How to restore your screen resolution after a graphics driver update

Sometimes updating your graphics driver can screw up your screen resolution. Here's how to get things back to the way they were and restore your screen resolution following a graphics driver update. Also see all graphics card reviews and display reviews.

A reader wrote in to PC Advisor to ask: "I’ve recently updated the drivers on my graphics card, but now I can’t display the right resolution and my screen is a mess. How can I put things back to how they were before?" Here's how we solved their problem.

The driver installation should have created a system restore point, so try doing a System Restore to before you installed the driver. Also see: How to improve fps in PC games.

Alternatively, Windows includes an option to ‘Roll back’ device drivers to the previously installed version. You can use this feature to revert your graphics driver to the previous version without resorting to System Restore. This is especially useful if you don’t want to undo any other changes you may have made since installing the problematic driver.

Start Windows device manager (On Windows 8.1, press +X and select Device Manager from the menu). Now locate your device in the Device Manager – in your case it should be under ‘Display adapters’. Right-click on your display device and select the Driver tab. Next, click Roll Back Driver and follow the onscreen instructions. This should revert the graphics driver to the previous version and fix the problem.

You should, however, be aware that graphics drivers are packaged with many additional files that may not be effectively rolled back using this procedure. Indeed, nVidia offers a specific warning to this effect in the driver release notes, though, in an emergency you can usually get away with it as a temporary measure at least.

If your display is working well enough for you to see what you’re doing, it’s best to remove the driver using the ‘Uninstall or change a program’ feature and then reinstall the previous driver from scratch. You will generally find previous versions of graphics drivers are still available for download from their respective manufacturer’s sites.