There never seemed to be a specific reason for it -- I'd just be surfing the internet, reading the news, and I'd get the identical crash and error message several times in a 30 minute span, regardless of website, not watching videos or playing games. It even happened when I was simply working in Excel or Word.
When it first happened I tried "rolling back" to the previous driver version via Device Manager, but it didn't help. At the time I gave up and decided to live with it... until a couple days ago.
Here's how I fixed this issue, on a Windows 7 32-bit desktop with a Nvidia 7650GS graphics card:
- Downloaded latest driver for my graphics card (which still happened to be 266.58) from the Nvidia website.
- Used "add/remove programs" in the Control Panel to uninstall Nvidia driver. Do not use the "roll back" feature in device manager.
- Restart computer.
- Used ccleaner (free software) to clean up the registry (this step might have been superfluous but I did it, anyway).
- Installed newly downloaded Nvidia driver from (1).
- Restarted computer.
To date (knock on wood) following the above steps has completely stopped my monitor from crashing.
UPDATE: Ugh. Looks like the above "fix" wasn't successful. The same error message started reappearing a week or so ago. It does seem to occur less frequently than before, but perhaps it's only a matter of time.
UPDATE 2: I think I've finally found the root cause of my video troubles. More information in this post.