If I install wrong drivers manually or via a driver update software for my GPU, BIOS or anything else in my PC - can it cause the part to fail? I have already lost two laptops from onboard GPU failure (even though I cleaned them frequently and I used a cooler).

I know that the main reason of GPU failure is dust and the usage of GPU in its limits, both causing overheating, but I want to be sure that I will not damage any part of my PC by installing a wrong driver.

  • It is, in theory, possible to "kill" some varieties of hardware with the wrong (or simply defective) software -- unlikely but possible. You could kill old CRT monitors, eg, by sending them the wrong sweep frequencies, and I have seen a cellphone literally melt due to the processor being caught in a "tight" loop and overheating. The most likely way of killing a susceptible GPU would be a similar overheat scenario. Apr 16, 2014 at 11:35

2 Answers 2


You can't kill hardware by installing the wrong drivers. You can certainly make it function improperly, but the hardware itself won't die or 'Brick'. The only way to kill hardware with a software update is to install the wrong firmware directly to the hardware, which is nothing to do with drivers.

  • 1
    This isn't entirely true, since quite a few devices do not have a persistent firmware storage. Instead, the firmware is loaded by the driver. A prime example would be Intel's WiFi hardware.
    – Daniel B
    Apr 17, 2014 at 17:50

Yes, drivers can cause damage to hardware.

Any software that changes mechanical behaviour/core frequency/voltage can cause hardware to fail.

For instance, nVidia released driver that made GPU fans idle when high temp. That fried many cards.

(even though I cleaned them frequently and I used a cooler).

I clean PC monthly (using pressured air, checking fans - full service). Yet, recently Win10 auto-updated nVidia drivers. After reboot saw BSoD(Power_failure) and crazy artefacts. Card does not display anything but columns with horizontal white lines.

SO yeah, it's good to keep in mind that such things can happen, especially with GPU.

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