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Today I see that there's an update to my graphics card driver (NVidia GT 220) available on Windows Update. Should I install that, or stick to the drivers provided by the manufacturer?

(Re-asked here after asking on gaming.stackexchange).

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Odds are, the manufacturer's version of the drivers is newer, just not "certified."

In the olden days you would have been told to never take the Windows Update video drivers. Instead, you would use that update notice as a trigger to go visit the card's chipset site for drivers.

These days, for casual users I've really not had issues with the Windows Update versions. If I were a hard core gamer (I'm not) I would probably stick with manufacturer's versions though.

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I generally avoid Windows Update drivers for graphics cards (performance), network cards (they tend to break), touchpads (also break), and audio (performance/break). That leaves... um... I'm sure I can think of something... oh yeah - displays. You can install the windows update driver for your monitor.

  • But if you use a complicated monitor, then it can break color calibration sometimes. – AndrejaKo Sep 3 '10 at 16:20
  • I would probably use WU drivers for MS Keyboards and Mice. – afrazier Sep 3 '10 at 18:01
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As the driver is a third party update, Microsoft doesn't write drivers for other companies hardware, it has gone through WHQL. If there is an update it is going to be newer and was released by the card manufacturer (NVidia).

There could be even newer drivers from NVidia, and often are, if you look on their site but the WHQL version is what they got certified from Microsoft. Check NVidia for newer drivers if you want the latest but to get certified use the Windows Update version.

I never have issues with the Windows Update versions as they are submitted to MS to be stable and resolve issues found in older versions of drivers.

  • What?? On nVidia's site all drivers diplayed by default are WHQL certified! Only if you go to the clearly marked Beta site can you find the uncertified drivers. Take this for example: nvidia.com/object/win7-winvista-64bit-258.96-whql-driver.html It clearly says that the driver is WHQL certified. – AndrejaKo Sep 3 '10 at 16:17
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    I guess I stated that wrong, you are correct; NVidia is very good with WHQL. What I meant is often there are newer drivers from venders than what they give MS. Intel for example doesn't WHQL all the drivers or release them on WU so going to the site is best. Not all venders do this but some do, in general it is best to go look just to be safe. – David Remy Sep 3 '10 at 18:23
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As a long time nVidia user, I believe that it is best to download stable drivers from nVidia's site.

If the drivers are less than 3-4 days old, it may be a good idea to wait until they are at least a week old. One time they released bad drivers as stable. It was fixed almost immediately, but some people had problems. If I remember correcctly, the bad drivers were also WHQL certified.

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    There were WHQL certified and the glitch was the fan speed not going above idle when set to auto. Lot of people lost graphics cards that day. – AttackingHobo Sep 6 '10 at 2:23
  • @AttackingHobo Yes, such things happen, but the point in this talk is that Windows will usually install older or worse drivers than the ones available from the manufacturer's site. – Overmind Apr 9 '19 at 7:29

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