Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

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Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 12:39 pm

Hey all!

AMD CCC 13.4 were recently released and as someone who is still fresh to a self-built rig (I posted here about advice a few months back while building it and choosing parts :)), I'm fuzzy on the process of properly updating my display drivers. Back when I last dealt with this issue, in 2007, the process went something like this:

  1. Uninstall old driver.
  2. Use a driver cleaning tool either from card manufacturer or 3rd party to make sure it's ALL gone.
  3. Install new driver.

And of course a bunch of reboots in between. I asked a similar question in this thread and someone said that CCC usually displays a popup to indicate a new driver version is available. Alas, that did not happen. Never saw a popup. Found out that a new driver package is available by visiting AMD's website and simply checking.

I guess my question is... is the process of updating one's video drivers as convoluted today as it seems to have been back in 2007? Is it safe to simply download the new driver and install on top of the old one? (which is what I just did prior to posting this)

I googled a phrase similar, if not identical, to this thread's title and the results were not very helpful. Lots of old forum posts and different opinions. Thus the motivation to post and ask here :)

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 1:11 pm

Most driver uninstallers are pretty thorough these days. The only thing you may have to be careful of is Windows retaining old driver versions as fallbacks, but if this is a fresh Windows install, that won't be an issue. Installing new ones on top of old ones will trigger Windows to keep the previous versions around though, but that shouldn't cause problems. I only mention it if you're paranoid about your system having old drivers around (assuming the new drivers installed themselves correctly, the old ones won't cause harm, they'll just take up space, which can accumulate given how large video card drivers are these days). My process is just:

1. Uninstall previous drivers (so Windows won't keep the actual driver files around).
2. Install new drivers.

If, for some reason, you suspect your driver situation is FUBARed, AMD supplies their own driver cleaning utility now. You shouldn't really need to use this though.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 4:20 pm

FWIW AMD is removing the auto-update notification altogether (if they haven't already) http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pa ... ation.aspx

I just install new drivers over the old ones and only if I see something in the release notes that I care about. I only go the extra mile to remove older versions if things go haywire.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 5:32 pm

In the old days you really had to be diligent about removing old drivers, but since I installed Win7 on launch day, I have yet to uninstall old drivers. I just let the setup program do whatever while I'm surfing on my other computer.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 3:45 am

Thanks for the comments!

My conclusion is that I will be installing new CCC releases on top of the old one and leave it at that. I can always go uninstalling/cleaning stuff if anything goes wrong. So long as nothing *does* go wrong, I'll let setup do its thing and be on with my day :)
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 4:39 am

I used to have problems with my 6850 if I didn't follow the 2007-process you listed above. Sometime the screen would flicker and Windows would tell me my drivers had stopped working but had recovered.

This didn't happen with every update, but doing a complete uninstall, running a driver cleaning tool and re-installing the drivers fixed the problem each time it occurred.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Sun May 12, 2013 11:22 am

I encountered the same problem as kumori here with my 5850 when updating to 13.4 from 13.1 last week.

Although this was the first time I had an ATI/AMD card in about twelve years (previous one was a 8500, they almost came full circle since then), I repeated the ritual of using only the official (un)installers of (previously NVIDIA's) drivers in correct order without googling for advice beforehand.

So, yeah, that didn't work as expected. Here's what happened (fix included):
  • Used Catalyst install manager to remove 13.1, which was the first AMD driver on this OS (second hand card).
  • Removed Catalyst install manager.
  • Reboot.
  • Run 13.4 installer. A warning message along the lines of "your screen might go black" appeared.
  • Screen goes blue.
  • #%^$#%^@
  • Reboot.
  • Can't get into Windows anymore.
  • Reboot into Safe Mode.
  • Catalyst install manager of 13.4 was present, but it couldn't detect the obviously half-installed AMD drivers.
  • Dug up driver sweeper which I didn't have to use since like 2008 or even earlier, but I always used it because my dad always told me so. Cleaned it all out.
  • Reboot.
  • Windows works again.
  • Windows tries to install drivers with the rotating green sphere thing. Screen goes blue again.
  • *&$^*&#
  • Rebooted just for laughs. Same procedure as above.
  • Reboot into safe mode.
  • Went into Device Manager to uninstall the display device "Radeon 5800 series" and its drivers.
  • Reboot.
  • Same procedure as 5 lines above.
  • More curses.
  • Took a break to think of a fix.
  • Recalled seeing an AMD device in the "Playback devices list". Figured it must have something to do with HDMI audio passthrough.
  • Uninstalled a "High Definition Audio" device with install date around the 5850 purchase.
  • Reboot.
  • It all works again. No green spheres anymore.
  • Installed 13.1 just to be on the safe side (hey, that used to work!). All went fine, but the HDMI Audio drivers wouldn't install. http://www.guru3d.com/files_details/amd ... oad,3.html (search for HDMI)
  • Uninstalled 13.1 for like the fourth time (omitted a few loops above).
  • Ran sweeper again.
  • Installed 13.4. Works mostly, no blue screens, but the HDMI audio drivers still fail. Didn't give a damn, I only use DVI.

So, yeah, there went an evening due to trusting AMDs drivers so much. I really should've known better after all the AMD/ATI driver misery I've seen in my familty computer helpdesk career. I won't create a list of these things, because it's off topic, but it's tempting.

TLDR: use the sweeper, because there are reports of complete and utter failures when not using them.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Sun May 12, 2013 2:02 pm

Anyone tried the free bits of Driver Fusion up on Steam?

I can't say how effective it is yet.

As for me I just install straight over the top and have since I got this 6870 years ago. The only problems I've had for the most part were the OpenCL drivers got bunged up in one of the betas, but then I never use OpenCL afaik so no big loss (fixed it myself, anyway.)
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Sun May 12, 2013 6:38 pm

Savyg wrote:Anyone tried the free bits of Driver Fusion up on Steam?

I can't say how effective it is yet.

As for me I just install straight over the top and have since I got this 6870 years ago. The only problems I've had for the most part were the OpenCL drivers got bunged up in one of the betas, but then I never use OpenCL afaik so no big loss (fixed it myself, anyway.)

I *just* read that bit of news as well. Just installed the free version of Driver Fusion via Steam. I figure if it's been voted in by a whole community of gamers via Steam Greenlight, it's got to be worth something, no? Will take a look shortly :)
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Sun May 12, 2013 8:05 pm

Driver Fusion is the current version of Driver Sweeper(WHY DID THEY HAVE TO RENAME IT AND THEIR COMPANY), and it seems to work well from my admitted little bit of usage.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 7:06 pm

Why are you guys having so much trouble?

I've never understood how people have trouble with video drivers, nor the point of those "driver sweeper" programs. I just use the regular uninstallers from Nvidia and AMD. They always work great; never had any problems upgrading or swapping video drivers.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 8:51 pm

Just like to point out driver checking is integrated into steam. Click steam -> Check for video driver updates.

Also, driver cleaner.net is way cheaper than driver fusion, (9.99) and covers a much wider uninstall base than driver sweeper. Driver sweeper also had some controversy? a while back, screwing up windows, which I forget all the details because I wasn't using the software. Anyway, you don't need to uninstall for the most part, just install over previous driver. The only time you might need to uninstall is when using drivers that are a year older than release, and installing over it might cause conflicts, or the default uninstaller doesn't work. Basically, stick with normal methods until you need advanced ones, then use driver cleaner, not driver sweeper.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 1:34 am

auxy wrote:Why are you guys having so much trouble?

I've never understood how people have trouble with video drivers, nor the point of those "driver sweeper" programs. I just use the regular uninstallers from Nvidia and AMD. They always work great; never had any problems upgrading or swapping video drivers.


*Sees NVIDIA card in signature*

Yeah, I had the same opinion on this back before I got that second hand 5850 last month, which replaced an *NVIDIA* GTS 250. Just use the uninstallers they said.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 2:29 am

auxy wrote:Why are you guys having so much trouble?

I've never understood how people have trouble with video drivers, nor the point of those "driver sweeper" programs. I just use the regular uninstallers from Nvidia and AMD. They always work great; never had any problems upgrading or swapping video drivers.

I'm wondering if Windows XP might be involved. XP didn't tend to handle hardware changes as well as newer OSes (and locked files post uninstall were more common.)

And I have seen driver cleaners cause problems in my OS.

Admittedly last time I changed from NV to AMD was a 8600gt to a 4850 ages ago.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 6:59 am

Back when I used a 4870, AMD's drivers were great. No idea how they are now, but there has been a lot of negative news the past few months, and now things sound like they are improving.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 9:08 am

I never install new over old.
Call me a purist.
I use the uninstaller that comes with the driver download package.
Reboot when prompted.
Then I disable my anti virus before installing driver package.
Call me old school. (force of habit)
Also.
When new drivers come out.
I read the readme.
If they don't offer benefits specific to my needs or fix issues I'm having, I pass.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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Re: Properly updating AMD graphics drivers

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 5:13 pm

Orwell wrote:*Sees NVIDIA card in signature*

Yeah, I had the same opinion on this back before I got that second hand 5850 last month, which replaced an *NVIDIA* GTS 250. Just use the uninstallers they said.
I'm a semiprofessional system builder; I've dealt with tons of Radeons, especially lately. I also do support for a few dozen machines personally. Why would you assume MY machine is the only one I am familiar with?
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