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Avast Academy Performance Drivers How to Update Graphics Drivers in Windows 10, 8, and 7

How to Update Graphics Drivers in Windows 10, 8, and 7

Every single pixel on your computer screen is drawn by a graphics driver. Whether it’s an image (such as a photo or video) or text, a graphics driver controls what you see on websites, in your games, and on your video streams. Learn how to manually update your graphics driver for top performance and clear images. Or do it automatically with Avast Driver Updater.

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Dull grey colors? Is everything a bit blurry? Games don’t run? It’s time to upgrade your GPU drivers!

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    Use Windows Update to update graphics drivers

    One of the easiest ways to update a driver is to use Windows’ built-in tool, called Windows Update, which comes with Windows 7 and Windows 10. The drivers you get from Windows Update are fine-tuned and certified by the Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL). While these drivers typically aren’t the very latest versions, they are very stable.

    Perform the following steps to upgrade your GPU drivers using Windows Update:

    Update graphics drivers using Windows Update on Windows 7 

    1. Open the Windows Start menu and go to Control Panel.

    2. Click on System and Security and Windows Update.

      Check for Updates

    3. Click the Check for Updates link if you don’t see any results yet. Doing so instructs the operating system to check for regular Windows Updates and also looks for new drivers.

    4. Look specifically for graphics card drivers that mention manufacturer names related to graphic components, such as Intel Graphics, NVIDIA, or AMD Graphics. You may see these in the main view or under the Optional Updates category. If you see one of these, click on the Install button and wait for the installation to complete.

    Update your graphics drivers using Windows Update on Windows 10

    1. Open the Start menu and click on Settings (next to the little cog icon).Windows 10 start menu settings

    2. On the next screen, select Windows Update & Security. You can check for updates here.

    Any GPU drivers that are found will be installed automatically.

    Use Windows Device Manager to manually upgrade graphics drivers

    In most circumstances, Windows Update won’t find a new driver. However, the companies that manufacture the graphics hardware usually release updates monthly, with bug fixes and optimizations for new games. However, it takes a while for these changes to make their way through the Microsoft certification process (if the company even bothers).

    In Windows Update, you usually see a date next to each entry. If your graphics driver is older than three or four months, try using Windows Device Manager to upgrade to the latest driver.

    Before you get started, it’s wise to create a system recovery point. This backs up all your current drivers, allowing you to return to the previous state in case anything goes wrong. To create your backup, right-click on Computer (on your desktop) and select Properties. Click on the System Protection item on the left. In the next window, click on System Protection, select Create, and follow the instructions on the screen.

    Now that you’ve created a backup, follow the steps below to update your drivers:

    Update graphics card drivers on Windows 7

    1. Right-click on the Computer icon on your desktop, and choose Properties. Then, open Device Manager.

    2. Go to Audio, Video and Game Controller. Look for an entry for your graphics card, which looks something like this:Device Manager overviewYou’re looking for anything that says graphics, VGA, Intel, AMD, or NVIDIA under the “Display Adapters” heading.

    3. Double-click on the entry for your graphics card and switch to the Driver tab. Click on Update Driver.

    4. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.

    5. If that doesn’t find anything new (which should not worry you, as nothing says there has to be an updated version of your driver), repeat steps 1-3, and instead select Browse my computer for driver software.Look for updates manually

    6. Windows now prompts you for a driver location. If you haven’t downloaded a driver yet, read below on how to get your graphics drivers.

    7. Found the right one? If it didn’t come with an installer, then extract that file from the directory to which you downloaded the file; the file almost certainly ends in .INF (such as “oem148.inf” or “intelgpu.inf”).

    8. Click on Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.Picking graphics drivers manually

    9. Click on Have Disk and then Browse. Find the folder of the new graphics driver you just downloaded. Double-click on the .INF file.

    10. Click on Next to install the driver. Your display might go blank a few times, but when it comes back, you’ll see something like this:

      Updating Intel HD device drivers(In some cases you might be prompted to reboot your computer, so be sure to follow this advice.)

    11. You got it! If you like, explore the new options the manufacturer provides in the graphics control panel. To get to it, right-click on the desktop, then find Intel HD Graphic Options, NVIDIA Control Panel or AMD Radeon Settings.

    Update graphics drivers on Windows 10

    1. Click on the Start menu and type in the words Device Manager. You are automatically presented with a few results, such as:

      Open Device ManagerClick on Device Manager.

    2. Look for an entry in the list that’s related to your graphics card. It could be “graphics,” “Standard VGA Controller,” “Intel Graphics,” “AMD Radeon,” “NVIDIA GeForce,” or another brand name.

    3. Double-click on the graphics card entry. There’s a separate Driver tab; click on that to see the options. Click on Update Driver.Device Manager automatic updates

    4. Select Search automatically for updated driver software. That may find an update for you. If not, repeat steps 1-3 and instead select Browse my computer for driver software.

    5. To use this option, you need to manually choose a driver. Read the section below about where to find graphics drivers

    6. Found a driver? It may come with its own installer; if not, look for the file (usually ending in .INF) in your downloads directory. Click on Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.Manual GPU driver updates

    7. Click on Have Disk and then Browse. Browse to the folder that contains the new drive

    8. Click on Next to install the driver. Shortly, you should see something like this:

      Updating Intel HD drivers

    9. Success! Your graphics drivers are now up-to-date.

    If you like, explore the new graphics control panel to learn about new features or adjust settings. To do so, right-click on the Windows desktop, and find Intel HD Graphic Options, NVIDIA Control Panel, AMD Radeon Settings, or the name of the driver to discover its new options.

    Where do I find graphics drivers?

    Practically speaking, there are only three major graphics driver makers: Intel, NVIDIA and AMD. All you need to do is visit their official driver webpages to get the latest versions:

    Download the drivers and install them using the setup file or the manual driver method described above.

    How to automatically upgrade your graphics drivers

    Manually upgrading graphics cards can be quite complicated, as you’ve seen above. Plus, with one or two new driver releases every month, it’s hard to keep up with all the latest software. We assume you have better things to do with your time.

    That’s why it might be worthwhile to look at an automatic solution like Avast Driver Updater. It goes way beyond just keeping your graphics drivers up-to-date. It also checks for outdated sound, network, printer, and scanner drivers -- and automatically installs them for you. That’s one less thing to worry about. And it’s especially useful if you’re building your own PC or gaming PC.

    Check for outdated drivers by downloading a free trial of Avast Driver Updater:

    How do I know if my graphics driver is up-to-date?

    Simple: When you go to Device Manager, look at the Drivers tab (shown above). If the Driver Date is only a month or two old, then you’re in good shape. If it’s older than that, you might want to look for a newer driver for your graphics card.

    Why should I upgrade my graphics drivers?

    Updating video display drivers is crucial on any computer. It’s key to getting top performance and the best possible visual experience. Here’s what regularly updating your GPU driver gives you:

    • Full resolution and color depths: Without an up-to-date GPU driver, you might be limited to extremely low resolutions such as 800x600 or 1024x768, a reduced color palette, or visible stutter when browsing the web. You don’t want your eyes strained like that.

    • Smooth game performance: We all want our computers to run as fast as possible! Every time a blockbuster game comes out, you can expect that the companies that make graphics drivers (Intel, AMD and NVIDIA) will specifically optimize their hardware to take advantage:

      Intel Driver updatesAMD driver updatesNVIDIA Driver Updates

      The latest graphics drivers offer enhancements for games that were just released. In some cases, games won’t even run properly without these “optimized” drivers.

    • Support for external displays: Many laptops won’t connect to an external display without a proper driver installed. If you work with a second monitor, then an up-to-date driver is mandatory.

    Updating your drivers can be a chore. After all, you want to work or game with your PC, not hunt for drivers every month. An automatic driver updater might be your best bet going forward.

    Update your other drivers

    Now that you’ve updated your graphics drivers, better make sure all your other drivers are up-to-date, too:

    - How to update your audio drivers

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