The latest GeForce driver is causing major issues for some users - here's how to fix them

Nvidia drivers
(Image credit: Nvidia)

The first GeForce driver update of 2021 was released in early January with the promise of fixing problems that had been plaguing many Nvidia GPUs (graphics processing units). 

However, despite noting some open issues at release, the list of software and games affecting by the GeForce 461.09 driver is growing steadily longer, with the update rendering programs completely unusable for some.

From game crashes, graphical stuttering or flickering, and huge drops in frame rates, the GeForce 461.09 game ready driver has been causing a host of issues for Nvidia hardware users. A large chain of complaints has formed on the official feedback thread for the driver, many of which do not appear to have resolutions in place at this time.

Driver updates are never intended to be a fix-all solution, and many patches can cause new problems to occur. We would suggest skipping this update if you're not currently experiencing any issues with your Nvidia GPU, as this driver is one of the rare Nvidia updates that isn't a mandatory install.

This also doesn't mean that the latest driver is broken for everyone, so if you're experiencing the issues listed in the original release notes then you can download the 461.09 update yourself over on the Nvidia site.

New Nvidia GeForce Game Ready Drivers usually come out about once a month, though they can occasionally coincide with the launch of popular new games so that the included updates optimize specific performance. For more information on Nvidia driver updates (and why you shouldn't usually ignore them), head on over to our guide to keeping your GeForce hardware updated.

Nvidia GeForce Driver

A small handful of the issues being documented on the Nvidia Forums (Image credit: Nvidia Forum)

So what can you do?

The full range of problems being recorded on the Nvidia forums for the 461.09 update is too extensive to list here, but if you've found that you're experiencing these issues then don't be alarmed – you can roll back to a previous driver that worked with your PC.

This isn't a guaranteed fix, but rolling back to a previous driver can often solve any issues that an updated one introduced into your PC. Here's how to roll-back your GeForce driver on Windows 10:

  • Type 'Device Manager' into your Windows search bar and click into the software.
  • In Device Manager, expand the Display Adapter category.
  • Right-click on the NVIDIA graphic device and select Properties. Then select the Driver tab.
  • Write down the driver version and date and click the Roll Back Driver button.
  • In the Driver Package rollback window, select any reason and click Yes.
  • Windows will roll back the driver to the earlier version.
  • Once done, open the Driver tab again and check the date and driver version to make sure the rollback process was successful

Manually installing older drivers

In some situations the Roll Back Driver button will be greyed out, usually because your computer can't locate any previously installed drivers to roll back to. If this happens, you will have to manually delete the existing driver and re-install an older version. You may find that rolling back to the previous driver doesn't work right away, but you can usually repeat this process and keep installing older drivers until your system is stable enough to run sufficiently.

Here's how to manually delete and re-install drivers:

  • To uninstall the current version, type Control Panel into the windows search bar and select into it.
  • In Control Panel, select Programs and Features and scroll down until you find the NVIDIA Graphics Driver software, listed as "Nvidia Graphics Driver (version number)".
  • Select the software and click on Uninstall / Change to open the Uninstaller. Follow the on-screen instructions to uninstall the program.
  • Restart your PC to finalize the process.
  • Once you’ve restarted your PC, you can NVIDIA website and download the older driver you want.

No news has been announced yet on when we can expect Nvidia to provide further driver updates to fix the existing open issues caused by the 461.09 update, but Nvidia is actively receiving feedback from the forum to assist with the work required, so with any luck, it won't be too long until we see the issues patched up.

Jess Weatherbed

Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.