Set up GPU drivers for N-series VMs running Windows Server

To take advantage of the GPU capabilities of Azure N-series VMs running Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2012 R2, install supported NVIDIA graphics drivers. This article provides driver setup steps after you deploy an N-series VM. Driver setup information is also available for Linux VMs.

For basic specs, storage capacities, and disk details, see GPU Windows VM sizes.

Supported operating systems and drivers

NC, NCv2, and ND instances - NVIDIA Tesla drivers

OS Driver
Windows Server 2016 385.54 (.exe)
Windows Server 2012 R2 385.54 (.exe)


Tesla driver download links are current at time of publication. For the latest drivers, visit the NVIDIA website.

NV instances - NVIDIA GRID drivers

OS Driver
Windows Server 2016 GRID 5.2 (386.09) (.exe)
Windows Server 2012 R2 GRID 5.2 (386.09) (.exe)


Microsoft redistributes NVIDIA GRID driver installers for NV VMs. Install only these GRID drivers on Azure NV VMs. These drivers include licensing for GRID Virtual GPU Software in Azure.

Driver installation

  1. Connect by Remote Desktop to each N-series VM.

  2. Download, extract, and install the supported driver for your Windows operating system.

On Azure NV VMs, a restart is required after driver installation. On NC VMs, a restart is not required.

Verify driver installation

You can verify driver installation in Device Manager. The following example shows successful configuration of the Tesla K80 card on an Azure NC VM.

GPU driver properties

To query the GPU device state, run the nvidia-smi command-line utility installed with the driver.

  1. Open a command prompt and change to the C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\NVSMI directory.

  2. Run nvidia-smi. If the driver is installed you will see output similar to the following. Note that GPU-Util shows 0% unless you are currently running a GPU workload on the VM. Your driver version and GPU details may be different from the ones shown.

NVIDIA device status

RDMA network connectivity

RDMA network connectivity can be enabled on RDMA enabled N-series VMs such as NC24r deployed in the same availability set. The HpcVmDrivers extension must be added to install Windows network device drivers that enable RDMA connectivity. To add the VM extension to an RDMA-enabled N-series VM, use Azure PowerShell cmdlets for Azure Resource Manager.

To install the latest version 1.1 HpcVMDrivers extension on an existing RDMA-capable VM named myVM in the West US region:

Set-AzureRmVMExtension -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroup" -Location "westus" -VMName "myVM" -ExtensionName "HpcVmDrivers" -Publisher "Microsoft.HpcCompute" -Type "HpcVmDrivers" -TypeHandlerVersion "1.1"

For more information, see Virtual machine extensions and features for Windows.

The RDMA network supports Message Passing Interface (MPI) traffic for applications running with Microsoft MPI or Intel MPI 5.x.

Next steps