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Installing NVIDIA video drivers on systems with onboard video adapters and no access to changing the video adapter (plug and play doesn't work)


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I am posting this because I have found clues to solving my particular problem on this website.  I have spent 11 months chasing this problem. I'm incredibly lucky that I didn't turn my computer into a brick. I solved this  indirectly by following a trail of unrelated crumbs on the internet. In the process, I have offended many sensitive people.

The solution is stupid.  By that I mean there was a failure of communication between the software engineers and the technical writers. On the Dell Inspiron 580, and I'm sure this applies to other motherboards with the impenetrable AMI BIOS, there is no access to setting the display adapter. The software engineers have protected the users from installing a graphics adapter different from the impaired chip that Intel provides for onboard video.


Make sure that you have correctly installed the card in the PCI-X slot, that you have a 650 Watt or better power supply, and that you have correctly hooked up any power cords that the card may need.

All this having been said and having hurt even more feelings, this is what works:

1. Click the "Start" button.

2. Select the "Computer" entry with the right mouse button to select "Manage"

3. Select "Device Manager" from the "System Tools" list.

4. Expand the "Display adapters" list.

5. Right click on the adapter name

6. Select "disable" and ignore the complaints from the OS.

7. Shutdown the computer.

8. INCREDIBLY, RIDICULOUSLY IMPORTANT: Disconnect the cable from the onboard video connector. If you don't do this, the onboard video will automatically reinstall its device drivers when the system starts up, and you will lose your mind.

8. Unplug the computer power cord and wait 30 seconds.

9. Start up the computer. The first thing you should see is the NVIDIA card's manufacturer's ID. For some cards, this will be a brief flash.

10. DON'T PANIC! You will see a pop-up dialog box displaying messages about drivers being installed. It may take up to 10 minutes for the system to install PCI, PCI Bridge, and other drivers related to the new graphics adapter.

12. Download the latest and greatest NVIDIA installation from nvidia.com and run it.

13. If this solves your problem, donate 10 USD to the Salvation Army or its equivalent in your country.

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