Top 7 Ways to Fix NVIDIA’s ‘Unable to Change Display Mode’ Error on Windows 11

NVIDIA dominates the graphics market so fiercely that people scalp its newly released cards. When you buy a graphics card or a laptop with a discrete GPU, you expect it to run games at the maximum possible settings. But many users face the NVIDIA’s ‘Unable to change display mode’ error when launching any game.

Top 7 Ways to Fix Nvidia “Unable to Change Display Mode” Error on Windows 11

It is a common problem with NVIDIA GPU users, and the reasons for the issue range from problematic GPU drivers, stopped or glitched services, to default GPU settings. We will list all possible solutions to fix NVIDIA’s ‘Unable to change display mode’ error and get your games working again.

1. Terminate and Restart the NVIDIA Control Panel

It is common for apps and their associated processes to encounter glitches and stop working properly. Completely closing the NVIDIA Control Panel application and restarting it can fix the issue. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut to open Task Manager.

Step 2: Click on the search bar, type Nvidia, and press Enter. It will list all the active NVIDIA processes.

end NVIDIA processes in Task Manager

Step 3: Right-click on one such active NVIDIA process and click on the End task option.

end NVIDIA processes in Task Manager

Step 4: Repeat the above step for all NVIDIA processes and terminate them. Close the Task Manager.

Step 5: Press the Windows key, type NVIDIA Control Panel, and press Enter.

Start Menu

Step 6: Launch any game and check if the error pops up.

2. Close Problematic Background Apps

Apps that minimize and continue to run in the background, like Discord, PowerToys, and the ones with an overlay option, can cause the NVIDIA’s ‘Unable to change display mode’ error while launching a game. So, you need to close all these apps using the system tray icons area on the Taskbar.

Step 1: Go to the right side of the Taskbar and click on the upward arrow icon.

Open system tray area

Step 2: Right-click on an active app icon and click on the Exit option.

close active apps minimized to the system tray

Step 3: Repeat this step for all applications you don’t need while playing the game. Don’t close the NVIDIA Control Panel from the system tray.

3. Configure NVIDIA Services

NVIDIA Control Panel needs the NVIDIA Display Container LS Service to work properly. If this service encounters a glitch, you will face issues while launching GPU-bound tasks. So, you must check and restart the service. Here’s how:

Step 1: Press the Windows key to open the Start menu, type services in the search bar, and press Enter.

open services utility

Step 2: In the Services window, locate the ‘NVIDIA Display Container LS’ Service. Right-click on the service and select the Restart option.

Restart NVIDIA service

Step 3: Close the Services utility.

4. Manually Switch to the NVIDIA GPU

The processor offers an inbuilt GPU to handle basic GPU-bound tasks. Modern laptops automatically switch to the discrete NVIDIA or AMD GPU for heavy tasks like games. But if it fails to do so, you will have to manually switch to the discrete NVIDIA GPU. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Go to the system tray icons area on the Taskbar. Right-click on the NVIDIA icon and select the NVIDIA Control Panel option.

system tray icons area

Step 2: NVIDIA Control Panel will launch. Go to the left-hand side menu and click on the Manage 3D Settings option.

Step 3: Go to the Preferred Graphics Processor option and click on the arrow button to expand the drop-down list. Select the ‘High-performance NVIDIA processor’ option.

enabling NVIDIA GPU for all applications

Step 4: Click on the Apply button. Close the NVIDIA Control Panel app.

enabling NVIDIA GPU for all applications

Step 5: All GPU-bound tasks will use the discrete NVIDIA GPU.

5. Perform a Clean Boot

Often, another third-party app can conflict with the NVIDIA Control Panel app and produce the error. To fix the “Unable to change display mode” NVIDIA error notification, you need to narrow down the troublesome application using a clean boot. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Press the Windows key to open the Start menu, type msconfig in the search bar, and press Enter to launch the System Configuration utility.

start menu

Step 2: Switch to the Services tab.

system configuration tool

Step 3: Click on the ‘Hide all Microsoft services’ checkbox. Then, click on the Disable all button.

system configuration tool

Step 4: NLocate the ‘NVIDIA Display Container LS’ service and click on the checkbox to enable it.

Disabling all third-party services in system configuration tool

Step 5: Click on the Startup tab. Now, click on the Open Task Manager button.

system configuration tool

Step 6: Right-click on a program from the list and select the Disable option. This program will not run when you boot Windows the next time.

Disabling startup programs

Step 7: Repeat the same process for all third-party apps and disable them. Close Task Manager.

Step 8: Return to the System Configuration tool window. Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button.

Applying changes for clean boot

Step 9: A pop-up window will open. Click on the Restart button. Windows will boot with essential Microsoft drivers and ‘NVIDIA Display Container LS’ service only.

Resarting system

If you don’t see any error while launching a game, an existing application conflicts with the service. Enable services related to one application and perform a clean boot again. Repeat this process until you identify the culprit program and disable or remove it from your computer.

6. Rollback NVIDIA Drivers

NVIDIA releases new drivers regularly to extend compatibility with new games and applications. But often, the new drivers cause all sorts of errors and game launch issues. If you notice the error after recently updating the NVIDIA driver, roll back to the previous version. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Right-click on the Start button to open the Power User menu. Click on the Device Manager option.

power user menu

Step 2: Expand the Display adapters section and double-click on the NVIDIA GPU to open its Properties.

display adapters in Device Manager

Step 3: Switch to the Driver tab. Then click on the Roll Back Driver option.

Roll back NVIDIA GPU driver in Device Manager

Step 4: Wait for the utility to roll back the GPU drivers. Close Device Manager and restart your system.

7. Update Windows

An outdated version of Windows can act finicky with system components and third-party apps. If you have a habit of disabling or ignoring Windows updates for months, you must download and install the most recent update on your system. Repeat the following steps:

Step 1: Press the Windows key, type Windows Update in the search box, and press Enter.

Start menu

Step 2: Click on the Check for updates option in the right pane. Wait for the utility to search for updates.

check for Windows updates

Step 3: Now, click on the Download and install button. It will take a while to download and install all the available updates. Restart your system to apply the changes.

install Windows updates

Make NVIDIA GPU Usable Again

It is frustrating when you cannot change the display mode in NVIDIA Control Panel while playing games or running graphics-intensive programs. Close all the active background programs because they can interfere with the automatic switching. You can manually force the system to use the NVIDIA GPU for all applications.

Last updated on 15 May, 2023

The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.