To accompany the launch of its mainstream GeForce 8-series derivatives, Nvidia has released a brand new version of its ForceWare graphics drivers. This 158.18 release is available for both Windows Vista x86 and Windows Vista x64. However, it's still a beta, and its installation procedure is a little peculiar. Whereas Vista is supposed to allow users to upgrade graphics drivers without rebooting, installing this latest release actually involves two reboots. Nvidia's installer removes the old drivers, asks the user to reboot, then re-loads itself loads at the next bootup (which, incidentally, is at a resolution of 800x600), installs the new drivers, and asks the user to reboot yet again.
That little ordeal aside, the drivers add support for Nvidia's latest cards, restore vertical sync control for DirectX apps, and introduce a brand new control panel that does away with the task-based approach and more or less restores the previous control panel design. However, even this latest control panel still doesn't have all the features of its Windows XP predecessor. As Nvidia's release notes (PDF) detail, features like the nView desktop manager, TV adjustments, and full-featured HDMI support are once again missing.
Nvidia may be slow to re-introduce features, but the firm has nonetheless fixed a good number of bugs with this latest ForceWare release. Problems in a host of games including Dark Messiah of Might & Magic, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Half-Life 2, Oblivion, Serious Sam 2, and Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War have been fixed, as have a number of miscellaneous issues pertaining to various desktop applications, including Nvidia's own control panel. As always, a complete list of fixes is available in Nvidia's release notes for the drivers. (Thanks to TR reader StefanVonS for the heads-up.)
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