How To Safely & Easily Update Your Video Card Drivers

Craig Snyder 15-01-2012

In my humble and cautious opinion, there are two things that you should never put automated software in control of when you’re using a Windows system: your drivers and your registry. Now, there are a whole slew of solutions for you if you’d like to go down that route, but if you’re an experienced user then I’d simply not recommend it. It can lead to system instability and some major problems. I’ve experienced it firsthand and it’s not fun.


Hunting for device drivers isn’t such a task anymore, anyway. Most of your Windows drivers will never need to be touched right out of the box. Your video card is in its own sacred territory though. Video card drivers are updated more frequently than, for example, your network card’s drivers. Updating your video card drivers can show a huge performance boost across your system, as well. Keeping these drivers up to date is quite essential if you’re a gamer.

If you’re buying a new Windows PC today, your graphics card will manufactured by one of two companies: NVIDIA or AMD 5 Reasons Why AMD Processors Are Doomed [Opinion] Back in late 1999, I built my first computer. It used an AMD Athlon processor clocked at 500 MHz which was quick enough to play most games at the time, and also a better value... Read More . Having such a limited choice really lends toward making updating the drivers a very painless experience. So painless that both websites happen to have automated resources that will (probably) allow you to make updating your video card drivers as simple as a few clicks.

Finding Your Video Card Card Model

Step one is actually figuring out what we’re looking for. Let’s start by going to your Control Panel and then to Device Manager.
video card drivers

From there, you’d going to want to click on the Display adapters header to expand the tree.
How To Safely & Easily Update Your Video Card Drivers vccards

From here, it should be easy to see what your video card is. As you can see, I have the ATI Radeon HD 3200, ATI being owned by AMD.


Let’s just call this next step a shortcut. Right click on the name of your video card and click Update Driver Software…. It should bring up the following.
update video card driver

The first option, displayed there, is what you want to click to automatically search online for driver updates. If it finds updated, awesome. Go ahead and follow through to install them. If not, you’ll get the following message.
update video card driver

However, in respect to that note about not trusting automated software earlier, we aren’t going to listen to Windows. Windows could be wrong. So, now that we’ve figured out what kind of video card you have, let’s proceed on our quest.


NVIDIAers can simply click this link:


You’ll then see the following near the bottom.
update video card driver

Option 2 is what you’ll want to go for here. I’d recommend using Internet Explorer while running this automated check because it tends to handle ActiveX and browser plugins a little better than most browsers (surprisingly). It may prompt you to install an ActiveX control or bring up a software installation prompt. Go through with it. It’s safe. Afterwards, you’ll either be presented with a screen telling you that you need updated drivers or that your drivers are up to date, or that the automated check failed.

If the automated check failed, I strongly recommend you go back and wade through Option 1, manually selecting your card to update.

AMD Cards

If you’re using an AMD/ATI GPU, you want to go here:


video card drivers

From there, you want to try to Automatically Detect and Install (to the right side). Again, be on Internet Explorer while you do this. Feel safe to install and run any prompts that come up during the process because browser plugins are required to know what card you’re using. If it is successful, you’ll be told your card is up to date or that it needs updated, otherwise it’ll tell you that the scan could not be completed.

In the event that the scan fails, go back and follow their five-step process to pinpoint your exact video card drivers. This is the safest way to go about the update.

One thing I’ll never recommend is that you go about using automated software like SlimDrivers or Driver Magician. Even in the best of faith, these programs don’t know your system as well as you do. In worse cases, these programs are filled with spyware and adware that can really damage your system. Top 8 Internet Fraud and Scams of All Time Here are several common examples of online fraud to help you spot internet scams and avoid falling into traps. Read More
I’d like to recommend that you not just Google updates for your drivers either. Get them directly from the manufacturer as I’ve laid out for you. It’s not smart to trust updates from, you know?


Good luck in refreshing the visuals of your system and if you encounter any issues, shoot me a comment here.

Explore more about: Computer Maintenance, Drivers, Video Card.

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  1. Cornel Onu
    January 7, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks for all your recommendations from this article. I've tried some of them but with no satisfactory result. To get to the point. I'm running Win 7 Ultimate 32-bit. My chip is GeForce Go 6150 (this is my Video Card Model). If I use GeForce Go 6150 driver (recommended) always I get BSOD at start up and infinite start up loop as many others who use this driver. NVIDIA cannot automatically scan my system and give me the right driver for it. Therefore, I'm forced to accept the Standard VGA Graphics Adapter from Microsoft as the minimum choice to be able to start up my Windows. As you recommended, I went to NVIDIA web site and manually I've found a driver GeForce Game Ready Driver ver. 376.33, but I'm not sure at all that with it can get good result. Think I have no other choice to find the right driver for my Display Adapter from other manufacturer compatible with my Video Graphics Card chip GeForce Go, but I'll never use again GeForce Go 6150.

    Any help will be much appreciated,

    Thanks for your time,

    Warmest Regards,


  2. Anonymous
    December 17, 2015 at 2:37 am

    I'd say Driver Talent helped me to update my video card driver. My computer stopped responding while I was playing game. Well, really have no idea what should I do. Then I downloaded Driver Talent and it repaired the problem for me. Now I can play my Dota every day. So glad. :D

  3. Tim Turner
    March 18, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Never again, the last time I updated my Nividia Geforce GTX 670M 3G GDDR5 drivers it took me months of research to resolve the issues it created with Adobe Elements, and it temporarily handicapped my work flow. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Of course it's not the only problem I've faced since purchasing an ASUS Gaming Laptop a year ago or so. No warranty help either so I'm not gambling any more.

    • Craig Snyder
      March 23, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      I can completely agree with you. In the sensitive areas of your system like the registry and your drivers, I would only recommend toying with them if it's absolutely necessary or if it comes through Windows Update. As someone who has become obsessive with tweaking and cleaning my Windows machine, it takes a lot of discipline for me to hold back. It's worth it though, because I know from experience how things can break.

  4. keygen windows 7
    May 11, 2012 at 4:44 am

    You recognize therefore considerably when it comes to this matter, produced me for my part imagine it from so many numerous angles. Its like men and women don't seem to be involved except it is something to do with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs great. At all times maintain it up!

  5. Kwek Zheng Hua
    April 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Hi, could you help me here? I've been trying to update my GPU (Nvidia GeForce 305M, driver version 192.16) but it has always failed. Plus, after failing the installation, my computer seems to not be able to detect my GPU. I have to allow it to refresh in order for my computer (Lenovo U460) to detect my Nvidia GPU and install the 192.16 driver. What can I do to successfully install the new graphics driver?

    • Craig Snyder
      April 20, 2012 at 1:13 am

      In instances like this, I think the best scenario would be to avoid forcing an update of the driver unless it's absolutely necessary.

    • CS
      May 31, 2012 at 1:14 am

      It seems like new drivers won't work with Lenovo U460 under "Switchable Graphics" BIOS setting. I solved this problem by changing it to "Discrete Graphics". Note that you will not be able to toggle between intel and nvidia graphics after this change. The notebook will use nvidia graphics at all time (faster but more power consuming).

  6. Fredyfran
    January 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

    thank you very much I updated my NVIDIA 7300 CARD...
    it help a lot...

  7. Zaza
    January 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I think a best practice is to uninstall the previous drivers before installing the new ones.

  8. Michel
    January 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I followed your instructions for nvidia exaclty. Used IE to go to that page, used option 2, allowed install and then .... nothing. Clicked the link that says Click here if scan did not complete, and it cycles me through install again and then ... nothing.

    I find I often have this kind of trouble when following your advice.

    • Craig Snyder
      January 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      It'd help much if you follow the instructions completely, though:
      "If the automated check failed, I strongly recommend you go back and wade through Option 1, manually selecting your card to update."

      • Michel
        January 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

        Oh, sorry, my bad. Still, when things fail like this, I hesitate to try a manual method. If the developer can't make the front door work, I don't want to try messing with my working system.

        thanks anyway

        • Bizeref
          July 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm

          Wow, such an idiot... "can't make the front door work" and "I don't want to try messing with my working system."

          Yeah, what you speak - you shouldnt even touch it.

  9. HPearce
    January 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I haven't been able to update my nvidia card in over 2 years. Every time I try an actual NVIDIA driver it fails for one reason or the other . The card is apparently tied to the laptop manufacturer and the install won't recognize the installed driver correctly.

    • Craig Snyder
      January 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Try temporarily disabling restricting your drivers to only signed drivers. What I wouldn't do is what was suggested again in these comments, which is uninstall your drivers first. Don't end up with uninstalled drivers that you'll never be able to install again!

  10. Varun Nagwekar
    January 15, 2012 at 9:22 am

    If you have steam installed, there is an option built in, which allows you to check whether you gfx drivers are updated or not. If not, it downloads and install them automatically.  

  11. Karkala Nayak
    January 15, 2012 at 9:15 am

    This tutorial is for Windows....what about other OS, that exist!!

    • Aibek
      January 17, 2012 at 7:17 am

      good point, we''ll look into it.

  12. Tech Enthusiast
    January 15, 2012 at 7:16 am

    You could always research which drivers work best for each game. There are benchmarks. NVIDIA at least mentions which drivers will benefit which game the best when they release new drivers. You just need to look up that stuff on their website.

    In addition, without any proof such as benchmarks, this advice is a little hollow. Why update if you do not know that your performance will actually increase? Good old fashion benchmarks will show you if they benefited or not. The drivers may be the latest and greatest, but for some games, upgrading graphics may actually surprisingly be a downgrade in terms of performance. They tend to put out new drivers to focus on the newest games out at the time, not every game that is out.

    Another tip. Get drivers off of the manufacture's website instead of the NVIDIA/AMD's website. Manufactures are companies that actually made the cards such as EVGA, XFX, Gigabyte, Zotac, BFG, etc. NVIDIA/AMD do not actually manufacture videocards anymore. They create the technology and then license it out for the manufactures to use. I think they still create the graphics processing unit, but they don't do anything more than that. The manufactures (EVGA, XFX, etc) can make the card different than the reference boards than the chip designers (NVIDIA/AMD) created. The manufactures (EVGA, XFX, etc) test the drivers and recommend which ones the users should use.

    I would not say your advice was bad, but I would say what I wrote was best practices. I hope my wording didn't come off as harsh. I appreciate your article. 

  13. Robby
    January 15, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Messed up 32-bit W7 aero and display settings, but easily corrected it.

  14. Karkala Nayak
    January 15, 2012 at 3:34 am

    These '' How To '' Tips are great Thanks.....