Saturday, March 14, 2009

Updating your Video Driver - The Right Way (VISTA)

Properly Removing the NVIDIA Driver

NOTE: This is for Vista ONLY.

So you want to update your NVIDIA driver? In order to facilitate a clean install you will want to remove all traces of your old driver prior to installing the new one. This includes registry keys (Don't worry, you won't be manually editing the registry). So let's go over this simple but effective 2 step procedure.

We want to completely remove all traces of the old driver install. To do this, we will be using two freeware applications. If you don't already use these, download them and install.

Download CCleaner
Download DriverSweeper

In addition to the two programs, we also need to disable Vista's automatic driver install which is enabled by default. It's rather annoying and I actually prefer having control over the OS ;). By disabling this function, Vista will no longer automatically install a driver for a newly installed device it detects. Instead, it will prompt you to take action. A dialog box will appear asking you if you want Vista to search online for a driver, search its driver store or insert a disk. This is much better and essential to properly installing a device driver.

So, let's get started:

1. Open the 'System' control panel
2. On the left side of the System control panel window, select 'Advanced System Settings'
3. Click on the 'Hardware Tab'
4. Click the 'Windows Update Driver Settings' button
5. Choose the middle option, 'Ask me each time I connect a new device before checking for drivers'. Select OK and close the System Properties window and then close the System control panel. That's it.

Step 1 - Uninstalling the Current Driver

Open the Programs and Features Control Panel (Windows Vista) or Add/Remove Programs Control Panel (Windows XP).

Find the entry titled NVIDIA Drivers **NOTE: DO NOT uninstall your PhysX Driver. If you do, you will have to reinstall PhysX completely. Starting with the 8.09 release. PhysX updates are meant to be applied OVER the existing version installed.

Highlight it (NVIDIA DRIVERS) and select Uninstall.

Windows will ask you to confirm the uninstall, select Yes.

Windows will then prompt you to restart your system.

Reboot Windows into Safe Mode. To boot into Safe Mode: As the system is rebooting and after the BIOS screen is visible, repeatedly press the F8 key. This will bring you to the Windows boot options. Choose the option to boot into Safe Mode.

Step 2 - Removing All Traces

Now that you are in Safe Mode, launch DriverSweeper. Check the NVIDIA Display checkbox ONLY (DO NOT UNINSTALL THE PHYSX DRIVERS). Select Analyze. Select Clean. This will remove most, if not all of the traces of the NVIDIA driver left over from uninstalling via the control panel. You can now exit out of DriverSweeper.

Launch CCleaner and then Select the Registry button on the left side of the CCleaner main window. Select Scan for Issues. If any issues are detected, Select Fix Issues. You will be prompted to backup the changes CCleaner is about to make. If you feel the need, do so. Once the process completes, close CCleaner and REBOOT your system.

After rebooting, proceed with your new Driver Install.


HAVE DISK Install Method (Can be used to install NVIDIA Desktop drivers, LV2Go drivers that do not have a modded .inf file or other devices you need to manually update)

1. Run the installer for your driver and let it extract the necessary files. If you are prompted for a location, I suggest saving them to a new folder on the desktop so you can locate them easier - you can always move them later. After the installer has extracted the driver files it may attempt to install them automatically. That's ok since it will not be able to install due to a missing entry in the driver .inf file. This is where the 'Have Disk' method comes into play.

2. Next, open up Device Manager (you can open the Run command via the Start Menu and type in 'mmc devmgmt.msc' - this will launch the Device Manager window.

3. Under 'Display Adapters' you will see an entry for 'Standard VGA Adapter'. Double Click on this to open the Properties window.

4. Go to Driver tab and select Update Driver.

5. Select 'Browse my computer for driver software'.

6. Select 'Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer'.

7. Select 'Have Disk'

8. Select 'Browse' and navigate to the extracted driver files. Double click on the .inf file.

9. You should now see the name of your device in the list. Highlight it and Click Next to continue.

10. Windows may ask for your approval to install the driver. Select 'Install this driver software anyway'.

11. Once installed, you will be prompted to reboot. If you have an SLI system, DO NOT REBOOT yet. You will need to repeat steps 1-9 for your second GPU. Look in the main Device Manager window and there should be an entry for 'UNKNOWN DEVICE' in the Other Devices category. Repeat steps 1-9 for the UNKNOWN DEVICE. Once done, Reboot and enjoy!