Update your video drivers after installing Windows 7

Windows 7 can fail to detect and download drivers for graphics cards

I just installed Windows 7 on a Compaq laptop that was previously running Vista. It was a clean install, meaning I wiped the hard drive rather than simply upgrading the OS. (I had my reasons for doing so, but I won't bore you with them here.)

The install went perfectly, with one exception: the display wasn't running at its maximum, native resolution (which on this system is 1,200 by 800). Instead, it was stuck at a rather chunky 800 by 600, and when I went to increase it (by right-clicking the desktop and choosing Screen resolution), the only option was 1,024 by 768--still shy of optimal.

What happened? Simple: Windows 7 had failed to detect and download drivers for the laptop's ATI Radeon video hardware. Thus, I had to grab them manually, which was surprisingly easy:


1. Click Start, type device manager, then press Enter.

2. Expand the tree for Display adapters. You should see an entry that says "Standard VGA" or something similar.

3. Right-click that entry, then click Update Driver Software.

4. Click Search automatically for updated driver software. Windows should be able to locate, download, and install the proper drivers for your video hardware, as it did on my Compaq.

When it's all done, you'll need to reboot. When Windows starts up again, your display should be running at its optimal resolution. If not, right-click somewhere on the desktop, choose Screen resolution, and choose your desired setting. Easy-peasy!

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags pc componentsgraphics cardsWindows 7

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Deals on Good Gear Guide

Deals on Good Gear Guide


Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs


Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?