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Windows XP SP3 32-bit, AMD 3800+ 2x core 64bit CPU at 2GHz, PCIe graphics slot, SB Live!, 4GB RAM (with the usual 3GB cap thing going on; too busy/lazy to change it)

Last night my XFX Radeon HD 4770 finally kicked the bucket. He put in something like 6 years of almost 100% system uptime, so he earned his retirement. Unfortunately, my onboard video card doesn't have a DVI port and I don't have a VGA cable. I went to Canada Computers to buy a cable, and found an inexpensive Sapphire Radeon HD 6450, so I just bought that instead, because RMAing the 4770 would cost money for shipping, and then I'd have to wait, etc., so this is just faster and cleaner. So far, so good.

When I plugged in the new card and booted up, my computer came up fine, and it auto-detected the 6450, and I installed the drivers. However, I never got a chance to uninstall the drivers from my 4770. I immediately had problems with the 6450, in the form of draw issues, screen refreshes and system crashes, to the point that I was thinking about manually removing all the driver files in order to start from scratch (because when I uninstalled via Device Manager, it just reinstalled right away again).

After I made my list of driver files, I decided to try turning off all hardware acceleration, and it managed to run for a couple minutes, but then it froze anyway. I removed the card and just for fun put the 4770 back in, and it's running fine now for some reason. However, I noticed that the list of driver files is identical to what I saw for the 6450.

That suggests to me that the new card was trying to use the old drivers, which would obviously be a problem. My question is, is this theory plausible? Is this what happens when you are unable to uninstall your previous card properly before installing a new card?

And in furtherance of my situation, since it's entirely likely this will happen again, what is the correct way to uninstall my 4770 the next time this happens?

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You don't RMA 6 year old hardware. – Ramhound May 14 '13 at 16:02
XFX gives a lifetime warranty – DiMono May 15 '13 at 16:42

AMD ships unified drivers called Catalyst (and has since 2003). There shouldn't be separate drivers for two (modern) AMD graphics cards. The drivers contain the code for both cards.

Now there could sometimes be installation and configuration issues. Uninstalling and then reinstalling the latest catalyst release should solve those issues. Also double check the Device Manager to ensure Windows is only seeing the new card. You can remove the old card from there if still present.

When switching between AMD and nVidia cards you should uninstall the old drivers first (if possible) and then install the new drivers.

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Once I put the 4770 back in, the software for the 6450 told me it couldn't find an AMD card installed. So I think the 4770 is not compatible with the April 23 installation of Catalyst. – DiMono May 14 '13 at 3:34
I have confirmed that the 4770 and the 6450 run on different sets of drivers. There is one Catalyst installation for Radeon 2xxx 3xxx 4xxx, and a different Catalyst installation for Radeon 5xxx 6xxx and 7xxx. I'm currently downloading the latest 4xxx Catalyst install, which will update my drivers from 8.872 to, after one of the drivers randomly crashed when I left my computer on last night. – DiMono May 14 '13 at 12:13
Uh, edit to my previous comment: the new driver is 8.970.100.7, not 8.872. Don't know where that came from. – DiMono May 14 '13 at 15:15
@DiMono - Its not driver support for 4770 was dropped awhile ago. You should be able to just install the current version of Catalyst. – Ramhound May 14 '13 at 16:03
The AMD website had new drivers for 4xxx series from January, and a beta driver available from April. I don't think its support is as derelict as you think it is. – DiMono May 15 '13 at 16:45

When deleting drivers from Device Manager did you select View>Show Hidden Devices, then delete all the drivers for old and new to get a fresh start?

That was key when I was switching from testing an ATI Radeon X1950 Pro (circa 2006, Catalyst 9.1) back to a Radeon HD 5850 (circa 2009, Catalyst 12.x) on Windows 8 x64. I was getting crashes before the login prompt for all kinds of things like usbport.sys, ks.sys, atikmdag.sys (ATI Kernel Mode ...), etc.

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No, I didn't try that. I'll definitely keep it in mind as something to look for next time though. – DiMono May 14 '13 at 3:36

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