Sometimes drivers stop working, which is especially noticeable with GPUs. GPU drivers are prone to failure due to frequent updates, and sometimes you have to start from scratch.
Here are three ways you can completely erase GPU drivers from your PC and install them on a clean site.
Why should you remove and reinstall GPU drivers in the first place?
External devices cannot work under Windows without drivers. Although Microsoft provides "simple" drivers for all types of devices, it is usually a good idea to install the manufacturer's official drivers. This is especially important for GPUs, as GPU providers such as AMD and Nvidia provide software optimization, functions and customizable settings with their drivers.
However, drivers are never perfect. Sometimes a new update leads to a new problem and users have to wait for the manufacturer to fix that problem. It's also possible that installing new drivers over and over can lead to strange problems. If you are switching from AMD to Nvidia or vice versa, you should also remove the drivers from the older GPU.
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Preparation for clean removal and installation
Before trying any of the methods below, there are a few things you should clarify. You should already have your new drivers downloaded and ready to install before removing anything. Where you get your drivers from depends on where you bought or built your PC.
If you've made your own desktop, you'll want to go straight to the AMD, Nvidia, or Intel website and download drivers. If you bought an OEM PC, you can use drivers from AMD, Nvidia, or Intel directly, but finding the drivers provided by the OEM is a better idea.
Also, you will need to restart your PC at least once during the process. You can technically ignore this, but a reboot is recommended for security reasons. So save all of your important files and belongings.
The last thing you should do is disconnect from the internet. Windows will automatically try to download and install the latest GPU drivers it can find if you remove your GPU drivers. Disconnecting from the Internet will prevent it, so we recommend downloading drivers first.
1. Use Windows Device Manager
Device Manager is one of many tools used to configure devices connected to your PC and can update, reset, and delete drivers. Search for Device manager in the search bar and open the utility.
Then navigate to Display adapter, right click on your GPU and select properties.
From there navigate to the Driver tab. The tab displays the options to Update driver, Rollback driver, and Uninstall device.
Driver deletion is included as an optional feature in this last option.
Device Manager is useful for driver rollbacks (that is, you can revert to a previous version or "roll back"), but its update methods may disappoint you. Its automatic method looks for Windows certified drivers, but most of the GPU drivers are not Windows certified. However, this doesn't mean that uncertified drivers are bad. AMD, Nvidia, and Intel don't always ask for Microsoft's seal of approval because it's a time-consuming process.
The manual method is only recommended if you are an experienced user.
For example, a GPU in an OEM-made PC may need to use official drivers that may be old or buggy. However, it is possible that the drivers provided by the GPU manufacturer may work better if you use the installation wizard. However, this is a rare case as most users never have to worry about it.
The other problem is that Device Manager is only installing the driver. All of these fancy applications that you can use to tweak your GPU aren't part of the driver itself; They're just bundled with drivers. Windows will unfortunately not install them. There are Windows Store versions of these apps, but it's probably better to get them straight from the source.
In short, Device Manager is good for removing drivers and rolling back to older ones, but it's bad for installing. It is better to use the driver's wizard to install it.
2. Use the driver's Clean Install option
AMD and Nvidia offer clean install options when you install their GPU drivers. Unfortunately, Intel does not yet offer this function.
For AMD users, just run the driver and click your way through the wizard. Finally, you will see this chic looking window:
The Factory settings reset Option should be selected by default. All you have to do is click through the rest of the wizard and wait for the process to complete.
There's also a standalone app called AMD Cleanup Utility, although it's probably more convenient to do the factory reset in the driver wizard.
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Reinstalling Nvidia is also in its wizard, but accessing it is a bit more tedious. After starting the installation wizard for your Nvidia drivers, the first thing you need to do is select one of these two options (both allow a clean install) and press Agree and proceed:
Then choose Custom (Advanced).
Check Perform a clean install.
And that's it. Just click through the rest of the wizard as you normally would, wait for the installation to complete, and you should be good to go.
3. Use the uninstaller to view the driver display
Driver Display Uninstaller or DDU is the preferred method by PC enthusiasts. It is a third-party program developed by Wagnardsoft that supports driver removal for AMD, Nvidia, and Intel GPUs. DDU is extremely thorough and removes anything or almost anything related to GPU drivers.
To get DDU, go to the Wagnersoft website and select the entry with the latest date. At the time of writing, the latest version is 18.104.22.168 as you can see here:
Then find out where it is Click here for DOWNLOAD & SUPPORT and click on it. This will take you to another page where you should see something reading Official download here. Click on it to start the download. You will receive an executable file. Run the executable file and click extract.
You should get a folder named DDU v22.214.171.124 depending on the version number. This is what the folder content looks like:
To run DDU, open the folder and run Display Driver Uninstaller.exe. Before doing anything, the app may close some other apps for security reasons and show you this list of options:
Just click Shut down. If you are not in Safe Mode, DDU recommends that you enter Safe Mode before removing any drivers. However, Safe Mode is not required for the driver to be removed. Next, click Select device type and choose GPU.
By default, DDU will select one of your GPU drivers to clean up, which can be a problem if you have multiple GPUs. If DDU automatically selected the wrong GPU drivers, all you have to do is click on the appropriate location AMD, Nvidia, or Inteland select the correct provider.
Finally, just press Clean and restart. DDU will remove your drivers and automatically restart your PC.
Wagnardsoft recommends not using DDU every time you want to update your drivers, but it can be a good last-ditch effort to fix problems you suspect may be driver-related. It's also useful when switching from one GPU provider to another.
DDU is likely overkill for most users, but sometimes the nuclear option is the simplest.
Removing drivers cleanly is a best practice
Thanks to AMD and Nvidia, which provide this function in their drivers, an error-free update is possible without any problems. Even if you have to roll back to an old version, Device Manager and DDU will keep you safe.
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About the author
(2 articles published)
Matthew is a PC writer at MakeUseOf. He has been writing about PC hardware and software since 2018. His previous freelance positions were at Notebookcheck and Tom & # 39; s Hardware. In addition to writing, he is also interested in history and linguistics.
By Matthew Connatser
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