Update PC Monitor Drivers - dummies

By Dan Gookin

Updating the video driver can solve most video problems. Two companies develop most PC display adapter technology: Intel (formerly ATI) and NVIDIA. They routinely make new graphics drivers available, ensuring that your PC remains compatible with all the latest graphical software out there.

To manually check for a new driver, visit the display adapter’s Properties dialog box. After your PC’s display adapter Properties dialog box is displayed, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Properties button in the display adapter’s Properties dialog box.

  2. In Windows Vista, type the administrator’s password or click the Continue button when prompted by the User Account Control dialog box.

    The display adapter’s Properties dialog box appears.

  3. Click the Driver tab.

    Before wasting any time, check the date. If it is more than a year old, it is definitely worth your time to check for a new driver. You might even check if it is over 6 months old.


  4. Click the Update Driver button.

  5. In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, choose the option Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software.

    You can choose Browse My Computer for Driver Software in those times when the screen resolution randomly gets low — when Windows has lost the current driver — or when you’ve uninstalled a display adapter and then reinstalled the same adapter later.

    It may take some time for the driver to be found and downloaded from the Internet. If nothing is available, you’re told so. That’s fine — you’re up-to-date. Otherwise, you’re told that a new driver was installed, and you’re ready to go.

  6. Close any open dialog boxes or windows when you’re done.

  7. If prompted, restart your PC.

If you update the driver and — oops! — things are even worse, you can roll back the driver. The easiest way to do this is with System Restore. A prompt for System Restore appears when you first start the PC. Or, you can use the Roll Back Driver button from the Driver tab in the display adapter’s Properties dialog box.

  • The best way to ensure that your PC has updated drivers is to use the Windows Update service.

  • Windows XP suffers from a problem where the current video driver might become “lost.” In that case, you need to reinstall a driver that’s already on the computer. After following Step 5 in the preceding step list, simply use the driver that’s already available on the computer’s hard drive. The driver fixes the low-resolution issue.

  • You can also check for a driver by visiting the developer’s website and looking for the Support link or Drivers link.

  • Don’t forget to check for updated software for a second display adapter if your PC sports this hardware.