How to Properly Install a Video Card

by Bert Markgraf Google

    Computers process stored information and input signals to generate images and sounds. To view the images on a computer monitor, you need a printed circuit board called a video card. This card holds the electronics that convert the internal computer signals into a signal that a monitor can use to display the images. Video cards fit into special slots on the motherboard of the computer and have output sockets which face the back of the machine. Once installed and connected to the monitor, the video card lets you see the computer's user interface and play videos, movies or look at photographs.

    Uninstall the Old Video Card Driver

    Step 1

    Click the Start button and type "Device Manager" into the search box. Click "Device Manager" in the list that appears or press "Enter" if "Device Manager" is the first option listed.

    Step 2

    Double-click "Display adapters" in the Device Manager window. Right-click the display adapter you are replacing and click "Uninstall."

    Step 3

    Follow the instructions on the screen. When the uninstall process is complete, shut down the computer. Pull out the power plug at the rear of the computer.

    Insert the Video Card

    Step 1

    Slip the grounding strap onto your wrist to avoid causing damage to the electronics from static electricity. Connect the other end to an unpainted metal part of the computer case.

    Step 2

    Unscrew the screws holding the computer cover in place using the Phillips screw driver. Unplug cables from the back of the computer if necessary, taking note of where they were connected. Slide off the computer case cover.

    Step 3

    Look for the socket that was connected to the monitor to identify the old video card. Use the Phillips screw driver to unscrew the screw at the top of the metal bracket holding the card in place. If the card has a small lever holding it down at the base, near the motherboard, flip the lever open.

    Step 4

    Pull the card straight up, rocking it gently to loosen it. Hold it by the card body, not touching the contacts or components.

    Step 5

    Insert the new video card in the slot. Flip the lever at the base shut if there is one. Screw in the screw that you removed previously at the top of the metal bracket.

    Step 6

    Slide the cover back onto the computer and use the Phillips screw driver to screw in the cover screws. Reconnect any cables you disconnected and reconnect the power plug. Make sure the monitor cable is now connected to the new video card.

    Install the Drivers

    Step 1

    Switch on the computer. Wait for Windows to load to see if Windows automatically installs the drivers for your new video card.

    Step 2

    If Windows installs the new drivers automatically, test the video card performance by watching video or playing a game. If not, check the manual of the video card and follow the procedure for installing the drivers from the driver CD.

    Step 3

    Make sure you are connected to the Internet. Click the Start button and type "Device Manager." Double-click "Display Adapters" and right-click the new display adapter. Click "Update Driver Software" to get the latest versions of the video drivers.

    Tips

    • Make sure you have a copy of the old video card driver in case the new card doesn't work and you have to reinstall the old one.

    Warnings

    • Without using a ground strap, you risk discharging static electricity that can fry the electronic components on the video card and in the computer. Make sure you are grounded to the computer case.

    Required Items

    • Video card driver CD
    • Video card manual
    • Grounding strap
    • Phillips screw driver

    About the Author

    Bert Markgraf is a freelance writer with a strong science and engineering background. He started writing technical papers while working as an engineer in the 1980s. More recently, after starting his own business in IT, he helped organize an online community for which he wrote and edited articles as managing editor, business and economics. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images