This is sort of programming related, at least enough for a first post. Mostly I wanted to give google something to index in case this ends up helping someone else.
I haven't had any issues with NVIDIA drivers for years and then all of a sudden I couldn't install the new ones and was left with the default driver the device manager downloaded. So I could still play games and such with default settings, but couldn't edit SLI settings or anything fancy; I'm honestly not sure if it was even using SLI anymore, probably wasn't.
Anyway I tried literally everything: safe mode, this DDU graphics driver utility that was suggested by multiple sources, taking my KVM switch out of the loop, etc. What finally helped was I tried the really old driver installer from the disc that shipped with my video card and it actually popped up a useful error message that it couldn't access 'C:\Temp\NVidia\'.
Sure enough I couldn't either and ended up having to reset the owner of the folder. After which I tried the latest installer one more time and it worked flawlessly. A couple hours of my life I will never get back all because the installer had some bug with initializing folder permissions and didn't display a useful error message.