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Install Drivers Over Existing Drivers?

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#1 yardcat


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Posted 23 September 2006 - 11:40 PM

Can drivers usually be installed 'on top of' existing drivers?

When reading the excellent Tutorial on Driver Installations at bleepingcomputer, I noticed it did not seem to say that uninstalling drivers usually needed to be done before updating them. However, I read the following quote today that that seemed to contradict my understanding.

"Before installing any new drivers, make sure to go to 'Add or Remove Programs' under the Control Panel and uninstall any previous drivers for your device, then reboot Windows, and install the new version." :thumbsup: (Quoted from: The Tweaking XP Guide at (must download) http://www.tweakguides.com/TGTC.html).

Now, I must be missing something, because it also seems that most drivers are not listed in Add/Remove Programs either!

I would like to update most of my drivers, so I just wanted to get a 'feeling' for what was the general rule (of course I will TRY to see what specific update sites say).

Thanks everyone - yardcat

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#2 Jrenter2


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 08:17 AM

Hi Yardcat,

For myself, unless the update specifically says that I need to uninstall the previous driver, I just allow the update to install over it.

I have never had any problems with doing it this way.

Hope that helps. :thumbsup:

#3 usasma


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 10:56 AM

Generally you do not need to uninstall the drivers before installing a newer version. The uninstalling them first is a precaution (and is also one of the first steps in troubleshooting driver problems).

A well-behaved driver can install over itself without any issues. But, the driver might not be well behaved, or the update may not address a problem that you're experiencing.

The most problematic of these (in my experience) was the older nVidia drivers. Even with an uninstall and a fresh install the problems would still exist. This was due to left over settings that weren't removed when you removed the drivers - and it spawned a whole series of 3rd part nVidia driver removal tools. It appears that nVidia has solved this problem and the 3rd party tools aren't needed as much - but they're still retained "just in case".
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