Tuesday, July 28, 2015

NVidia ShadowPlay seems to be causing issues with Windows 10 (driver versions 353.30, 353.54, 353.62)

I have been using Windows 10 RTM for more than a week and I've already discovered some issues with it. These could be fixed by the 29th of July, which is the date of public release, however I am afraid to say that I have a feeling they will not. Because it is already 29th in Japan and the problems still persist.
One of them was with the Photos app. When I double click on a photo to open it up in Photos app, it would close immediately. However, the Photos app could be opened normally to browse the albums. Photos can be viewed from there as well. The problem occurs only when opening via the Explorer.
Another issue was with the Store app. When you try to watch a trailer from the “Video” store in Full Screen, the Store app would crash.
The culprit
Until today I thought they were problems with the OS.
They are not, at least not directly.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Had to stress test the 4790K after a long time


The last time I stress test day CPU was when I had the Maximus VII Gene board and the Noctua NH-U12S cooler. And it was with a low ambient temperature as well.

Fast forward to July of 2015 and we have a lot of changes. New case, meaning new motherboard and a new cooler. And Jul means, it's the summer. Sure, we have the A/C on, but the temps are around 26-27C, which is a couple of degrees higher than the previous months.

Wouldn't I have stress tested after all those hardware changes? I should have, but I didn't think it was necessary. For one, the stability of the overclock of Intel CPUs these days don't seem to be affected by the temperature. So the cooler or the lack of airflow inside the case shouldn't have made a difference. Then, Asus says that all of their Z97 Motherboards overclock exactly the same; only the feature set is different. More importantly, I didn't have the time to go through it again.

But yesterday, while I was transcoding a HD video in Handbrake, I got a BSODs. The dreaded "WHEA UNCORRECTABLE ERROR" error.

So the overclock wasn't stable after all. It was time for me to stability test the CPU. At least this time I had a starting point.

4.5GHz @ 1.21V Vcore with everything else set to default

That was where the CPU was at up until now.

But first, I wanted to make sure a stress testing tool would find the current overclock settings as unstable. I am not a fan of synthetic stress testing tools such as Prime 95 or AIDA64. Instead, I turned to Asus Realbench, which can be downloaded from here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Windows 10, Windows Update and GeForce driver: is this what you callthe GeForce Experience?

I have Windows 10 RTM build currently running in my PC. I also have a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 graphics card installed. I had the GeForce driver version 353.30 installed until the day before yesterday. This was the latest driver offered for Windows 10 on GeForce.com website at that time.

On the day before yesterday I found out that there was a newer driver offered by Windows Update, with the version number 353.54. Before I even knew it, Windows Update had updated the old driver to this version and was awaiting a reboot. There is no way to skip updates In Windows 10. However you can defer updates for 24hrs. That's it. I don't like to update the graphics driver hence I first clean the existing driver and then install the newer driver from the scratch.

But Windows Update didn't give me a choice. So after it updated the driver, I rebooted the PC and went into the driver control panel to change the default settings to the settings that I use. (I change the default settings because default settings cause high input lag.) For some reason, the control panel had retained my old preferences, including the custom refresh rate (100Hz) that I set for my display. Weird, I thought.


Later that day, I tried to play a couple of matches of Crysis 3 and immediately encountered a problem. ShadowPlay wasn't functional. It wasn't totally dead, because the FPS overlay was visible and seemed to be working. But video recording wasn't functional at all. The indicator overlay was missing from the screen. I launched GeForce Experience and disabled the ShadowPlay option (it was enabled) and tried to re-enable it. It turned off alright, but never turned back on. (There could be a reason for this but I didn't want to troubleshoot it because it is time consuming.)

I know what this means: clean up the driver and reinstall fresh. First I tried to download the 353.54 driver, but sadly it wasn't available outside of Windows Update. Not even Nvidia's website had it. (Even as of writing this post, it is unavailable outside Windows Update.) 

Since there wasn't anything I could do at this point, I decided to download the latest driver hosted by NVidia, version 353.30. Then I proceeded to clean up the existing driver (the one Windows Update installed) using Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU). The author had added support for Windows 10 with the latest build. Phew! The great thing about DDU is that it would automatically boot into the Safe Mode, clean up the driver and reboot back into regular Windows. Too bad it is not completely unattended because the user has to specify which driver (AMD, NVIDIA or Intel) to remove after booting into the Safe Mode. It would have been perfect if the user could specify this at the initial stage or if it could automatically detect it. (For example, I only have the NVidia driver installed so I don't have to specify which one to remove.)

After cleaning up the driver, I managed to install the 353.30 driver without any drama. Without messing with the preferences, I headed straight to Windows Update and sure enough, Windows Update was ready to install version 353.54 driver. I let it update the driver. I thought the update wouldn't go bad this time because the old driver was at its default settings.)

Just as expected, everything went smoothly this time around. I could enable ShadowPlay after the reboot and set all the preferences as I would usually do.

So was that itl? Not quite.

I saw a glitch in the system after updating the driver. There was a new icon on the desktop. It said, 3D Vision Photo Viewer. It's been many years since I had seen that because when I install the GeForce  driver, I always choose custom and choose only the components that I use. The 3D Vision component and the HD Audio component are always unchecked because I don't need that bloat.

But Windows Update isn't sensible. It just had done a full installation. This is what Programs and Features window showed. Sigh!


I has to remove the 3D Vision driver and HD Audio driver manually. Now things are as should be.

One thing that I could have done differently is skipping the 353.30 driver and letting Windows Update to install the 353.54 driver from the driver-less state. I'm not entirely sure if Windows Update would be able to see the card though. I'll try that next time. Hopefully NVidia will have the drivers up on their website before Windows Update hereafter.
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