Do You Have to Uninstall Old Graphics Drivers?


Do You Have to Uninstall Old Graphics Drivers

If you are swapping your graphics card for a new model, you need the right software to support your new GPU. The programs that control how your graphics cards work with other system components, like the monitor and software, are called graphics drivers. Graphics drivers optimize GPU performance and improve visual quality.

Ensure to uninstall old graphics drivers before installing new ones. Although you might get away with skipping this step, failing to uninstall the old drivers can affect the performance of your new graphics card. When up-to-date, the proper graphics drivers allow you to explore your GPU’s full performance.

What Is a GPU Driver?

For your computer operating system to recognize and use any PC hardware, it needs to access the equipment’s inherent drivers. Graphics drivers act as mediators between the computer and GPU.

Lacking the right graphics software for your computer may cause various issues. They include:

  • Frame drops
  • Screen flickering
  • Screen stuttering
  • Visual artifacts on your monitor

If you already have installed a new GPU and are still experiencing some of the issues above, then your computer likely has outdated drivers.

Troubleshooting Graphics Card Errors

Below are some tips for locating the primary cause of errors on your new graphics card:

Install the Latest Driver Updates

If you are experiencing some of the display issues aforementioned, like screen stuttering, first check if you have installed the latest graphics drivers.

Do you own an NVIDIA GPU? If yes, download the NVIDIA GeForce Experience program for graphics card management. This software automatically checks for updated drivers and allows you to activate other proprietary features like RTX.

AMD offers the AMD Radeon Graphics diver installer for their modern video card models. Use this software to detect your current drivers automatically. It only downloads and installs the drivers that your unique PC build requires.

Determine Whether Your PC Has a Driver Conflict

Are you still experiencing the same issues after installing the latest drivers? If yes, then your system may have a driver conflict. The leading causes of driver conflicts are corrupt files and residual data.

Components from uninstalled drivers may interfere with the updated ones. Fortunately, the Windows operating system enables you to check for software changes. Its “Device Manager” functionality allows you to look for differences and driver conflicts.

If any issue arises, uninstall all current graphics drivers and cleanly install new ones.

Uninstalling Old Graphics Drivers

Now that you know some scenarios need you to uninstall old graphics card drivers, let’s learn how to accomplish the task correctly.

AMD offers a comprehensive cleanup utility that will eliminate all old AMD drivers from your system. However, NVIDIA lacks a similar program, meaning you will have to uninstall the drivers manually or through third-party software.

Manual driver uninstallation is achievable on the Windows OS through the “Control Panel” or “Device Manager.” However, this process can leave behind residual files. Because residual files can lead to driver conflicts, consider using third-party software for clean removal or using utilities to clean up any residual data.

Uninstalling Drivers Using the Device Manager

To complete GPU driver uninstallation:

1.  Locate the “Device Manager” from your computer using the search function.

2.  Navigate to “Display Adapter” or “Screen Adapter” and click on your GPU.

3.  Select “Uninstall Device” from the drop-down menu, follow the steps, and restart your computer.   

Uninstalling Drivers through the Control Panel

Locate the “Control Panel” in the Windows search bar and open the application. On the apps “Programs” section, click “Uninstall a Program,” then look for all software under the banner of your GPU’s manufacturer. Finally, uninstall these drivers one at a time.

Uninstalling Drivers Using Third-Party Software

Do you find manual driver uninstallation too tricky? Then use third-party software to ensure clean uninstallation. Some of the most popular software include:

  • Display Driver Uninstaller: This reliable application completely uninstalls NVIDIA and AMD graphics card drivers.
  • Driver Manager: Driver Manager is a free uninstaller for drivers on Windows OS. Its simple interface makes it user-friendly.
  • Driver Booster: Driver Booster is another free software for uninstalling or updating drivers on Windows.
  • AMD Cleanup: The AMD Cleanup Utility Tool helps remove graphics drivers, audio drivers, and any other accompanying software.

Winding Up

To safeguard your data, consider backing up your PC before proceeding with the graphics driver removal. Run your Windows PC in “Safe Mode” during the process to avoid problems like blue screens or crashing.

FAQs

How do I cleanly install GPU drivers?

Install GPU drivers from the manufacturer’s CD or download them from the manufacturer’s official website.  

Should I restart the computer after downloading or uninstalling drivers?

Yes. Ensure to restart your PC after software updates or downloads.

Tom

Tom is a network engineer and a tech consultant. He spends his time solving networking problems while keeping tabs with the latest in the technology field.

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