Installing the driver

After turning on the PC, Windows will detect the new card during the process and announce this with a dialog box informing you that it found new hardware and launching the new hardware wizard. As mentioned earlier, there are two common ways to install the driver for the card. Check with the manufacturers installation instructions to see which way to go.

If it requires you to run the setup program instead of using the Windows hardware wizard, cancel the hardware wizard, let Windows finish booting, then open Windows Explorer, go to the folder where you saved the driver to earlier and run the setup program.

If Windows has a standard driver already in its driver database, it might just prompt you for the Windows CD and install the driver automatically.

Otherwise, use the hardware wizard to install the driver. As described earlier, select the option to Display a list of all devices in a specific location. But this time push the button Have Disk. You’ll get a Browse dialog window that you use to maneuver to the folder on your hard drive that contains the downloaded driver, and select it.

Hint: When you use the hardware wizard to install the card, Windows needs a certain file with the extension .inf, e.g. setup.inf, which contains the installation instructions. When you use the Browse button to point Windows to the driver files, you need to point it to the folder that contains the .inf file for the video driver.

Now you’ll get a list of one or more video cards. Select the one that you just installed and follow the instructions of the wizard to complete the installation. At the end you’ll be prompted to reboot the system again to finish the installation.

Configure the settings

Once Windows has rebooted, make sure that it worked by going to Start/Settings/Control Panel, double-clicking Display and selecting the Settings tab. Click the Advanced button, select the Adapter tab and check to make sure that now shows the name of your new video card listed here. At the bottom of the Adapter screen will be a dropdown menu for the refresh rate. Make sure it is set to optimal.

Still in the Adapter Properties window, go to the General tab and and select to Apply the new settings without restarting. It will save you a reboot if you change the resolution or colors later.

Then cancel out of the Adapter Properties dialog and go back to the Settings screen. Here you can now choose the desktop resolution you want. If you have a 15″ monitor, 800×600 would be a good setting. If you have a 17″ screen, 800×600 or 1024×768 are good. If you have a 19″ monitor, 1024×768 or 1280×1024 are good settings. Experiment a bit to find the one that’s best for you. Select a resolution and click the Apply button. You’ll get a warning that Windows will resize the desktop. Just click OK to continue. The screen will flicker for a second and then reappear with the new setting. You’ll see a message asking you whether you want to keep this new setting. You have 15 seconds to decide. If you click Yes, it will stay that way and you’re all set. If you don’t like it, or if the monitor doesn’t support that size, just wait 15 seconds and it will return to the previous setting.

Then choose the color setting you want. 16 colors or 256 colors is pretty basic and ugly. Try 16-bit/High Color or maybe even 32-bit/True Color for great picture quality. Use the Apply button as described in the previous paragraph to apply the new color setting.

The last thing you might have to adjust is the monitor itself. After installing a new video card, you will usually find the picture sized incorrectly and/or positioned incorrectly. Simply use the monitors menu to adjust picture size and location.

That’s it! You have successfully installed and configured your new video card. Now fire up your favorite graphics app to see the difference. Or fire up Quake or Half-life and kiss your life good-bye because you’ll be ecstatic how good it looks with the new card and be hooked for good.


– Alex –

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