What is the least disruptive way to downgrade graphics drivers?

I have been very excited to play “Starfield” but there seems to be some prohibitive bug on the nvidia 535 driver branch. Reportedly, it works fine on 530. (Side note: I assumed 530 is older but, confusingly, nvidia calls it the “new feature branch”… so maybe I can expect that fixes appearing in that branch would eventually appear in 535? who knows.)

Anyway, I’m not all that enthusiastic about trying to switch the nvidia drivers, and I may well just wait for everything to shake out (at first it was sounding like it would be a slog, but at this point I think there’s a good chance it’ll be resolved by the time the next driver update happens). However, I thought I’d get a community opinion on how easy or problematic swapping out the driver is likely to be.

My assumption is, that to do this I should

  • Remove current drivers with mhwd -r
  • (without rebooting so I can still do it from graphical?) Run nvidia’s install script included with their drivers found here.
  • Reboot. At this point I’d assume it’s supposed to work.
  • To revert to 535, I assume at this point I can just use mhwd -i and it will overwrite the 530 drivers I would have installed.

Does this all seem about right? Should I expect additional nasty “gotchas” or maybe this isn’t as big a deal as I’m anticipating?

It is explicitly stated in the NVIDIA archwiki article that you shouldn’t do that:

Warning: Avoid installing the NVIDIA driver through the package provided from the NVIDIA website

You might have a better chance with nvidia-525xx from AUR, but it’s still risky.
Do a full system backup before you try anything.

Come to think of it, I suppose the main reason I don’t want to attempt this is because I don’t want to uninstall every library that has a dependency on the driver package.

Oh well, guess I’ll just have to be patient and wait a while for this one. A library of 100’s of games and currently exactly 1 in my “borked” list, seems reasonable to think I’ll get it working on latest everything before too long.

Does mhwd do anything that would prevent nvidia-525xx from AUR from working? It knows it conflicts with nvidia, so presumably I’d have to remove mhwd-nvidia. Since I don’t have nouveau installed, I’d think at this point I could just install nvidia-525xx, but I’m worried about what would happen when I put it back.

Maybe I’ll just run some experiments on a spare machine…

You can somehow safely test it. It’s only the display driver, so the worst that could happen is, that you might have to login via TTY and fix your problem there.