Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Rebooting may be necessary, but deleting the old driver typically is not.
Is it necessary to uninstall an existing nVidia graphics card driver before installing an upgraded version?
In this excerpt from Answercast #16, I take a look at the way drivers update and why you often need to reboot.
Typically, the answer is "No." There's no reason to most of the time.
When you get new drivers for just about anything, regardless of where you get them from (be it from Windows Update or as a direct download from the manufacturer), the installation program for the driver should replace the driver that's in place. In other words, it should simply upgrade the driver that's already there without causing any kind of problem.
The worst case (and it's probably not even that bad of a case, but it's something to be aware of) is that there's a good chance that you'll need to reboot your machine as part of that upgrade process. Drivers, and in particular video drivers, often interact with a system at a relatively low level. When upgrading, you're asking the system to change something while it's currently being used.
So, normally what happens is the setup program puts everything in place. It leaves some instructions, and when Windows reboots, it finalizes those last steps of the upgrade. Once you're rebooted, you're running with the upgraded drivers.
Next from Answercast #16 - How can I get my volume back louder, like it used to be?
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