PhysX System Software

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PhysX System Software (PhysX Drivers, PSS) is a installer package, that contains firmware, software and PhysX SDK libraries components, and is required for installation on end-user's or developer's PC to allow PhysX SDK based applications to work properly.

PhysX System Software was firstly introduced by Ageia to provide appropriate driver support for Ageia PhysX PPU cards, but soon became a nightmare for regular users, that wanted to play CPU PhysX games, due to ongoing bugs and installation problems.


Important note.

You'll need to install PhysX System Software even if you don't have NVIDIA GPU or Ageia PPU. It is still required by games, that use software PhysX only.

PhysX System Software installation requirement now deprecated in PhysX SDK 2.8.4 and above.

However, most games released prior to 2011 (and newer games with GPU PhysX support) are still relaying on PhysX Drivers, and will ask you to install System Software package.


Operating principle

The Standart Model refers to a situation, when Core DLLs of PhysX engine are stored in PSS directories, thus installation of the System Software is required for an application, using this model.

PSS Standart Model

The PhysX Loader, located in apps’s directory, loads corresponding core DLLs of th PhysX engine from PSS installation folder. GPU acceleration DLLs (PhysX and CUDA Device Managers) are acquired from PSS distribution, if required. Supplementary libraries (like Character Controller DLL), in comparison, can be stored in a local folder.

In Driverless Model, installation of the PhysX System Software is not a mandatory for an application to work properly, since all necessary DLLs are stored in app's local folder.

PSS Standart Model

However, if application utilizes GPU acceleration, it still may require updates to support new GPU architectures and recieve GPU solvers optimizations. In this case, special PhysX Update Loader can loads the new DLLs, provided by PSS installation, instead of the ones located in the games directory.

Some additional information on PSS operating principle can be found in following article.

PSS versions

During its lifespan, PhysX System Software has passed many versions. Most noteworthy of them are:


Important note.

For PSS versions 9.12.0807 and above one may require to install a special legacy driver to play games, based on old PhysX SDKs (2.7.0 and below).

Currently, PhysX System Software is included into NVIDIA GeForce/ION GPU Drivers


Important note.

If you'll suddently run into something called PhysX Game Intaller - do not install it. This experimental package may break you current PSS installation.

Common problems

PhysX System software is infamous for its installation problems.

Problem: Games are not recognizing installed PSS and displaying messages like:

  • "PhysX SDK not initialized"
  • "Failed to initialize NVIDIA PhysX"
  • "No PhysX installation found"
  • "PhysXloader.dll is missing from your computer"

Possible solution: Clear your current PhysX Driver installation with Driver Sweeper. Install latest PhysX System Software version or, if it won't help, the one provided with the game.

It is not recommended to install multiple PSS versions one above another (espicially from different time periods), trying to fix such problem - there is a chance that you can mess it up completely (by breaking certain registry values and certain system files).

Problem: PhysX System Software has encountered problems during installation, like missing buttons, blank screen with word "Text" on it and other error messages.

PhysX Error
One of PhysX installation errors. Mostly happens on non-english versions of Windows.

Possible solution: run PhysX Drivers installer with "/quiet" key - create a shortcut and add /quiet at the end of "Target" field, after inverted commas, if they are present.

PhysX quiet mode
Proper shortcut for PhysX Installer in Windows 7

This will force driver to install in silent mode, without interaction with user, and in most cases will help to overcome the problems.

How to check which PSS version is installed

If you need to verify PhysX System Software installation, open NVIDIA Control Panel > Help > System Information > Components tab

PSS Version

See also

External links

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