If you have an Nvidia GPU, you should feel lucky, because they are getting harder to find these days. But having a GeForce GTX or RTX graphics card from Nvidia isn’t enough.
If you want your games to run at the best settings possible, you’ll need to make sure that the drivers for the device are always up to date. Nvidia changes its driver software often, and these updates can make the difference between a game that runs well and one that runs amazingly well.
If you have the right tools, updating Nvidia drivers is a very simple process. Once you’ve downloaded the Nvidia GeForce Experience software, you only need two clicks to get the latest drivers. There are other, more complicated ways to update your drivers, but you shouldn’t have to worry about them unless you run into technical problems along the way.
How to update Nvidia Drivers
1. Download the Nvidia GeForce Experience software
There are other ways to get Nvidia drivers, like using Windows Update, Device Manager, or looking through Nvidia’s website, but for most people, the GeForce Experience software is the fastest and easiest way.
GeForce Experience gives you new drivers before Windows does, and it also makes your games run better after Windows does. Depending on whether you are a gamer or a graphic artist, you can also choose between drivers that are optimized for games or for the studio.
Visit the Nvidia GeForce Experience page, click Download Now, and install the program to get the software. This part of the process is almost impossible to mess up.
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2. Check for Updates
When you first run the GeForce Experience software, you’ll need to set up an Nvidia account to use all of its features. This doesn’t really need a full explanation, though, because the steps are the same as when you set up an online account.
Just make sure to follow all the usual safety rules: don’t use old passwords, turn on two-factor authentication, etc. (Check out our guide on how to make strong passwords.)
From there, go to the tab called “Drivers” and click “Check for updates.” If the program has been open for a few minutes, it may have already checked for a driver on its own. Either way, if there is a new driver, you’ll see a green button that says “Download.”
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3. Select Your Driver Type (optional)
If the main reason you got your Nvidia GPU was to play games, you should be good to go. But if you are a graphic artist, you will have to do one more thing. You should click on the three vertical periods next to the Check for Updates box instead of running the default driver.
Here, you can choose between a Studio driver and a Game-ready driver. The first one is for games, and the second one is for artistic apps. You can only have one loaded at a time, but you can switch between them whenever you want.
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4. Download and Install Your Driver
Once you’ve chosen your driver, all you have to do is click the Download button. The drivers are usually a few hundred megabytes, so this part of the process shouldn’t take long, based on how fast your connection is.
Installation is also pretty easy, but there is one choice you have to make along the way. Express Installation adds everything that Nvidia thinks is useful, including audio drivers, PhysX features, and other extra software that you may or may not want. With custom installation, you can choose what you want to install.
Express Installation is a good choice for most people, as long as your computer doesn’t have too little room. But if you choose the Custom choice, you can always reinstall extra features later, so there’s no real downside there either.
All you have to do is that. The rest will be taken care of by the Nvidia GeForce Experience software. As long as you turn on the software and check for changes about once every few weeks, your GPU should keep running at its best for a long time.
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Alternate Driver Update Methods
As was already said, you don’t have to use the Nvidia GeForce Experience app to update your Nvidia drivers. You can also do this through Windows Update or Device Manager, though Windows doesn’t recognize new changes until weeks after Nvidia puts them out.
But if you’re having trouble installing a new driver, the best thing to do is go straight to Nvidia’s website. Here, you can choose your GPU from a list of dropdown choices, then download and install the driver update right away.
The steps here are pretty easy to understand, but if you’re not sure which GPU you have, run dxdiag. (In Windows, type “dxdiag” into the search box and run the tool that appears. Under the Display tab, you’ll find details about your GPU.