How to Install a New Video Card in Your Dell Desktop PC


Installing a new video card is the third most popular upgrade for desktop computers. If you want sharper, brighter graphics and better performance, consider upgrading your video card. It's not difficult to install the video card in a Dell desktop PC yourself, as long as you follow a few simple precautions.

Things You'll Need

  • Small Phillips screwdriver
  • Dell desktop computer
  • Compatible video card
  • Installation CD with drivers
  • Choose a video card that is compatible with your monitor and your computer.

  • Check the video-card manufacturer's Web site for the latest drivers and patches for your new video card.

  • Copy the video-card installation files to your hard drive, or have the CD with the installation files handy if there are no new updates.

  • Before you turn off your computer, uninstall the drivers for your current video card using the Uninstall utility if there is one on your Start Menu.

  • Open the Device Manager and locate your Display Adapter. Click "Remove" to uninstall the drivers and tell Windows to use the default video drivers.

  • Shut down your computer.

  • Disconnect the power cord from your computer.

  • Open the case, following your computer manual's instructions.

  • Locate the current video card by finding the monitor plug on the back of the computer.

  • Disconnect any cables to the video card, and unscrew the retaining screw that secures the card in place.

  • Remove the old video card by pulling it straight out of the socket.

  • Remove the new video card from its anti-static packaging and line it up with the video card slot. Make sure that the metal bracket with the monitor connector is lined up with the open slot in the back of the computer.

  • Press the new video card into the card slot gently until it is completely seated.

  • Connect any power cables to the power supply.

  • Secure the video card in place with a screw through the card bracket into the computer case.

  • Close up the case following the computer manual's instructions and reconnect all the cables to your computer.

  • Power up your computer. Windows will detect the new video card and prompt you through the installation process.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the old video card doesn't remove easily, try rocking it gently from end to end in the card slot to dislodge it.
  • Opening your computer case may void your warranty. If this is a concern, have your new video card professionally installed.
  • Always follow safety precautions for working inside your computer. The slightest bit of static electricity can damage internal circuits or your video card. Ground yourself or use an ESD wrist strap to prevent damaging your computer.

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