How to Update Your Graphics Driver in Windows

Get better performance with an updated video card

Improve your gaming experience by updating your graphics driver

gorodenkoff/Getty Images 

When you're gaming on a Windows PC, you may find your game lags and stutters or images aren't as spectacular as you wish. Don't buy a new computer quite yet. It may just need an update to the graphics card driver. Keep reading to learn how to update a graphics driver.

The instructions in this article are demonstrated using Windows 10. However, they should generally apply to Windows 8 and Windows 7 as well.

How to Update a Graphics Card Driver

For the most part, and in most casual computer use situations, you never have to update the graphics driver. But if you're gaming, doing 3D graphics, or using your system for video intensive work, it's a good idea to keep your graphics driver updated.

There are a lot of ways to go about this that can take time and are confusing, but your Windows computer is smart enough to bypass most of the confusion and find what it needs. You just have to know how to ask it do that.

  1. Right-click the Start button on your Windows 10 computer, then select Device Manager.

    Look for the Device Manager in the the easy access menu
  2. Windows will display all the devices inside and attached to your computer. Look for Display Adapters and select the arrow to the left of it to display all the graphics controllers in your computer.

  3. Right-click the name of your graphics card or display adapter, then select Update Driver.

    Right-click on the graphics card name to bring up a menu.
  4. Windows will ask if you want it to find a newer driver. Select Search Automatically for Driver Software to search for a newer driver for your card.

    Windows asks if it should update the graphics driver
     
  5. If Windows finds an update, it will install it automatically.

How to Update Graphics Driver Manually

For many gaming and high-end video or 3D graphics cards, you have to go directly the graphics card maker's site to find the most up-to-date drivers for your gaming and intensive graphics purposes.

  1. Right-click the Start button on your Windows 10 computer, then select Device Manager.

  2. Look for Display Adapters and select the arrow to the left of it to display all the graphics controllers in your computer.

  3. Right-click the name of your graphics card or display adapter, then select Properties.

    Ask Windows for the properties of your graphics card
  4. Windows will tell you the exact model of your graphics card in the pop-up menu that comes up. Write that down.

    windows will tell you the model of your graphics card
  5. Go to the website of the company that makes your driver. The links below will take you directly to the graphics driver download page of that company.

  6. On the site, locate the model of your graphics card and downloaded the correct driver for your particular graphics card.

    Hardware companies make it easy for you to find what you're looking for. NVIDIA, for example, offers a drop-down menu that takes you directly to the model of GPU or graphics controller you have.

  7. Right-click the Start button, then select Device Manager.

    Right click the Start menu to find the Device Manager
  8. Expand Display Adapters, right-click the name of your graphics card, then select Update Driver > Browse My Computer for Driver Software.

    Ask Windows to browse your computer for drivers
  9. Select Browse to locate the driver update file you downloaded. Unless you saved your new driver someplace specific, you'll find it in your Downloads folder, under Users. Once you have located it, select it, then select OK.

    Ask Windows to locate the driver you downloaded
  10. Windows will begin to install your new driver. Follow the instructions, then restart your computer.