The quest for Upgrade - Part 5

Appendix - Nvidia Driver Mod
Modify the Nvidia Driver
As I described in Part 3 when I tested the card on Windows it refused to work.
This behaviour can happen on a lot of cards that are out of the common markets or brands. I'll describe step by step how to make the Nvidia driver to recognize your card and shut up Windows.


This operation is pain-free and harmless however since you are going to put Windows in debug mode it will not perform any signature check on the drivers you are going to install (it will prompt, however, that you installing a new driver as usual). If a virus or a malicious program take control in the middle this is will result in a great disaster.

I strongly suggest to put the computer completely offline meanwhile and reboot to start Windows normally after this procedure.

This operation works for a lot cards and not just mobile ones, you may use it if for some reason the driver installer still give you the "No compatible products" error.

Step 1 - Obtain the driver
This task is easy: just go to the Nvidia Driver page and download the proper driver for your card.
Beta driver works very well.
In this guide I'll repeat the process for version 327.23 Notebook WHQL.
Note that some files changed after version 320 so if you want to apply this procedure for an older driver I've split the instruction based on the driver version. Follow just one of these instructions.

Once you downloaded the driver you have two options:

  1. Run the install and wait for it to fail (if it doesn't fail why would you need this guide?).
  2. Extract the files from the installer.

It does not matter wether you run the install or extracted the files. If you want to opt the second method you may use the wonderful and free 7zip Manger or any other zip manager.

Step 2 - Lookup the card identifier
Now we need to find the Harwdare Identifier and the SubSys Identifier of the card.

Open the Control Panel then go to System and Maintenance, click on Device Manager and lookup your card.
Refer to my screenshots.

Step by step how to find the hardware id of your graphic card.

I have the Italian language on my system, follow this instructions.

  1. "Gestione Dispositivi" is Device Manager, click here.
  2. Look for your card. It will not be listed under the "Graphic Cards" section since it is still unkown to the system. Look for it on the top of this list (where the unknown devices are usually listed).
  3. Open the "Details" tab
  4. Choose "Hardware ID" from the list
  5. Copy the second string from agove in a text file, or just in the notepad (right click, "copy").

We are insterested in the second string:
PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A7&SUBSYS_101010DE
More specifically only on 11A7 and 101010DE. I will refer this values as Hardware ID and SubSys ID.

Step 3.A - Edit the table information
If you run the installer the files are located in:
C:\NVIDIA\DisplayDriver\<version>\<os>\<language>\
* Replace <version> with the actual version of the installer, <os> with your OS type and <language> with your language. For example:
C:\NVIDIA\DisplayDriver\314.22\Win8_WinVista_Win7_64/International\

If, instead, you extracted those file somewhere go in that location. Example:
D:\Downloads\327.23-notebook-win8-win7-64bit-international-whql\
I will refer to those folder as the installation folder or inst\. The right directory is the one which contain the file Setup.exe and the other files and directory.

Go to the installation folder
If your version is before 320.00 open these files:

  • inst\DisplayDriver\ListDriver.txt
  • inst\DisplayDriver\nvcvn.inf*

If your version from 320.00 open these files:

  • inst\ListDriver.txt
  • inst\DisplayDriver\nvcvn.inf*

* this is the information file of MSi cards (if I'm not wrong), you can pick any other files which name begin nv and it's 5 character long. These files contains all the hardware identifier from the various vendors (MSi, Asus, Gigabyte, etc). If you are unsure open the file I listed above.

Step 3.B - nvcvn.inf file (or simliar)
Look for a string that contain your same Hardware ID (mine is 11A7) or the most similar to yours, then copy that row just below.
How to add the hardward id in the nvcvn.inf file

Look at this example:
%NVIDIA_DEV.11A7.7102.1558% = Section073, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A7&SUBSYS_71021558
If you could not find a row with your same Hardware Id then pick a random one, possibily the closest to your value (in Hexadecimal base).
The two numbers after the Hardware Id are the Card Id, copy them but add 1 (or any other number) to Card Id value of the previous row and check there is not the same pair of Hardware Id and Card Id in this file (and later in ListDrivers.txt).
%NVIDIA_DEV.11A7.7102.1559% = Section073, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A7&SUBSYS_71021558
Now replace the last part of the string with the one you picked from the control panel (usually this means only to change the SubSys Id, at the end of the string). The string will result like this:
%NVIDIA_DEV.11A7.7102.1559% = Section073, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_11A7&SUBSYS_101010DE
This final string is the one you have to add in the nvcvn.inf file.

Only if you have a driver from version 320:
Scroll until the [string] section and look for a line with the pair Hardware Id and Card Id you found before (not the one you just created).
Copy this row just below and edit the new line using with your Hardware Id and Card Id, you can add a custom name.

Add the name of the card on nvcvn.inf file with driver after version 320

The original:
NVIDIA_DEV.11A7.7102.1558 = "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX "
will become:
NVIDIA_DEV.11A7.7102.1559 = "Arcades GeFord GTX 675MX "

Remember the Hardware Id, Card Id and SubSys Id of both lines (found and create ones) and pick ListDevices.txt

Step 3.C - ListDevices.txt
Follow just one of these instructions
If you have a driver before version 320:
Look up for the Harware Id and Card Id you found before (not the one you added) and add another line with the Card Id you created. You can add a custom name.
How to add your hardward and card id to ListDevices.txt

If you have a driver from version 320:
Same of above: look up for the pair Hardware Id and Card Id and below add your line. No need to add the custom name, it's in file nvcvn.inf.
How to add your hardward and card id to ListDevices.txt from driver version 320.00

Step 4 - Reboot without the Driver Signature Enforcement
Reboot your computer but this time, just before Windows boot, enter in it's boot menu.
Now a problem: the monkeys behind Windows changed the hotkey to enter the boot from it's historical F8 to the Enter key.
This means you have to press the Enter key just before the Windows logo appear.
The time window in which you can press Enter is tiny but if you continuously press Enter you'll end to enter the boot menu and choose the default option. Which is to boot windows normally.

You are going to try several times.

When you are in the boot menu choose Advanced Options and then Disable Driver Signature Enforcement then start Windows.
 stop Windows to bother you.

Step 5 - Install the driver
After you boot Windows disabling the Signature Enforement go to the Nvidia installation folder and run Setup.exe.
If you have done everything right the installer will properly find your card and proceed the installation.
Windows will prompt that you are installing a driver with no signature. Send it to hell and proceed.

The Windows error message when installing a driver with no signature.

Congratulation. You succesfully installed and modified the Nvidia driver.

Test your card but remember to reboot Windows to re-enable the Driver Signature Enforcement.

English

2 comments

Hello Arcantis, greetings to Italy,

nice article about upgrade. I think am going to be insipred by you:) I am onwer of MSI GT660 - 475CS. Becasue the Call of Duty: Ghost requires 6GB memory, I need to upgrade. Currently, my laptop has 2x2GB Elixir memory, thus I thougth to install another 2GB RAM module to third slot, however on MSI site stays:
Intel® Core™ i5 Processor supports max 2 SO-DIMMs (4GB x 2 slots)...pitty, this means I need to buy 2x4GB set. Do you have any experience with 3xRAM modules with core i5 460m installed?
You mentioned that core i7 QM720 was not a good choice for games, was this due to the low basic frequency of this Cpu (only 1,6ghz compare to ours 460M with 2,53hgz?). There are load of good offers on ebay...
Which CPU would you recommend then?

thanks
Roman

Hello Roman,
first of all thank you: you made the first real comment ^_^. Others are spambot or similar.
No, I didn't tested the third slot because it's located on the other side of the motherboard. This means to install the third RAM module you must disassemble the whole laptop. Not exactly a nice choice of design but I understand: the space is very limited and they put everything at disposition in the main area already.

I actually have 2x4GB Kingston as I wrote in the article. I suggest you to buy two 4gb modules because of the limitation of the processor you mention.
That i7 have a very low frequency but an incredible Turbo boost, that's why I tried to use it and overclocking it. Overclock is not possible normally because of the locked multiplier of that processor and while the Turbo Boost really helps in classical single-processor programs, it's not great for games since they really use multiple cores. in my example Guild Wars 2 in theory is improved due to multiple cores but the performance gain is erased by the low frequency. A quad processor of at least 2.3Ghz or even more would really improve performance.
Unfortunately we are stuck with the PM56 Intel controller which means we can only use first generation of i5 and i7 processor. This means we have only two options:
An i7-940XM which is a quad core and it's overclockable freely.
Or an i7-640M which is a dual core but with higher frequencies.

Both are expensive and does not really give a performance boost worth of their costs.

In my opinion for most of games a dual core is better then a quad core but this fact is changing. Guild Wars 2 engine really improve with a quad core while Call of Duty's engine, as fas as I know, don't.

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