How to Update Your ATI Graphics Driver in Microsoft Windows

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This article illustrates how to update the graphics driver for your ATI/AMD graphics card under the Microsoft Windows Xp or Vista Operating System.
By following these easy instructions you will learn how to update the driver to fix any bugs and/or to obtain the best gaming experience possible with your specific card.

Things You'll Need

  • A computer with an ATI graphics card.
  • Microsoft Windows Operating System (Xp or Vista).
  • GPU-Z from TechPowerUp.
  • The latest driver update.
  • An internet connection (to retreive the above two items).
  • A few minutes of free time.
  • Download and Run GPU-Z to Identify Your Graphics Card.

    After starting up your computer, if you have not already done so, open your web browser of choice (examples being Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera) and go to: "http://www.techpowerup.com". Once there navigate to the "Downloads" Section and find "GPU-Z". Click the "Download Now" link on the right of the page. When prompted choose to save the file (instead of running it as some browsers offer) in a easily located folder, such as your desktop. Once the download completes, locate and double click on the file. Once the main window of the program opens, look for the "Name" field, and identify your graphics card. (As an example, in the screen shot the name of our graphics card is "ATI Radeon HD 3800 Series").

  • Download the Latest Driver for your Graphics Card.

    Now that you have identified your graphics card, you now need to obtain the proper driver. There are two main websites to download the file from. The first is the website of your computer manufacturer (Examples are: Dell and HP), and the second (and the one covered here) is that of the graphics card manufacturer. Open up a web browser and go to: "www.ati.amd.com/support/driver". Click on the link that reads "Download Graphics Drivers." You will then choose your OS, graphics card family, and product. Once you have done so, click the green "go" link. You will then be taken to the download page. For the English version, click on the link under "Full Catalyst Suite," otherwise select your language and click on the two download links under "Individual Components." Save the file(s) in an easy to find location like your desktop.

  • Un-install the Old (current) Graphics Driver.

    Before you can install the new graphics driver you must uninstall the old one. Go to the Control Panel by clicking the Start button and then "Control Panel". Navigate to "Add or Remove Programs" in Xp or "Uninstall a program" (under the "Programs" category) in Vista and Windows 7. Find the listing for Catalyst Install Manager and choose change. A window will open. Choose next and then click the radio button that reads "Express unistall ALL ATI Software". Choose next again and complete the unistall. After it is completed, when prompted, restart your computer.

  • Install The New Driver.

    Once your computer has rebooted, log back in to your user account. Find the file you downloaded in Step 2 and double click on it. This will begin the install. Click the radio button in the "Welcome" section (see photo) that reads "Custom". Then choose next. Then Choose the components you would like to install. For example you may or may not want to install a trial for World of Warcraft, wich is offered with some drivers, and so by checking the box next to that item you choose whether or not to install it. The required items are the first three in the list: Catalyst Install Manager, Catalyst Control Center, and of course the ATI Display Driver. When you are ready, click next. After it has installed, and when prompted, restart your computer.

  • Cleanup and Enjoy!

    Though you may want to keep the GPU-Z program, the installer for the graphics driver is no longer necessary and may be deleted to save disk space. You have just finished updating your computer with the latest graphics card driver!

Tips & Warnings

  • You will need Administrative privileges to make these changes.
  • If possible, check the website of your computer manufacturer for updated drivers before checking the website of the graphics card manufacturer. This is because, especially with notebooks, some computer OEMs (such as Dell and HP) use customized drivers.
  • In step 3: Choosing to unistall all software is not the only option, but it is the easiest way.
  • After booting up from the restart in step 3 your display will be running at a low resolution, making everything look large. Do not worry, this is normal. Your display will return to normal once you install the new driver.
  • If you run your display at a different resolution than what windows assigns after the restart in Step 4, simply go to the display options and select the correct resolution.
  • Make backups of your data before beginning.
  • Although updating your graphics card driver is very safe and easy to do, the fact still remains that you are making changes to your system and there is always the chance something could go wrong.
  • Disclaimer: Neither I nor eHow (and it's affiliates) are responsible for any damage caused as a result of following this guide.
  • Photo Credit Tim Verry, AMD, TechPowerUp
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