NVIDIA does not support officially support nForce2 based motherboard with drivers for Windows Vista. Although this no Vista support decision has disappointed many owners with mobo with nForce2 chipset such as Abit NF7-S, ASUS A7N8X Deluxe, Chaintech Zenith CT-7NJS, EPoX 8RDA+, Leadtek K7NCR18D-Pro, Biostar M7NCG, Albatron KM18G PRO, Gigabyte 7NNXP and MSI K7N2, however, Windows Vista can be installed and ran properly on these nForce 2 motherboard, even without purpose made Vista drivers.

nForce 2

Most NVIDIA nForce 2 drivers for Windows XP can works with Windows Vista with few exception. Actually, once a user installed Windows Vista, it will auto detect and install most drivers needed, including IDE, Ethernet LAN adapter, memory controller, GART AGP Host to PCI Bridge and AGP Bus Filter, although the drivers may not tweak for optimum performance. Here are a few others to make the nForce2 fully compatible with Vista.

For users who use SATA hard disk with onboard Silicon Image Sil3112 Serial ATA chip, the Silicon Image Serial ATA driver version V1.0.0.50 WHQL for WinXP works fine to let Windows Vista recognizes the hard drive. The SATA driver can be downloaded from the mobo’s manufacturer support or download site. As the chip is the same regardless of which motherboard maker, so you can download use the v10050 of SiliconImage 3113 SATA drivers offered by Abit (no longer available) or ASUS.

Note: If you want to install Windows Vista on a SATA hard disk, copy all driver files inside the 2kxp subfolder (for Abit) or all files in the unpacked folder (for ASUS) in the ZIP archive to a floppy disk or USB flash drive, and click on “Load Driver” when prompt to choose which partition to install Vista.

After Windows Vista is installed, it will retrieve and load latest drivers from nForce 2 mobo from Windows Update. The status of Windows Update will return several updates as “Failed”, with Problem Reports and Solutions will show the following:

  • Windows Vista does not support NVIDIA(R) nForce(TM) MCP Audio Processing Unit (Dolby(R) Digital)
  • Windows Vista does not support NVIDIA(R) nForce(TM) Audio Codec Interface
  • Windows Vista does not support NVIDIA nForce PCI System Management

For nForce PCI System Management (SMBus), for some reason Windows Vista will use a default driver, however, the system will become unstable, especially when system goes into standby or hibernate mode, it may unable to come out from that state or restore to the original normal desktop. For workaround to solve this issue, download Windows Vista 32-bit or 64-bit drivers for nForce4 Series AMD. Unpack the executable with WinRAR, and update the SMBus driver by browsing the unpacked archive location in SMBus sub-folder from the Device Manager.

Sound card driver is a bit tricky, as the architecture of the sound producing and mixing in Windows Vista has changed, most notably DirectSound hardware acceleration support has been discontinued, and DirectSound is run in emulation mode on Microsoft software mixer. But it’s still possible to get at least hearing sound and audio through the on-board sound card.

WinXP version of audio driver should works on Vista. Download the WHQL certified Unified Driver (64-bit version) and extract the content of the executable to a folder with WinRAR. Then go to Device Manager and update the audio driver by browsing to AudioDrv sub-folder in the extracted folder. Other audio drivers that possible works with Soundstorm driver x86/x64 for Vista (no longer available) or NVIDIA audio driver for Vista (32-bit or 64-bit download link). Note that the driver should be updated (go to Device Manager, right click on the device and choose Update Driver Software), so all executable should be extracted first with WinRAR.