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Getting to know the Nvidia Container ( Why It’s Running in Your PC )

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I recently got NVIDIA’s GeForce, but I was surprised to discover it creates too many processes (Nvidia container) running on my background.

For me, this was simply alarming. So I decided to poke a bit to know what all the processes are for. Getting to know about this processes required some tweaking of processes on my task manager which I will not recommend.

This articles are basically my learnings about the Nvidia container and will be very useful to anyone who will need NVIDIA’s GeForce.

What is the Nvidia container

NVIDIA Container Runtime is a GPU aware container runtime. It is compatible with the Open Containers Initiative (OCI) specification used by Docker, CRI-O, and other popular container technologies.

It simplifies the process of building and deploying containerized GPU-accelerated applications to desktop, cloud or data centers.

In the task manager, once you have  NVIDIA’s GeForce, you will notice a lot of “NVIDIA Container” processes running on your PC. This nvcontainer.exe program contains and runs other NVIDIA processes.

This implies that the NVIDIA Container in itself may not be doing a lot, but runs other NVIDIA tasks that occupy a lot of computer resources.

Microsofts SysInternals Process Explorer software has a process hierarchy that shows many NVIDIA processes launch other NVIDIA processes.

nvidia container

A number of NVIDIA Container processes are linked to background tasks implemented as system services. An example is the four NVIDIA services you see when you open the services application.

these are Nvidia Display Container LS, NVIDIA LocalSystem Container, NVIDIA NetworkService Container, and NVIDIA Telemetry Container.

With the exception of NVIDIA Network Service Container by default, these services are set to run automatically and will always remain running in the background.

Nvidia container

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NVIDIA Display Container LS

Display operations are handled mainly by NVIDIA Display Container LS. Because this service is responsible for displaying icons in the notification area, ending the service means all notifications will vanish.

nvidia container

Telemetry Container

It seems to handle system data gathering. This data gathered is sent to NVIDIA. This data is collected  according to the NVIDIA GeForce Experience privacy policy and usually includes data for

  • GPU specifications
  • Display details
  • Driver settings for specific games
  • List of installed games
  • Amount of available RAM
  • System hardware information (CPU and motherboard)

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ShadowPlay Helper

This process listens for the keyboard shortcut (Alt+Z) that opens up the GeForce Experience overlay. This hotkey can be customized from within the GeForce Experience application.

Ending this process will imply that Alt+Z won’t open the overlay anymore. This process could disappear if you navigate Settings > General in GeForce Experience and toggle off the “In-Game Overlay”.

nvidia container

NVIDIA Share

There seems to be two of this process, they both seem to be part of the GeForce Experience overlay.

Disabling the In-Game Overlay from GeForce Experience cancels these processes from within the system.

On the other hand,  if you end both NVIDIA Share processes and then press Alt+Z, the overlay will reopen. This will mean that the NVIDIA Share processes are now running again.

This makes one believe that the ShadowPlay Helper listens for the keyboard shortcut and passes over to the NVIDIA Share processes. This, in turn, handles the overlay.

Conclusion

One safe way to disable NVIDIA processes is toggling the “In-Game Overlay” off in GeForce Experience. This serves the dual process of getting rid of the NVIDIA ShadowPlay Helper process and the two NVIDIA Share processes.

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