Computer Help - How to install a Video Card into a Computer

Summary: How to upgrade and install a video card in your PC or computer.

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This guide assumes that you have decided your current video card is not performing well with today's applications and that you have decided to remedy this situation by purchasing a newer, more up-to-date video card.

Preparing for Installation

Before you start installing a video card, make sure you have the following items with you:

  • A Phillips-head screwdriver. Fit the screwdriver into the screws on the back of your computer to make sure that it is the appropriate size.
  • The manual that came with your new video card.
  • A place to work that is not carpeted. Carpet is prone to building up static electricity.

Tip: An optional item to have is an anti-static bracelet, sometimes called a grounding wrist strap. Wearing one of these will prevent you from accidentally damaging your computer with static electricity. You don't need one, though, if you follow the steps (outlined below) to ensure your computer's safety.

The illustration below shows you what a typical video card looks like. Refer to this diagram if any of the terminology used in the instructions confuses you.

Computer video card

Different parts of a computer video card

  • Screw hole: The small hole where a screw attaches the video card to the computer case
  • Monitor port: Where the monitor cable plugs in
  • Metal bracket: Term for the metal piece attached to a video card that contains the monitor port and screw hole
  • Gold contacts: The part of the video card that actually connects to your motherboard. This is the part of the video card that gets inserted into the slot

Warning do not touch the gold contacts of your video card, or else you could damage it severely.

Removing the driver for the current video card. Windows refers to your video card as a "Display Adapter." To make the installation process easier, you must tell Windows to use its generic display adapter driver, which has settings that will work with every video card. Otherwise, your current video card settings might interfere with your new video card.

Note :If you are running Windows NT, 2000, or XP, make sure you are logged in as an Administrator. Otherwise you will be unable to complete these steps.

  1. Locate the My Computer icon
  2. Right-click the My Computer icon, and select Properties
  3. If you are in Windows 95, 98, or ME, select the Device Manager tab
  4. If you are using Windows NT, 2000, or XP, select the Hardware tab, then select the Device Manager button
  5. Double-click the menu item labelled Display adapters. Your current display adapter will appear immediately below as a separate menu item
  6. Right-click the display adapter text that has just appeared. A menu with several options will appear
  7. Select Remove or Uninstall from this menu. Figure 3 shows the Device Manager with the Uninstall option highlighted in Windows XP

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