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Windows 8 is installing NVIDIA's bloated driver software packages on start-up.

A number of negative responses to this question have shown misunderstands about the differences between the core drivers and the other software that is bundled with them. The drivers themselves are required for the device to operate, and they have been included with Windows for at least the last two versions.

However, the software that is bundled with the drivers in the driver packages is not required for the operation of the device, and I don't want or use them. These include the system tray utility, automatic updater and Windows service. (I also don't use the 3D Vision driver.) None of these are needed for correct operation of the device, so they are bloatware to me.

Every time I uninstall them, Windows reinstalls the whole lot without my permission the next time the computer starts.

NVIDIA software in Programs and Features

I recall that previous versions of Windows didn't do this; I chose whether and when to install the nVidia software. I believe that previous versions of Windows already included compatible drivers and functioned correctly without the bloatware.

I am using Windows 8 Pro 64-bit. I have an nVidia 8800GT graphics card.

I have already disabled automatic driver installations in the Device Installation Settings dialog. This seemed to be the most logical starting point. However, it didn't seem to make any difference.

Image showing automatic driver installation is disabled

In Windows 7, the nVidia software was delivered as a recommended Windows update. However, in Windows 8, it's now delivered to me as an important update.

nVidia software showing as an important Windows update

Consequently, I changed the Windows Update settings to prevent the automatic installation of important updates to gain control of the installation of the nVidia software. From there, I also hid the update for convenience. Doing this at first appeared to solve the problem.

Windows Update configured to not automatically download or install updates

Unfortunately, after several days I discovered the bloatware was secretly reinstalled again. Preventing its automatic installation through Windows Update only appeared to reduce the frequency of the installations.

How can I prevent Windows 8 from installing this nVidia bloatware?

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3  
NVIDIA Graphics Driver and NVIDIA 3D Vision Driver are the plain graphics card drivers. –  Dennis Feb 11 '13 at 0:53
1  
@Dennis, my understanding is that the graphics card drivers are the .sys and .dll files that Windows uses to abstract the device. This is what I was referring to by "plain drivers". NVIDIA Graphics Driver also includes the control panel applet, system tray utility and other software that are not required for the operation of the device. I've updated the question to clarify this. –  Sam Feb 11 '13 at 3:43
    
You don't leave nVidia Update installed and turned on, do you? –  ta.speot.is Feb 20 '13 at 7:50
    
Also, just be glad you bought NVIDIA and not AMD. At least NVIDIA's driver software is useful and can be unobtrusive (just disable the context menu and system tray icon). Better than AMD Crapalyst Craptrol Manager. –  ta.speot.is Feb 20 '13 at 7:51
    
@ta.speot.is, no; the problem occurs when all three of the NVIDIA software packages shown in the Programs and Features window are not present. –  Sam Feb 21 '13 at 7:47

4 Answers 4

I don't really think of those things as bloatware, and they may be required. If you do not want them to run at startup you can try disabling with msconfig, but be warned if they are required you may boot up to a blank screen.

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I suppose it really depends on the person. From your profile picture and what you've said, it sounds like all of the software is useful to you. To me, however, I just want the graphics card to work with Windows; I have no use for the included software. I don't want any of the software except for the actual device driver files. –  Sam Feb 11 '13 at 3:54
    
Also, it sounds like you're just guessing about the need for the included software. The graphics card works fine with Windows without any nVidia software installed (except for the plain device driver files). –  Sam Feb 11 '13 at 3:56

I use Windows XP SP3 IE7:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DriverSearching]
"DontSearchWindowsUpdate"=dword:00000001
"DontPromptForWindowsUpdate"=dword:00000001
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1  
... HOW is a WinXP-based answer useful to a question that clearly specifies Win8 as part of the problem? –  chronodekar Oct 21 '13 at 10:31

Do note that in order for your nVidia 8800GT Graphics card to actually function, the nVidia drivers NEED to be installed. Especially on a graphic heavy interface that Windows 8 provides. Otherwise there is no reason to have your 8800GT inside the system. The software that is being installed by nVidia is NOT bloatware. I think your definition of bloatware is a bit flawed, as it is NEEDED under the Windows8 Operating system. Unless your motherboard has on-board video you will need the nvidia driver.

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The card works fine without some of the bloatware running. For example, I can close the system tray and automatic updaters and it still works fine. So it isn't true that all of the software is needed. –  Sam Aug 5 at 23:05
    
You can close the system tray, but it still runs in the background. It may not be on your tray, but it is still needed by the system to properly control the graphics card. Its what tells the graphics card what kind of paramiters its to be run under, what settings you would like your colors set to, how you want your videos rendered. (etc.) The automatic updater true isn't needed, however it doesn't effect your system in such a way that it necessarily needs to be removed. Nor takes up enough space to truly be 'bloatware' its used by the control panel to look for updates for you. –  KillerXtreme Aug 5 at 23:15
    
If you don't want to have these things running, then go into MSconfig and disable them. –  KillerXtreme Aug 5 at 23:16
    
To me, bloatware isn't just about permanent storage space consumption. It's also about OS start-up time, memory consumption and CPU utilisation. –  Sam Aug 6 at 0:05
    
Why do you think the system tray utility is needed in the background? Have you tested it and found that it's needed, or did you read this somewhere? –  Sam Aug 6 at 0:06

Just go to Windows Update, look for the Geforce Driver (where currently the driver is marked as important update), disable and hide it.

The concerning update can be found easily, if you search for new updates directly after reinstalling an older driver.

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works for me. love the downvoters not even giving a comment about what is wrong... –  thewhiteambit Oct 1 at 17:32

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