Windows Vista's display driver system allows drivers to crash and recover without blue-screening. Is there any way to manually force this process? I'd like to restart my display driver without rebooting.

The reason for my question is my machine's tendency to refuse to use native display resolutions after some amount of uptime and sleep cycles. When this happens, the resolution on my monitors is reduced to 800x600, and resets itself every time I try to raise the resolution back to the native settings. The only workaround I've found so far is rebooting (no updated display drivers are available for my integrated Intel graphics card).

  • 1
    So it sounds like what you really want is to just reinitialize the display driver? Or are you specifically looking for a crash? – Flimzy Jun 23 '11 at 4:30
  • Anything that will work, really. There was a related question (superuser.com/questions/115232/…) for which the accepted answer did not seem to be adequate, so I was wondering if there was another approach one could take. – kpozin Jun 23 '11 at 4:40
  • The first paragraph made me laugh because this is the first time I've ever heard of someone wanting Windows to crash more. – Randolf Richardson Jun 23 '11 at 4:59

Go to the device manager. Disable your graphics card and then re-enable it. This will force the device driver to restart.

  • Alas, this is Windows Vista, so when I disable the driver in the Device Manager, nine times out of 10 it fails to load when I try to reenable it, and I'm forced to use the generic fallback driver until I reboot. – kpozin Aug 13 '11 at 5:03
  • Strange, but ok. – surfasb Aug 13 '11 at 20:30

To restart the driver: Ctrl+Shift+Win+B

To simulate a detected hang and cause Windows to recover the device, force a TDR (Timeout Detection and Recovery) using this tool which comes with the "Graphics Tools" optional Windows feature (details here https://stackoverflow.com/a/35617090/1373514):

DXCap.exe -forcetdr

This is the mechanism behind the "Windows Vista's display driver system allows drivers to crash and recover without blue-screening." you refer to, but for your actual need the keyboard shortcut is more convenient and appropriate.

  • Thankfully, I no longer own the Vista machine that required this workaround. Alas, I also no longer have a way to test this. – kpozin Jul 11 '19 at 0:30

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