AVG Signal Blog Performance Hardware How to Update Graphics Drivers in Windows 10, 8, and 7

If you already know that your driver needs to be updated, jump down now to our section on automatically updating your graphics driver. Or, if you want to find driver updates yourself (and know your graphics card’s model and manufacturer), skip straight to our section on manually updating your graphics driver.

This article contains:

    Identifying your graphics driver

    Hardware manufacturers frequently issue updates for their drivers to ensure your PC components deliver optimal performance. So, if you haven’t been keeping your drivers current, you’re likely overdue for an update.

    Fortunately, the process for updating your audio drivers, graphics drivers, and all your other drivers is largely the same. If you’re performing your own updates, you first need to find your graphics driver and identify its model and manufacturer. Then you’ll know which version you have, and you can check to see if your graphics driver is out of date.

    1. Open the Windows menu and type device manager. Then, open the Device Manager. (You can also simply type device manager into the Cortana search bar.)

      Opening the Device Manager from the Cortana Search Bar in Windows 10
    2. Find the Display adapters listing in the drop-down menu, open it, and find your GPU. In our example here, we’re on a virtual machine.

      Right-click your GPU and select Properties.

      Checking the properties of a graphics card with the Device Manager in Windows 10
    3. Navigate to the Driver tab.

      The Driver tab in the properties for a graphics adapter in Device Manager

    Note your GPU’s model and version number. To see if you need an update, compare your model and number against the latest version of your driver — keep reading to learn how to find that info.

    Are my graphics drivers up to date?

    Head over to your GPU manufacturer’s website and hunt down the section for the latest drivers. Your mission is to identify the current version of your GPU’s driver. And while you’re there, explore the latest graphics cards, especially if you’re wondering if your graphics card is up to date.)

    If the current version of your GPU’s driver matches the version on your PC, then your driver is up to date. If not, you’re running an outdated driver, and you should download and install the latest version.

    Automatically update your graphics driver

    The easiest and most convenient way to update your graphics driver is to do it automatically with AVG Driver Updater. It’ll scan your PC and detect any outdated or malfunctioning drivers, then source and download the current drivers without you having to do a thing.

    Driver Updater is available for Windows 10, 8, and 7, and it’s compatible with NVIDIA, AMD, and over 100 other major brands. Download it today for a free scan.

    Here’s how to update your graphics driver automatically with AVG Driver Updater:

    1. After installing AVG Driver Updater, click Scan Drivers to check whether your computer is running outdated and malfunctioning drivers.

      Initiating a driver scan with AVG Driver Updater for Windows 10
    2. AVG Driver Updater will perform a complete system scan and alert you if it finds any outdated drivers. After the scan is complete, click Update Selected to update all your old drivers at once.

      The results of a driver scan with AVG Driver Updater for Windows 10

      You can also click Show details next to any specific driver on the list to update it individually.

      Viewing a specific driver after a scan in AVG Driver Updater for Windows 10

    Whether you choose to update all your drivers at once or just a handful, AVG Driver Updater will source your new drivers and install them, all with just a single click. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

    Manually update your graphics driver

    If you’d rather hunt down driver updates yourself, you’ve got a few options. Several of the top graphics card manufacturers offer automatic driver updates, and most offer driver downloads directly from their websites.

    In Windows, there are two ways to update your drivers on your own. The first is to use the built-in Windows Update service, which handles updates for your OS and various Microsoft programs, along with driver updates for a range of popular hardware. You can also take a more surgical approach through the Device Manager utility and update your drivers one by one.

    Here, we’ll show you how to update your graphics driver in Windows 10 as well as how to update your graphics driver in Windows 7 with both of these tools.

    Downloading from the GPU manufacturer

    After identifying your graphics card, go to the manufacturer’s website and find the drivers section. NVIDIA and AMD both have buttons for drivers on their homepages. On Intel’s homepage, click Support to find links to their drivers.

    The home page menus on the websites of NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel, showing where to download driversThe homepage top-navigation menus of NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel.

    On the drivers section of your manufacturer’s website, enter any requested information about your graphics card and you’ll be able to download the latest driver for it.

    Using Windows Update

    Windows Update is mostly used for OS and other Microsoft updates, but it can detect some types of outdated drivers as well. (Note that with Windows Update you can’t search for specific updates, such as a new graphics driver.)

    Here’s how to use Windows Update to check for driver updates in Windows 10 and Windows 7.

    Windows 10

    1. Open your Start menu and click the Settings cog.

      Opening the Settings from the Start menu in Windows 10
    2. Click Update & Security.

      Opening the Update & Security settings in the Settings menu for Windows 10
    3. In the Windows Update section, click Check for Updates to see if there are any software updates available for your machine. If so, you can install them. If not, you’ll have to wait until a new update is ready.

      Checking for updates in Windows Update for Windows 10

    Windows 7

    1. Open the Start menu and type windows update. Then, click Windows Update in the results.

      Opening the Windows Update tool in Windows 7
    2. Click Check for Updates and wait while Windows Update searches for available updates.

      Checking for updates in Windows Update for Windows 7
    3. Install any updates you find. It’s always recommended to update your software whenever possible.

      Installing software updates with Windows Update for Windows 7

    Using Device Manager

    Unlike Windows Update, the Device Manager tool lets you search for specific software updates — including a new graphics driver. Here’s how to use it to update your graphics driver in Windows 10 and 7 — the process is the same in both operating systems.

    1. Open the Windows menu and enter the phrase device manager. Open the Device Manager from the results. You can also type device manager directly into the Cortana search bar and find it that way.

      Opening the Device Manager from the Cortana Search Bar in Windows 10
    2. Click Display adapters in the drop-down menu, right-click on your GPU, and select Properties.

      Checking the properties of a graphics card with the Device Manager in Windows 10
    3. Navigate to the Driver tab.

      The Driver tab in the properties for a graphics adapter in Device Manager
    4. Click Update Driver, and then click Search automatically for drivers.

      Updating a driver with Device Manager for Windows 10

    If Windows finds an updated version of your driver, you can install it now. If not, it may mean that you already have the latest version of your driver, or that Windows was unable to find a newer one. You can search with Windows Update or directly on the manufacturer’s website to double-check.

    Why should I update my graphics driver?

    Your graphics driver is responsible for everything you see on your screen — without it, your OS can’t tell your graphics card what kind of images to create. Since they’re such an integral part of how your computer works, drivers can cause a whole mess of problems when they get outdated.

    Updating your graphics driver can improve your computer’s performance, fix 100% disk usage and other bugs, unlock exciting new features, and even protect you against vulnerabilities that hackers are trying to exploit.

    Get better performance

    Older drivers can struggle with newer software, especially modern video games and complex editing software like Photoshop or video production apps. If your computer is having a hard time keeping up, you may be tempted to blame your GPU, but that’s not always the correct move. Sometimes, the fix is as simple as updating your graphics driver.

    In our recent tests, our resident performance experts found that updating graphics drivers boosted FPS in our games — by over 100% in Red Dead Redemption 2, one of the most demanding games out there for your GPU. Updated drivers will also ensure you get the most out of other modern games like Ark: Survival Evolved and GTA V. In fact, updating your drivers is a great way to boost the overall performance of your gaming computer.

    FPS comparisons for Red Dead Redemption 2 and Resident Evil 3 Remake with outdated and updated drivers

    Sometimes, GPU manufacturers use drivers to add completely new technology to their products. NVIDIA’s DLSS (deep learning super sampling) technology uses AI to simulate high-resolution graphics without suffering performance slowdowns. This sort of thing is also great for speeding up your computer. Otherwise, you’d need to sacrifice a lot of performance (or buy more expensive hardware) to enjoy higher-res graphics.

    Updating your graphics driver will quickly boost your computer’s performance, not only for gaming but for any multimedia application. And if you plan on overclocking your GPU, it’s especially important to have the latest driver installed.

    Fix bugs and other hiccups

    Computers are complex machines with lots of opportunities for things to go wrong. Outdated drivers don’t always get along with the newest games and other programs.

    An uncooperative outdated driver can cause screen flickering, stuttering and lags, seemingly random error messages, and even program crashes. An overworked GPU can also cause problems, so be sure to keep an eye on your GPU temperature while gaming or performing other graphics-intensive tasks.

    An error message in Red Dead Redemption 2 for Windows 10

    If you’re building your own PC or upgrading one you already own, GPU manufacturers want you to choose their own products — so they’re usually quite transparent about what they’re working on. AMD’s April 2020 driver update for their Radeon GPU included a ton of bug fixes, and they’re very open about how they plan on continuing to solve these issues in future updates.

    Enjoy new features and options

    In the fight for GPU supremacy, the big-name manufacturers have been trying to outdo each other with new features and options in their graphics driver updates. A quick driver update can result in more features and greater performance optimization and customization through the many new tools made available.

    A recent NVIDIA driver update promises to reduce latency for competitive Call of Duty gamers through their NVIDIA Reflex system. And AMD’s recent driver update for industry professionals includes support for high-res video capture and streaming.

    When to update your graphics driver

    NVIDIA, AMD, and many other GPU manufacturers all offer automatic updates for their drivers. So if you’re using one of those, you won’t need to worry about updating your drivers yourself. But if you do prefer to update your drivers manually, it’s good practice to check for updates at least every few months.

    If you’re not regularly updating your drivers, you need to consider a driver update if:

    • You’re experiencing graphical problems and don’t know why. Many issues arise because of a faulty driver. If your screen is flickering or lagging, if things don’t look right, and if your games and apps start unexpectedly crashing, check out your driver.

    • Your Device Manager shows an exclamation mark icon. This is Windows’s signal that something is wrong with a given component of your computer.

      Device Manager showing a graphics driver error in Windows 10
    • You want your games and apps to look and run better. As mentioned above, updated graphics drivers can boost performance significantly. If your favorite game or other program isn’t working well, check if there’s a driver update available.

    AVG Driver Updater takes all the guesswork out of updating your drivers — not just your graphics driver, but all of them. With millions of drivers in its database, Driver Updater will easily and automatically source updated drivers and install them for all the hardware in your PC.

    Updating your graphics driver couldn't be easier

    With AVG Driver Updater, it’s incredibly easy to update your graphics driver as well as all the other drivers on your PC. Forget about hunting down new drivers and going without the latest features and performance boosts simply because you’ve forgotten to update. With an extensive database covering over 100 of the top manufacturers, AVG Driver Updater will make sure you always have the latest drivers for all your computer’s hardware.

    Try a free scan today to see which drivers you’re missing.

    Optimize your Android with AVG Cleaner

    Free install

    Protect your iPhone against threats with AVG Mobile Security

    Free install
    Ivan Belcic