Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Windows 10 Video Driver Updates (NVidia)

Manually updating video drivers in Windows 10.  Keyliner's best practices.

I was working on graphic images and noted the screen was not updating properly.  The first thing I think about is Video Driver updates.  This article discusses how I like to do the updates.

Windows 10 is supposed to update them automatically, but that only happens if you are using the generic Microsoft Video driver -- which is what 99% of people use.  If you have an slotted video card -- where the monitor's video cable plugs into a card slot, rather than the motherboard's ports, then you should update manually.

Step 1:  Determine if you have a Onboard or slotted Video card.

Look at the back of the PC and find which port the monitor's data-cable runs to.  Your ports may be DVI, old-style VGA, a the new style PC-board.  The important thing to consider is does the cable plug into the motherboard or into dedicated PCI external slots. 

* If it is the external slots, or if you have dual monitors, where one plugs in onboard and the other into the slot, then this article is for you.

* Laptops only have onboard video but may use an NVidia or ATI driver.  See the control panel (step2). 

* If Step2 shows a name-brand video, continue with these remaining steps.  The only caveat is vendors often have a "Laptop" version of the drivers, but it can still be updated manually from the vendor's site.

Step 2:  Determine the brand of the PCI video card. 

Typically NVidia (Geoforce, EVGA, Gigabyte, etc.) or AMD Radeon.  Other manufacturers make video cards, but they are almost always using the NVidia or AMD chipsets.

The best way to tell is to look at the packing list/shipping inventory for the PC.   The second-best way is to open Control-Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management.  Expand Device Manager.

In my case, note this is NVidia Quadro K2000.  The model is helpful.

Notice I am not going to Dell, HP, Acer or other branded support sites.  It is best to get the most current drivers from the chipset maker.  For example, on my Dell, they quit supporting my PC years ago.

Step 3:  On the Vendor's site, manually download the driver and save to a local download directory.

For NVidia  www.nvidia.com
   Select Drivers, All NVidia Drivers

For AMD:  www.amd.com
   Select Drivers & Support

Both vendors have an auto-detect program you can download and install.  I have not used these and am generally against them -- not wanting to install another program on an already cluttered machine.  

If you could not determine the video card's model number, the same video driver is probably being used for all of a vendor's video cards, regardless of model.  The only difference being 32-bit or 64-bit Windows. Most, if not all of us are now running Windows 10 64-bit.

Here was my selection:

Download the driver (typically a large file) and save to a known location.  The download is substantial - these are large files.

Step 4:  Install

For most, both brands of video cards install a half-dozen utilities, toolbars, 3D graphics and sound drivers.  These complicate my life and have been unnecessary in all of my work.  I never install the extras.  Here is your chance to take control.  Plus, a simpler install means fewer bugs!  

If you are a gamer - and you know who you are - install all the goodies, if you need them.  For the rest, follow these general recommendations.

These install screen shots show an NVidia install.

Double-click the downloaded file to begin installation. 
As of 2019.01, NVidia's file was

(It seems they have 30 updates a year.  I check once or twice a year)

4a.  NVidia wants a temporary folder to extract the files.  I always choose this path:  C:\temp\nvidia

In this same folder, I create a notepad text document to remind me of the video-card's model number, and make (Quadro K2000).

4b.  *ALWAYS* choose "Custom Install"

4c.  In the Custom panel, uncheck all options, no matter how important-sounding they are.  Leave only the base video driver.  If you are a gamer, and you know about these other options, then I'd give a little leeway on this.

5.  The driver will install.  Expect the screen to go black once or twice.

When done,

Delete all files in c:\temp\NVidia as they are no longer needed.

Delete the original downloaded .exe

-- but I tend to leave the last one on the disk.  It makes me smile when I see my last update was 390.65 and I am now updated to 412.16

I revisit video drivers once or twice per year.  More often after major Windows version changes.

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