[Solved] Nvidia Control Panel – Crashing Fix – Crashes, Freezes on Launch – Solutions!
Nvidia Control Panel is crashing? Crashes immediately after launch or freezes? Nvidia Control Panel crashing on the Manage 3D Settings or Program Settings menu? This article covers the solutions that have worked for the most people, including the one that worked for me!
Nvidia Control Panel is Crashing – Symptoms of What Happens
The specifics of Nvidia Control Panel crashing may be slightly different for you. However in my case, the specific symptoms were that in Nvidia Control Panel, any time Manage 3D Settings > “Program Settings” tab opened, Nvidia Control Panel would freeze and/or crash within about 5 seconds. Usually there was no error message, the window just closed by itself. In my case, if I quickly selected a different option on the left such as “Adjust video image settings” I could get the program to work normally as long as I never went back into Manage 3D Settings.
Shortcuts to Solutions in this Article:
If you’re seeing the exact behavior I described, Solution #1 will probably fix the issue with Nvidia Control Panel for for you! Most other people fix the problem using Solution #2 (delete the listed temporary files.) About 7 solutions in total are provided.
- Delete / move Windows Desktop contents
- Delete specific temporary files
- Quickly select a different menu option in Nvidia Control Panel
- Update Graphics Drivers
- Clean reinstall Nvidia Drivers
- Restart Nvidia Windows Services
- Other things to try
Alright, so this is going to really frustrate you if this ends up being the solution like it was for me. Especially after several years of not having full use of Nvidia Control Panel. Luckily it’s simple to try. Do you by chance have a lot of files and folders on your desktop, folders nested within folders many deep, or even just one file with a very long filename or filepath?
- Move everything off your Windows desktop (all files, folders, shortcuts etc) to a temporary location (such as C:\TemporaryDesktop),
- Then try launching Nvidia Control Panel again to test the fix.
More Detailed Step by Step Instructions:
- Select everything on your desktop except the Recycle Bin and This PC (and any other similar Windows default icons that you have enabled.)
- If you have a lot on your desktop, you can left click an empty space on the desktop, then press CONTROL + A to select everything. Then hold CONTROL and left click on the Recycle Bin and “This PC” icons to deselect them.
- Press CONTROL + X to Cut (or right click on your selections and select Cut)
- Open the Windows File Explorer (type file explorer into the Windows Search Bar or press WINDOWS KEY+E)
- Create a folder on any drive, any location that is not the Windows Desktop, such as C:\TemporaryDesktop
- Paste / move everything from your Windows desktop into this new location. (CONTROL + V to paste, or right click then select Paste)
- You may get an error about a filename(s) being too long. That’s good in this case! You’ll have to skip moving those files, then delete or rename them after everything else has moved.
- Your desktop should now be empty except for default windows Icons like the Recycle Bin.
- Now reboot your PC for good measure
- Then try launching Nvidia Control Panel again. Open up the Manage 3D Settings Program Settings section and see if the issue is fixed. It was for me!
Why does this work? It seems that Nvidia Control Panel was having an issue processing some sort of buffer overflow as a result of too-long file names on the desktop. When going into Program Settings, it is scanning some sections of your hard drive including the Windows Desktop to compile a list of programs you can edit. Apparently if a file path it scans is too long it just crashes with no explanation!
There may be some temporary files that are corrupted. Delete them, Nvidia Control panel will re-create the files the next time it launches and the issue may be fixed. At least one or two users reported this worked for them. As mentioned at https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/forums/geforce-graphics-cards/5/165403/nvidia-control-panel-crash/
- Open Windows File Explorer, go to the folder: C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\Drs
- Delete the files: “nvAppTimestamps” “nvdrsdb0.bin” and “nvdrsdb1.bin”
- Try restarting Nvidia Control Panel
- If that doesn’t work, also delete all other files in the C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\Drs
- Note that you may want to make a backup of the files if you have any custom settings you would want to avoid losing if possible.
If your issue is specifically crashing whenever the “Manage 3d Settings” / “Program Settings” area of Nvidia Control Panel is accessed, the workaround I used for years was to just never click on “Manage 3D Settings” and just did not use any features in there. However, since the program remembers where you last left off, this crash repeats every time you launch after the first crash. To get around this, a hacky fix is to just spam click on a different menu option as soon as the window appears, before it can crash. In my case I had about 2-5 seconds to do this and it worked every time I tested it.
Step by step hacky work-around explanation below:
- Launch Nvidia Control Panel normally
- When the window opens, immediately start clicking fast over and over again on any other menu option on the left sidebar that is not “Manage 3d Settings.” For example spam left click on “Adjust video image settings”
- Nvidia Control Panel will still crash one last time
- If you were able to click on “Adjust video image settings,” the next time you open Nvidia Control Panel, it will now load to that setting, and should not crash.
- Now never click on the section of the program that was causing the crashing (again, for me the problem section was “Manage 3D Settings.”)
This is an obvious and easy first step, but we’re being comprehensive here. Always try updating your driver and then rebooting your PC to fix any issues as a first step. This has worked for some users in the Nvidia Support Forums. However this did not work for me – I tried the newest drivers, tried older drivers etc.
- Open Geforce Experience, click drivers at the top, then select check for updates.
- Install drivers if a newer version is found. You can also try selecting “Custom Install” and then Clean Install, though this will cause you to lose some driver or app preferences in some cases.
This was another option that did not work for me unfortunately, but a number of people on the support forums reported it did work for them. It seems the only normal way to install Nvidia Control Panel now is through the Microsoft Store. The standalone download for Nvidia Control Panel has been removed (for some unknown reason) ever since it came to the Microsoft Store. Strangely, this was also around the time I started having crashes, but I can’t say for sure they’re related. Either way, doing a full install of the driver package from the Nvidia website seems to install Nvidia Control Panel without you needing to access the Microsoft Store.
- Use windows search bar to type in “Add Remove Programs” – use this to uninstall Nvidia Control Panel when the list of programs loads
- Visit https://www.nvidia.com/Download/Find.aspx and select the drivers for your specific video card and operating system
- Install new drivers, select “custom” then “clean installation” when prompted
- Reboot your computer when installation is completed
- See if Nvidia Control Panel will now work normally
- Go to the Windows start menu / search and type in Services and hit enter
- Scroll to “Nvidia Display Container LS” then right click on it and select stop
- Right click on it again and click start
- Now try opening Nvidia Control Panel again
- Reboot your PC? Just in case you haven’t tried this yet. Also try a full shut down.
- Install the latest Windows Updates
- Unplug or remove any new devices, monitors, or other hardware that you’ve installed recently that could have triggered the app to malfunction
While unfortunately I would not expect support to be super helpful on unique software problems like this, if all else has failed, you could try contacting Nvidia Support through their website. This is not a knock against Nvidia; it’s just that personal experience means you’ll get some friendly customer service response from someone who doesn’t have the time to spend on really niche little problems. They’ll likely suggest reinstalling drivers and other simple things mentioned here already, and if that fails they’ll say you should contact the manufacturer for warranty service.
Another option was posted in one of the support threads on this topic by one of the Nvidia Support Team: “If you are still seeing this issue and would be willing to work with me to collect logs for our driver team to review, please email me at email@example.com. Thank you.”
Further Questions / Clarification?
Any questions please post a comment below! I hope this helps some others!