episode 1 just fine with the latest Nvidia drivers. I have done this several times, including killing HL2.exe without bad results. So, I have no idea what the real problem was, but after much re-installing and re-configuring, it went away.
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