When updating NVIDIA VIBs from 430.46 / 431.79 to 440.87 / 443.05 on ESXi 6.7 I ran into an error message and step that was not listed in the VMware documentation - https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2033434

The error message was:

vmkload_mod: Can not remove module nvidia: module symbols in use

The solution I found to bypass the error was to stop the nvidia-init service by running the command:

/etc/init.d/nvidia-init stop

The full process I ran through to update the VIBs on my hosts

Maintenance Mode a host to start rolling through.

Use manual DRS to move VMs or manual migrate if needed. The process is documented here.

Once Maintenance Mode is complete SSH into ESXi CLI on your MM host.

When I was running through this the xorg service was already stopped, but I ran the command anyway to make sure:

/etc/init.d/xorg stop

Stop the nvidia-init service by running the command:

/etc/init.d/nvidia-init stop

Remove the NVIDIA VMkernel driver by running the command:

vmkload_mod -u nvidia

Identify the NVIDIA VIB name by running this command:

esxcli software vib list | grep NVIDIA

Remove the VIB by running the command:

esxcli software vib remove -n nameofNVIDIAVIB

Install the new VIB:

esxcli software vib install -v /path_to_vib/nvidia_vib

Start the nvidia-init service by running the command:

/etc/init.d/nvidia-init start

Confirm driver is updated, running, and seeing the GPUs by running the command:


Output will show driver version and number of cards.

Repeat with the rest of your hosts.

Update your images with new drivers, deploy, test, and you are good to go!