Reinstall Your GPU Drivers After Every Major Windows Update

Reinstall Your GPU Drivers After Every Major Windows Update
Image: Kotaku

Microsoft has been steadily rolling out version 1903 to computers across the planet, which means it’s time for another reminder: if you haven’t reinstalled your GPU drivers since then, do it now.

In case you weren’t aware, major Microsoft updates have a bad habit of reverting some files to older driver versions. This usually only happens twice a year around the launch of the October and April content patches, unless something massive breaks and Microsoft has to roll the whole thing back and then reissue the patch all over again.

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But even when the whole update doesn’t break a bunch of your apps or fall down in its own vomit, major Microsoft updates have a nasty habit of messing with your GPU drivers. It’s a problem that happens to both AMD and Nvidia owners, and if you’ve taken a look at the Radeon Adrenaline Suite after a major Windows install, or checked GeForce Experience/Nvidia Control Panel, chances are you’ll have missed this:

That’s right — as far as Nvidia is concerned, there isn’t a GPU driver installed at all. You wouldn’t know that from looking at the desktop, because when your PC restarts after a major update, everything seems like it’s working properly. Videos play, apps open and games seem to play without much trouble. But the rollback of some driver files can result in compatibility issues, and lower performance.

Fortunately, you can resolve all of this with a clean install from your preferred graphics drivers. Both AMD and Nvidia have a clean or custom install option within their driver suite, which sets you up with a fresh version of drivers sans any previous settings from older drivers. There’s also the option of nuking all the drivers entirely with Display Driver Uninstaller, which you can get here.

So if you’ve upgraded to the latest Windows Update, then update your GPU drivers as well. Your PC will thank you.


  • Windows (Update) has been playing nicer with my GPU drivers since moving over to the new DCH standard driver. Shrug, might benefit some.

    Now if only Microsoft would fix the infuriating GPU downclock issue (wake on sleep, some games like BF3), that’d be great

  • Interesting. I’ve never actually experienced this myself, I game every day and the drivers have always been just fine. I wonder what the rate of incidence is for this?

      • I haven’t noticed any performance degradation for DX12 in 1903, but I’m also running a 2080Ti so it might be harder to see dips with that level of hardware.

    • I had this happen during the 17XX build upgrades. I imagine it might one of those low 1% cases but even 1% of a billion devices is a good chunk haha.

      I’m more annoyed that it seems every upgrade the game overlay gets turned back, which on my aging machine tends to be a performance hit

      • Yeah, 1% of a lot is still a lot. Are you talking about the game bar? I’ve legit never had that one re-enable itself either.

        • yep the game bar, i’ve moved multiple builds starting from the 15XX era and it’s happened every time. mind you my PC is 6 years old so I’m not exactly surprised if something quirky is happening especially with how early W10 builds were less then amazing

  • Windows 10 can not only revert some drivers. It can flat out delete them like they did to me.
    Its f’n infuriating when you turn on your computer after the forced updates and they have deleted several drivers and have to spend the next few hours going through all your drivers to see which ones they fucked up.

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