NVRM: RmInitAdapter failed!

The last couple of days I was having trouble with my GTX 980M NVIDIA (Optimus) integrated graphics card (with neon / ubuntu). The driver nvidia would load, but refuse to work. NVIDIA settings would let me switch the graphics card, but nothing happened. dmesg / journalctl contained the following lines:

kernel: NVRM: GPU 0000:01:00.0: Failed to copy vbios to system memory.
kernel: NVRM: GPU 0000:01:00.0: RmInitAdapter failed! (0x30:0xffff:663)
kernel: NVRM: GPU 0000:01:00.0: rm_init_adapter failed, device minor number 0

After installing various (known to work previously) distributions, killing my bootloader in the process (yeah, thanks UEFI) I got desperate and installed Windows 10. The card showed up with a yellow exclamation mark in the device manager, stating the card couldn’t be used because it failed starting up with „Error 43“.

Some googling suggested to try the card in another motherboard, but I was afraid that would have been a bit much for an integrated graphics card. After some more googling, I tried to use „nvflash64“ – first with the wrong bios (fortunately, nvflash refused to flash the wrong image and yielded the ID I needed to search for the right one). I found the vbios file at techpowerup. Flashed the right file and… The exclamation mark was gone! Subsequently, when I restored my linux partition (an adventure of its own, due to my stupidity), NVIDIA Settings is working again! Yay!

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