Removing and Wiping Drivers GuideGuest_Jim_* - May 21, 2013
» Discuss this article (2)
Nothing is forever (not even diamonds) so eventually, things must be replaced, and sometimes the best way to replace something is to completely remove it first. This holds true for video drivers, which can become corrupted for a myriad of reasons, and when this happens, the only solution is to replace them. Sometimes you can simply reinstall or repair the installation, but not always. At times like that, you have to completely remove the drivers to ensure a new installation is completely 'fresh' and will not be corrupted right off the bat.
The first step to removing your drivers is to uninstall them with the driver's own uninstaller. You do not need to know where that file is, because Windows and some software, such as CCleaner, know that for you. In Windows 7 and Vista, you can get to the uninstaller by opening the 'Control Panel,' finding the 'Programs', and selecting the 'Uninstall a Program' option. If you have the Control Panel set to view large or small icons, you are looking for the 'Programs and Features' option. Alternatively, you can go to 'Computer' or 'My Computer,' where you are shown every drive, and press the 'Uninstall or change a program' button. All three methods will take you to the same screen where you can scroll though the list to find the video drivers for your computer. In my case, they are NVIDIA graphics drivers.
If you use CCleaner, access its 'Tools' section and 'Uninstall' sub-section to view a similar list of program you can uninstall. Scroll through the list or use the search function to find the correct drivers.
Once the uninstaller is initialized, it will likely ask you to confirm that you wish to uninstall the drivers, which you must if you are following this guide. The process may take some time, depending on your system, and your screen may blink to black and lose its resolution setting. This is because your computer is switching from the preferred drivers for your video card to a generic driver baked into Windows. This generic driver often has a default resolution setting different from your monitor's native resolution and possibly even your monitor's aspect ratio. That means the image may become blurred and stretched, and while it may appear disconcerting, it is not something to worry about. Also the icons of your desktop may be moved around, due to the lower resolution. Again, this is not something to worry about as installing new graphics drivers and setting them to the correct resolution will return the icons to their proper positions.
Once the drivers are uninstalled, you will be asked to restart your computer. If all you wish to do is uninstall your drivers before installing new ones, go ahead and restart. If instead you want to completely wipe the drivers from your computer prior to installing new ones, you can wait to restart and you should read on to understand why.