The process is quite painless and if you follow the guide carefully it should only take about 10 minutes.
Note: The example pictures used in the tutorial below are from a laptop that has Windows 8.1 installed running on an AMD A6-5200 APU installed. Results may vary slightly depending on OS (Windows 7/Vista/XP 64 or 32 bit) and hardware configuration. I will strive to maintain maximum broadness and compatibility with as many configurations as possible.
Before You Start You might want to…
This is probably the easiest part of the already simple process. All you have to do is uninstall your drivers. What if you don’t know how to do that? Here’s how:1) Open up your Control Panel and click on Uninstall a program.2) On your Programs List, find and double click on the AMD Catalyst Install Manager. The Nvidia Equivalent is the Nvidia Control Panel.3) Depending on your configuration this may appear differently. When the window pops up all you have to do is click on the express uninstall option and after it finishes, perform a reboot. (even if it doesn’t ask you or tell you to reboot, it is recommended that you reboot anyway)
Part 2: After the Reboot
Okay so you got your computer all rebooted up. Now here we’re going to a little searching around.
1) Before we do anything you’ll need to be sure you have the ability to see hidden folders. Click on View at the top of the Windows Explorer window and make sure the Hidden Items checkbox is marked.
2) Now while you’re here, navigate to the root of your windows partition (aka C:\) and delete the AMD/Nvidia folder that is in there.
3) Since you are still at C:\ do you see that somewhat gray and shaded out folder that is called ProgramData down the list? Open it up and delete any AMD/Nvidia folders that are inside. Also if you see any ATI folders at anytime during the uninstall process be sure to delete them too. (This applies only to AMD users.)
Inside the C:\ProgramData folder:
4) Okay now go back to C:\. From here go to both Program Files and Program Files (x86). Delete any AMD/Nvidia folders inside of them. (The (x86) version of the folder may not appear for 32 bit versions of Windows. Do not worry this is perfectly normal.)
The two highlighted folders which contain AMD/Nvidia folders which are to be deleted:
5) Now navigate to C:\Users\Your_Username\. Here you’ll see another one of those grayed out folders and this one will be called AppData. Click on it.
6) In here you should encounter usually 2 or 3 folders. Go inside the folders named Local and Roaming. Delete any AMD/Nvidia folders inside of them. (Ignore LocalLow if it shows up for you.)
Part 3: Editing the Registry
This will be the final section of the uninstall process (You’re almost done!). Unfortunately this part tends to scare some people off as they are not familiar with editing the registry. Do not edit any values that are not specified in this guide. I am also not responsible for any wrongly deleted values or entries (but if you accidentally messed up and need someone to ask for help I’ll do my best to assist )
1) For those who are not aware of how to access the registry, I’ll tell you how. Open up the start menu and in the box type in regedit and click on the program that appears on the list with the same name.
2) Here you’ll be greeted by some big and scary looking folders. Just hold my hand and don’t worry. Let’s start at the second folder which is named HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Navigate from HKEY_CURRENT_USER and go to the Software folder. Delete any AMD/Nvidia folders.
View of the start of the Registry Editor:
The HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ folder tree
3) Now after you delete the folders from Software navigate back to the beginning of the Registry editor. Now from here go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE. Delete any AMD/Nvidia folders.
4) Now go back to the beginning of the Registry Editor again. Pay close attention as this part may trip up some people. Open up the HKEY_USERS folder. From here you’ll see some odd folders that may look like this:
Don’t start worrying about how complex it’s going to be. Simply start from .DEFAULT\Software\ and delete any AMD/Nvidia folders.
5) Okay go back to HKEY_USERS. You may have noticed those weird looking folders that look like S-1-5-18 and such. Check all these folders for Software folders that may contain any AMD/Nvidia folders which require deleting (I’m sure you get the idea of what to do by now). If you don’t find any in some of them don’t worry about it. (Note: There is no need to check the very last folder in the HKEY_USERS folder. It is not related to this guide)
6) After you’ve checked all the folders under HKEY_USERS, perform a reboot and you’re done with the uninstall process!
Part 5: Reinstalling your drivers…. RIGHT
Well I’m sure if you installed them before, surely you know how to install them again? All you have to do is navigate to AMD or Nvidia’s website and find the appropriate (latest) drivers for your GPU (Don’t know what drivers to choose? Just ask us here on tom’s if you are unsure! We’re happy to help).
Before you start the installer
I would recommend you create a system restore. (again if you already did it before the uninstall earlier) Please refer to the earlier part in the guide on how to create a system restore.
Here is how driver installations get messed up. Make sure you have no other programs open (including the browser you may possibly be reading this on). This includes everything. Skype, Firefox, Photoshop, Steam and more. Everything. The reason why it is heavily recommended you close everything during any driver install (and update) is because sometimes, any program may interfere with the driver installation and corrupt some files. (Especially ones that utilize some of the same Microsoft .NET redistributions as the driver installations.)
Just follow your installer and install all the software components you desire (Some people such as me tend to uncheck the GeForce Experience or AMD Gaming Evolved App as they are usually completely unnecessary but if you like it keep it.)
Congratulations! You’ve completely uninstalled and reinstalled your GPU drivers
Now celebrate by going and playing some games. Hope this solves any driver issues people are experiencing.