While Nvidia is recognized as the most valuable brand in its line, there are instances when users encounter compatibility issues with Nvidia cards and drivers. These issues can arise due to the presence of various other factors.
Once such an issue appears with an error message, “Nvidia graphics driver is not compatible with this version of Windows.” This error typically appears when you have accidentally installed the wrong graphics driver or the current driver is outdated.
In this post, we are looking into the causes and solutions to the incompatible Nvidia graphics driver with the current version of the Windows issue.
When does the “graphics driver is not compatible with this version of Windows” issue appears?
Nvidia driver incompatibility with Windows occurs when you are installing a 32-bit Nvidia graphics driver on a 64-bit operating system and vice versa because of the difference in architecture.
The notice “graphics driver is not compatible with this version of Windows” indicates that the GPU driver does not match the operating system’s architecture for flawless communication between the two parties.
Another possible reason can be the build version of your Windows. Nvidia graphics drivers are incompatible with Windows versions before the Threshold 2 version 1511.
Only 1511 (Threshold 2 version), 1607 (Anniversary version), and 1703 (Fall Creators version) were supported. However, any builds following the 10586 version are compatible with Nvidia drivers.
If your Windows version falls behind 1511, you will have to update your Windows.
To update your Windows version, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for updates.
How can the “NVIDIA graphics driver is not compatible with this version of Windows” issue be fixed?
There are multiple solutions to this problem. Prior to executing any of the solutions, it is essential to determine the Windows architecture and build version of your operating system.
Once you have this information, you can verify if the current Nvidia driver version is compatible with your operating system.
1. Find Windows architecture and build version
Step 1: Check your OS architecture version
You can use the DirectX Diagnostic utility to find the operating system’s architecture type.
Follow these steps:
- Press Windows + R to open the RUN dialog box.
- Then type “dxdiag” and press enter.
- The DirectX Diagnostic window will appear.
- Ensure you are on the system tab, which should display your Operating System‘s architecture version.
Take note of the system bit version to install a compatible Nvidia graphics driver on your system.
Step 2: Check your Windows build version
Verifying the Windows build version is also important to ensure your Windows support Nvidia drivers, as mentioned above. Finding the build version is similer to finding the Windows architecture type.
Simply locate the build version next to the operating system information.
Alternatively, you can use “winver” to find the OS build version.
- Open Windows + R to open the RUN dialog box.
- Type winver and press enter.
- The “About Windows” will pop up, and look for the Windows build version there.
2. Download & Install a compatible Nvidia driver
Once you have determined whether your system is 64-bit or 32-bit, proceed to download the compatible Nvidia driver and install it.
- First, head over to this Nvidia driver download page: https://www.nvidia.com/download/index.aspx.
- Use the form to select your product series and Nvidia GPU.
- It’s important to select the correct operating system. (select your OS based on the system architecture type)
- Click on search to find the driver.
- Download the driver and install it on your PC. (before installing the new driver, it’s better to uninstall the previous Nvidia installation)
- Restart your PC and check if that resolves the “Nvidia graphics driver is not compatible with this version of Windows” notice.
Sometimes, you might not find the option to select a 32bit operating system; in that case, try this search syntax on Google: [graphics card name] driver for Windows 32 bit
If you are able to find a 32-bit Nvidia driver for your GPU, try to install it and restart your system.
3. Perform a clean installation using Nvidia Geforce Experience
If your Nvidia driver is outdated, installing the latest one from scratch can fix the graphics driver compatibility. You need to perform a clean installation so the previous installation does not leave anything behind that can trigger the issue.
Once you have opened the Geforce Experience app dashboard,
- Click on Drivers just beside the Home on the navigation bar.
- Click on ‘check for update‘ if that shows up.
- If any latest driver is unavailable on your system, it will show up with an option to download it.
- Once the download is complete, select custom installation.
- Geforce will take some moments to prepare the installation, and once it’s ready to install, you will be asked to select the components.
- There will be another option called ‘perform a clean installation‘ that needs to be checked, and click on install.
- GeForce Experience will uninstall the previous Nvidia driver and clean up, then fresh install the latest one.
- Once the entire process is complete, check if you are still getting the graphics driver is not compatible with this version of Windows notice.
If you are still encountering the error, you will need to update your Windows.
4. Update your Windows
If your Windows is missing an update, you may encounter the “NVIDIA driver not compatible with this version of Windows” notice or trigger unresponsiveness behavior.
In that case, updating your Windows should help.
- Press the Win + I keys to open Windows Settings and choose Update & Security.
- Next, select Windows Update and click on Check for updates on the right panel.
- If there’s an update available, Windows will find it and start downloading automatically.
- In case the download has not started, start it manually.
- Typically, it’s essential to download all the available updates.
- Be patient when your Windows updates because it might take a couple of reboots.
Once the update is complete, check if you are still getting the ‘graphics driver is incompatible’ error message.
5. Download Studio Driver
In some cases, downloading the Nvidia studio driver can fix this error.
The studio driver is a more comprehensive driver that includes features that are not necessary for everyday use but can be helpful for professional users.
To download the studio driver,
- Go to the Nvidia website and select your graphics card.
- Select the correct operating system type.
- Change download type to Studio driver.
- Click on search and download the driver.
- Run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions.
- Restart your computer.
Once you have installed the studio driver, the error should be resolved. Check if you are still getting the “Nvidia Graphics Driver is Not Compatible With This Version of Windows” error.
If it has not been solved, you can try to rollback your Nvidia driver and the Windows, in case you have recently installed a Windows Update.
6. Rollback your Windows/Nvidia Driver
When you encounter this error after a particular Windows update or Nvidia driver update, you might need to downgrade it.
There are two ways to downgrade Windows 10/11:
Within 10 days of upgrading: If you upgraded to Windows 10/11 within the last 10 days, you can downgrade to your previous version of Windows by following these steps:
- Open Settings.
- Click on System.
- Click on Recovery.
- Under Go back to the previous version of Windows, click on Get Started.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to downgrade to your previous version of Windows.
After 10 days of upgrading: If you upgraded to Windows 10/11 more than 10 days ago, you will need to perform a clean install of your previous version of Windows.
To do this, you will need to create a bootable USB drive or DVD containing the installation media for your previous version of Windows.
You can download the installation media from the Microsoft website. Once you have created the bootable media, you can follow these steps to perform a clean install of your previous version of Windows:
- Boot your computer from the bootable media.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to install your previous version of Windows.
If you cleanly install your previous version of Windows, you will lose all of your data and installed applications. It is essential to back up your data before performing a clean install.
When you have to rollback the Nvidia driver:
Use the Device Manager:
- Open the Device Manager.
- Expand the “Display adapters” category.
- Right-click your Nvidia graphics card and select “Properties.”
- Click the “Driver” tab.
- Click the “Roll Back Driver” button.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
After the rollback of your Windows or Nvidia driver, you can test if that step fixed the graphics driver is not compatible with this version of Windows issue.
Still encountering the graphics driver is incompatible issue? Make sure you are following the steps carefully. In addition, contact Nvidia support and your PC manufacturer for further assistance.