Where can I download VGA drivers and how do I install them?

In many cases it is preferred to download and utilise video card drivers direct from the chipset manufacturer's website, rather than from MSI. the main reason being that the manufacturers always have the latest and most up-to-date drivers available first!

However, the golden rule of thumb is if it ain't broke, don't fix it!. You don't always need the latest drivers installed, especially if you have an older card. Newer drivers add support for newer cards, and fix known problems in previous versions, usually for specific game problems. Check the release notes before upgrading, you may not even need to update.

Even Nvidia advises this: nvidia.com FAQ - How often should I update my graphics card display drivers?

If your NVIDIA based graphics card is a newer model, it is recommended that you update your graphic card drivers regularly to get the best performance and experience from your PC.  If your NVIDIA based graphics card is an older model, then we suggest you update your drivers only if you are experiencing problems while running newer software on your PC.

For all NVIDIA-based VGA cards
Visit this page: http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us

Select Option one to manually select the product you wish to find the driver for.

Select Option Two, to download a small utility that will determine which product you have and which driver you need.

If you have an older card, or wish to try out earlier or beta releases, go here: http://www.nvidia.com/Download/Find.aspx?lang=en-us

For all ATI based VGA cards
Visit this page: http://game.amd.com/us-en/drivers_catalyst.aspx

Click on the link most appropiate for your operating system. If you use ATI integrated graphics, be sure to select the 'Motherboards/IGP' link.

Note that in this topic, we will assume that you are using Windows XP with at least SP3, or Vista with SP2 or Windows 7. This ensures you have the most recent version of Windows, and also that you have the most recent DirectX.

If you don't already have SP3 for XP, or SP2 for Vista, visit Windows Update to download and install. If you are preparing to perform a fresh install of Windows, there is good advice in the Operating Systems forum here, on how to make yourself a new Windows XP CD, with SP3 already integrated.

From a fresh install of Windows:
Once Windows is installed and the desktop is displayed for the first time, the first set of drivers you need to install will be your motherboard chipset drivers. install the correct drivers for your particular motherboard chipset, then restart your PC when prompted. Always reboot your PC when an installer prompts you to, you may think that it is faster to just install all your drivers before rebooting, but this can cause complications in some situations!

Then install your downloaded driver, and follow any prompts that are shown. Reboot your PC when prompted to, and your display driver will be ready to use!

Upgrading from Nvidia/ATI card to another of same chipset brand
If you are upgrading from one type of Nvidia card to another, or one ATI to another, this is usually just a case of powering down your PC, removing the old VGA card, and fitting the new one. When you power your PC back on, Windows will automatically detect and install your new card. This is because ATI and Nvidia both use what is known as a 'Unified Driver Architecture' where one set of drivers covers a whole range of cards.

If you wish to play safe, you can always go to Device Manager, right-click your Display Adapter, and choose 'Uninstall', before powering down and changing the card, as described above.

Changing from a Nvidia card to an ATI card (or vice versa)
If your new VGA card is from a different chipset manufacturer to the old one (eg, upgrading from integrated VGA to an add-in card), to ensure best results, you should uninstall completely the old drivers, and use a third-party tool such as DriverCleaner to remove all traces of old drivers from the registry, to prevent any conflicts. For more information on how to use DriverCleaner, visit www.drivercleaner.net

Go to 'Add/Remove Programs' in Control Panel, find your display driver's uninstall program and choose 'Remove'. Once this process is complete, power down your PC and change the VGA card. On reboot, cancel any Found New Hardware wizard that appears, and then run DriverCleaner. once completed, reboot and then install your new drivers. Remember to always restart your PC when prompted to!

Upgrading from your current drivers to a newer version
This is usually very straightforward if you are using recent drivers (I know this is the case with Nvidia, but not sure with ATI), as the installer will usually remove the old drivers before installing the new ones.

However to be on the safe side, go to 'Add/Remove Programs' in Control Panel, and Remove your current display driver, then reboot before installing the new version. If you are upgrading from a very old version, or perhaps from a bundled driver, you may also want to use DriverCleaner or Guru3D's Driver Sweeper before installing the new driver.

Other useful links

Motherboard chipset drivers:

If your motherboard uses a Nvidia or ATI chipset, these can be obtained from the links provided earlier. (For Nvidia boards, follow 'Nforce/Platform Drivers')

For Intel driver downloads:

For VIA driver downloads:

For SiS driver downloads:

For ULI driver downloads:

Nvidia cards with VIVO - Video Capture WDM Driver (Win95/98/ME/2K/XP):
GeForce 6 and 7 series GPUs
GeForce2 through GeForce FX GPUs

DriverCleaner Professional:
Free Download: http://www.soft82.com/download/Windows/Driver_Cleaner_Professional
Info and full paid version: http://www.drivercleaner.net

Guru3D's DriverSweeper:
Free Download and use: http://downloads.guru3d.com/Guru3D---Driver-Sweeper-(Setup)-download-1655.html
Instructions: http://www.guru3d.com/category/driversweeper/
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