Friendly Expert Computer Help - In Plain English
As Seen On TechTV
PC911 > How-To > Hardware > Installing a new Video Card

- Alex -

Download this article as a self-extracting text file
View this article in printer-friendly plain-text format
E-mail this article to a friend

So you finally realized that the 1MB video card in your system just ain't gonna cut it anymore because you want to be able to run your desktop at more than 640X480 and only 16 colors, or maybe because you realize that with 5 frames per second your chances of survival in Quake are lower than a frog's chance of crossing a 10 lane freeway alive at rush hour. You got yourself the latest and greatest video card and now comes the question: How do I install this sucker?

Note: This guide assumes that you bought the correct card and have the correct open slot on your motherboard to install it.

Get the latest driver

Before you even take the new card out of the box, there are a few things you need to do first. The most important thing is to download the latest drivers for the card first. Rest assured, the drivers that come in the box with the new card will be older than Elizabeth Taylor the moment you open the box. Go to the manufacturers web site and get the newest driver first. The file you'll be downloading will be either a Zip file or a self-extracting Zip file. Save it on your hard drive in a easy to find spot and unzip the file into that folder to have them ready when you need them. The very next step is to print out the instructions for driver installation. This is important because there are two ways of installing the driver. Usually you simply point Windows to the folder containing the driver files when Windows detects the new card and let Windows do the rest. But sometimes the drivers have their own setup program and require you to cancel Windows' automatic hardware detection and installation and run the setup program instead.

Uninstall the old video driver first

To avoid any possible conflicts and to make the installation as smooth as possible, you need to first uninstall the current video driver. There are two possible methods of uninstalling the old driver and it depends on the manufacturer which one you need to follow. Check out the web site for the manufacturer of your current video card and look for driver uninstallation instructions. If they have special instructions or a special program to do so, follow their instructions.

If they do not require a special uninstall procedure or advise you to use the standard Windows 98 method, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Start/Settings/Control Panel, double-click Display and select the Settings tab.
  2. Click the Advanced button, select the Adapter tab (another word for video card is video adapter or display adapter) and push the Change button. You'll see the Update Device Driver Wizard informing you that it will search for a better driver. Click Next.
  3. In the next screen, you'll get two options, either Search for a better driver, or Display a list of all devices in a specific location. Choose the second option to display the list of all devices, then click Next. You now might get a window informing you that Window is building its driver database. This will only take a few seconds.
  4. When you're at the next screen, look at the bottom left corner where the two following options are listed - Show compatible hardware, or Show all hardware. Click on the second option to show all hardware. Now the window will change into a two-column view for Manufacturers and Models.
  5. In the Manufacturers column, scroll all the way to the top and select the first option, (Standard display types). In the Models column, select the very first option, Standard Display Adapter (VGA). Click Next.
  6. You'll see a warning about this driver possibly not working with the video card. That's ok, it's a generic warning message. The driver we chose will work just fine because it's the universal Windows video driver. Confirm to continue by clicking Yes.
  7. The next window will announce that Windows is ready to install this driver. Insert your Windows CD because it probably needs it to copy some files from there. Then click Next to continue.
  8. Windows will copy the necessary files and make the required changes. You'll see a message when this process is finished. You need to click Finish in that last window and then agree to reboot your PC to complete the process when prompted. After the reboot when you get back into Windows, check to make sure that it worked by going to Start/Settings/Control Panel, double-clicking Display and selecting the Settings tab. Click the Advanced button, select the Adapter tab and check to make sure that it reads Standard Display Adapter (VGA).
After completing these steps, you're now ready to remove the old video card and install the new one.

Back To Top Of Page