Update, 3/14/2023: Nvidia has now released an official WHQL driver, version 531.29, that contains the hotfix updates as well as addressing one or two other items. You can find the full 531.29 release notes if you want, but there's not much to add. Our original report on the hotfix release follows.
Nvidia has released GeForce Hotfix driver version 531.26. This hotfix is delivered to remedy a widely reported driver bug, which was an unwelcome guest within the latest WHQL certified download. The bug introduced an Nvidia software component which continued to hog 10-15% of your CPU time, even after you quit a game.
Earlier this week we reported that some, but not all, Nvidia GeForce driver version 531.18 users were suffering from overly high CPU usage. Double digit CPU utilization figures were being observed with the latest game-ready driver. It wasn’t clear why this problem occurred, and the fact that some expert users couldn’t reproduce the bug wasn’t helpful for understanding the cause. We asked Nvidia about it, and were told the problem typically occurred after a dozen or more game launches.
The GeForce Display Container Service has now been pinpointed by Nvidia as the source of the CPU utilization bug, but we already knew that, as it could be observed in Windows Task Manager. Nevertheless, we must be thankful that Nvidia has provided a hotfix driver so quickly.
Game Ready Driver version 531.18 was probably quite a popular release, as it is notable for adding RTX Video Super Resolution support, as well as optimizations for Atomic Heart DLSS 3, and The Finals closed beta. It also fixed some bugs, but somehow introduced an irksome CPU utilization issue.
Sean Pelletier, Senior Product Manager for GeForce Game Ready Drivers, Tweeted earlier today about the hotfix being ready. In a follow-up post he reminded potential users that hotfix drivers “have not gone through the full Game Ready testing process and are not WHQL-certified”.
There’s a bonus for some GeForce GPU packing laptop owners in the GeForce Hotfix Driver version 531.26 that is also worth highlighting. The issue where a “random bugcheck may be observed on certain laptops with GeForce GTX 10/MX250/350 series GPUs,” has also been fixed today.
If your CPU has been taxed unnecessarily by the 531.18 bug, then you can grab the new hotfix 531.26 driver from the link in this short Nvidia support post. If you are wondering what the fuss is about, perhaps it is best to wait for the next WHQL game ready driver release.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.