Quick ? on Driver Install


May 1, 2004
The old Nvidia drivers used to tell you to uninstall the present drivers before installing the new ones. I noticed the the new drivers don't do that. Is the program uninstalling for you, or is uninstalling now irrevelant?

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Dec 8, 2002
Keep uninstalling the old drivers first.

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Dec 31, 2007
Interestingly enough, I haven't un-installed a driver before updating to a new version in a long, long time. And I'm talking about going from a 23.xx version to the driver I'm currently using ... the 53.03 (which I prefer for the moment, due to better compatibility with StyleXP and third-party themes).

Much of the problems that used to arise when a user updated the driver occurred because of corruption in the setup.exe or an essential library file. Which usually happened because of intermittent problems during the download, especially if some kind of download manager was involved in the process.

I <i>only</i> install manually, by extracting new driver files into a folder, and then updating through the Device Manager. It's a sixty second change (or so), plus a reboot. However, if I don't like the effects of a driver, I don't necessarily rely on the driver rollback feature in WinXP, or just reinstall the older driver. I prefer to go back to a completely stable setup using a verified image of the OS, stored either on optical media, or on a hard drive partition.

This doesn't mean that you can't return to the older driver through the Device Manager, as I've done that, too ... with no unusual effects, afterwards.

Recently, I found it a luxury to be able to return to the 53.03 driver in this manner (ala an image), as I while I liked the additional Desktop Manager features in the 56.72 driver ... I didn't like some of the graphical changes that went along with the driver, such as the way window settings were retained (not!) after launching frequently used programs. And themes, once altered by a user, apparently could not consistently retain new settings.

And so ... while it's almost certainly the best advice to remove the older drivers before updating; in actuality, if the update is done manually on a well-maintained system, the chance of problems occurring afterwards appears to be minimal. I've really lost track of the video drivers I've installed on my main system over the past couple of years, without removing the older ones ahead of time. The only time I went back to VGA mode, and reinstalled a current driver, was after replacing the video card. But I still didn't un-install the driver; I just un-installed the video card in the Device Manager, booted into VGA mode, re-installed DirectX 9.0B, added the driver so the new card was detected correctly, and rebooted.

For those who think it's basically just common sense to remove the driver ... well, ordinarily, I'd agree. It certainly can't hurt to start over from scratch. Whatever lifts your skirt. But my past experience shows that updating manually really has no deleterious effects on the average system. I've seen no odd effects in games; frame rates are still optimal for whatever card I may be running at the time, benchmarks are well within range, no display corruption, etc.

But ... to play Devil's Advocate, if you insist on installing the driver using the setup.exe (for whatever reason), I'd have to insist that you un-install the older driver first, to avoid possible complications.

Honestly, this isn't about being lazy. The fact is, if it ain't broke, why fix it? I used to uninstall every single video card driver before updating, and this included manually deleting files in the system folders ... and if I wanted to be really anal, editing the Registry. But these days, with the comparative stability of most of nVidia's releases, and the ease that WinXP allows in changing drivers ... I really don't see the point of the overkill-style of behavior, unless you are using a pre-NT release of Windows.

Techs like shortcuts. I'll take this one.


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