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If you're having graphics card problems, try a clean driver install

If you’re suffering from software bugs or other problems with your graphics card, one of the first things to try is performing a clean installation of your drivers. That point was driven home for PC gamers this week when AMD, in a post announcing WHQL certification for its bug-squashing new Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.2.2 driver, told gamers to factory reset the software if they encounter futher issues.

It’s a great reminder. Performing a clean install won’t fix GPU issues all the time, but it’ll sure fix them a lot of the time.

Modern graphics card drivers are complicated beasts, sinking hooks deep into your computer. Considering that both AMD and Nvidia’s drivers weigh in at roughly half a gigabyte, they’re some of the more complex software on your PC. They build atop your existing installation, and that’s generally a good thing! It keeps your existing settings intact. But express-installing drivers can cause issues sometimes. Performing a clean install starts over from scratch, potentially eradicating conflicts that can manifest as bugs or performance issues. I even do it every now and again on my personal rig, just for general system health.

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How to factory reset (clean install) Radeon graphics drivers.

“Often, many problems can be resolved with a clean installation of our driver,” AMD’s Warren Eng said in the company’s post. “In order to perform a clean installation, you must select the ‘Factory Reset’ option at the beginning of the installation process. Once this is selected, old instances of the driver will be removed, and the uninstaller will restart your system before the new driver installation begins.”


If you have a GeForce graphics card, resetting the drivers takes a slightly different (but still simple) process. Start the installation process, click Custom install, and make sure to check the “Perform a clean installation” box. From there, complete the task normally.

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