CUDA on WinXP notebooks

CUDA v1.1 requires an 8-series GPU or newer and an NVIDIA driver at version 169 or newer.

Most notebooks are still shipping with drivers older than 169 and are not officially supported on anything other than what you get from your vendor’s support site. Trying a newer driver that’s meant for standard non-mobile cards on notebooks just requires a little effort. This shouldn’t be too tough for those of you doing software development.

The standard WindowsXP drivers for graphics cards (such as this one 169.21) http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_169.21_whql.html specifically do not have support for mobile graphics devices in notebooks, more specifically they will fail to install with a message:
“The NVIDIA Setup program could not locate any drivers that are compatible with your current hardware.”

All of the driver installation files will be extracted in location such as C:\NVIDIA\Win2k\169.21\lang
The file nv4_disp.inf can be replaced or updated to include notebook gpus. Here’s one that’s others seemed to have used succesfully - it is an overly simplified inf example (remove .txt from file name) with only the cuda-capable mobile gpus

Then run the setup.exe program in that same directory.

Now install the CUDA v1.1 toolkit and sdk.

It’s important to remember that this is going with an unsupported driver on your notebook - one not approved by your notebook vendor so you may not get access to certain features or special buttons on your notebook. But for now it’s the way to get CUDA and to get on a newer driver.
Notebook vendors will be moving to newer driver versions that will pick up the CUDA dll support.