Knowledge Base

Alienware System displays the error message: “Display driver ATIKMDAG.sys stopped responding and has recovered”

System displays the error message: "Display driver ATIKMDAG.sys stopped responding and has recovered"

Applies to:

Alienware Systems

What is happening?

During startup or use of an application, (most commonly a game / video application) the system or application will freeze, crash or exit to the desktop / a blue screen (BSOD). Additionally, an error message appears stating that the "Display driver stopped responding and has recovered" and may reference one of the following driver files:

  • ATIKMDAG.sys
  • ATI2DVAG.sys
  • ATI2CQAG.dll
  • ATIVPK.sys
  • AMD2DVAG.sys
  • AMDKMDAG.sys
  • AMDVPK.sys

The issue occurs when the Timeout Detection and Recovery (TDR) feature available in Windows Vista® and Windows 7 detects that the graphics card (GPU) has not responded within a predetermined period of time and reinitializes it with the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) to prevent the need to reboot. There is no single cause for a TDR event to be triggered.


There are several factors that can cause the TDR event to be triggered. The following troubleshooting steps can help rule out / resolve the cause of the issue:

· If the issue occurs only when using a specific application, it may have known issues or corrupt files

o Contact the application’s manufacturer for further information or for possible software patches

o Perform a clean installation of the application

· Microsoft DirectX® files may be outdated or corrupt

o Reinstall Microsoft DirectX or install the latest version

o Microsoft Article 179113 provides instructions for downloading /installing the latest Microsoft DirectX version

· The motherboard’s BIOS / chipset drivers may be outdated

o Check for available BIOS / chipset driver updates

· The operating system may require a service pack update

o Refer to the following Microsoft pages for instructions on downloading / installing the latest service packs:

§ Windows Vista: Microsoft Article 935791

§ Windows 7: Windows 7 Updates

· The operating system may have corrupt system / registry files

o Try cleaning the operating system’s registry by running a on the Command Prompt the following command: "c:\Windows\System32\Sfc /scannow"

· Perform a clean install of the operating system

§ Note! Performing a clean installation of the operating system will erase all data on the hard drive. Ensure all important data is backed up before performing this action

· The graphics card drivers may have known issues or corrupt files. Uninstall and reinstall the Video Card drivers. You can use the "Driver Sweeper" application to completely remove and residue of the old driver before installing the new one.

· An overclocked processor (CPU), graphics card or memory can cause system instability

o Run all hardware components at their default settings

· An inadequate or defective power supply (PSU) can prevent the processor / graphics card from functioning properly

o Refer to "How to determine if my Alienware’s instability is related to the power supply?" article for instructions on how to determine if the PSU is inadequate or defective

· The CPU and / or GPU may be overheating

o Check the operating temperature of the CPU or GPU through the by using GPU-Z and HWMonitor

o Ensure the temperature does not exceed the maximum operating temperature of the product. Alienware recommend to contact us by email the GPU and CPU temperatures to

o If the hardware is above its maximum operating temperature:

§ Ensure the bottom of the HSF is leveled on the top of the processor

§ Ensure that the fan on the graphics card and processor’s heat sink is connected correctly and that it is spinning when the system is powered on

§ Check whether there are any loose cables stopping the fan(s) from spinning or blocking the air flow within the system case

§ Verify that the airflow within the system case is circulating correctly

§ Air should flow in from the front of the case and out through the back of the case

· Failing Hardware (processor, graphics card, motherboard and / or memory) can cause system instability

o Run a memory test to determine the stability of the memory. For this you can run PSA or ePSA when booting the computer.

o If using multiple memory modules

§ Test each memory module individually in the system, referring to the motherboard’s manual to determine which slot(s) can be used for single memory setup

§ Verify that each module is identified at the correct size and speed

§ Contact the memory and / or motherboard manufacturer for more comprehensive troubleshooting instructions

If you still experience issues after completing these steps please send an e-mail to (for US and Canada customers only), with your service tag, phone number and proper time to reach you and we will be contacting you shortly.

The Alienware Support Team

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Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN133016

Last Date Modified: 08/14/2015 03:09 PM

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