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How to Reset Your GPU? 4 Quick and Easy Methods!
Updated · Jul 27, 2023
One of the main reasons your PC may be crashing, especially while gaming, is running outdated or faulty graphics drivers.
How to reset your GPU, then? You can first try restarting your drivers, which takes up to 5 seconds, before testing more involved methods like reinstalling your GPU drivers, adjusting your overclock settings, or restoring your default GPU settings.
Below, we go over all these approaches in detail.
How to Restart Your GPU Drivers?
If your screen suddenly goes black, but your machine is still running, you can try out a quick-to-use keyboard combo that restarts your GPU drivers.
Simply press the following shortcut: Windows key + Ctrl + Shift + B.
The primary purpose of this key-combo is to save a part of the DispDiag log file that contains all the recent errors related to your GPU and upload them through the Windows telemetry service so Microsoft can diagnose the black screen issue.
However, pressing the above keys will also produce a very useful side-effect: your screen will go blank, and your GPU drivers will reset within a few seconds.
How to Reinstall Your GPU Drivers?
If the above method fails to resolve your graphical issues, the next step involves reinstalling your drivers and even updating them if a newer version exists:
- Press the ‘Win’ button and type in Device Manager;
- Access your GPU drivers via the ‘Display adapters’ menu;
- Right-click your GPU and click on ‘Uninstall device’.
After completing the above steps, restart your PC, and Windows will automatically download and reinstall the latest drivers for your graphics card.
How to Reset Your GPU Software?
Most GPU manufacturers also develop separate control panel apps to set up and monitor your graphics cards, which may also be responsible for your issues if you inadvertently toggle certain options that affect how your GPU behaves and performs.
To fix any potential problems caused by these programs, you only have to reset their settings to default, which does not affect your system or GPU in any way.
For instance, doing so via the NVIDIA Control Panel (NVCP) for your NVIDIA card is rather straightforward: open the NVCP, click on ‘Manage 3D settings’, and tap on ‘Restore Defaults’ in the upper-right corner, after which your settings will revert to normal.
source: NVIDIA Control Panel desktop app
However, AMD users also follow a relatively quick and straightforward procedure. They only have to open their respective control panel—AMD Radeon Settings—then navigate to ‘Preferences’ and toggle the ‘Factory Settings Default’ option.
How to Reset Your GPU Overclock?
In some instances, an overclocked GPU may cause all the freezes, stuttering, tearing, and/or black screens you experience. Thankfully, you can easily undo your overclocked settings and restore your graphics card to its stock setup:
- Open your overclocking program;
- a) Most people use MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision X1.
- Dial back all the sliders back to their default position;
- a) Some programs also have a dedicated reset button.
- Save your profile and apply it on startup.
Note: To avoid any issues related to overclocking, follow a thorough GPU overclocking guide that takes you through the process step by step.
How to Boot Into Safe Mode?
If you cannot navigate or see your screen due to graphical glitches, you first have to boot your PC in safe mode. To do so, follow these simple steps:
- Press and hold the ‘F8’ key before your Windows logo appears;
- When you get to a blue startup screen, navigate to ‘Advanced Boot Options’;
- Highlight ‘Safe Mode’ and press ‘Enter’;
- Log on to your user account.
Symptoms of a Failing GPU
If you have done something wrong and are worried you may have damaged your GPU, several symptoms may confirm your suspicions:
- Graphical glitches—the most obvious sign of a failing graphics card are glitches appearing on your screen, such as distorted textures, pixels out of place, and all sorts of other artifacts randomly popping up on your screen.
- Game crashes—instead of running as they should, playing with a faulty GPU will cause certain games not to start at all, crash to Windows a few seconds after initiating them, or even close out of a sudden after playing for a while;
- Strange fan noises—once your GPU starts making strange noises, immediately check its fans since dying vents result in overheating, which in turn leads to your card’s slow death, after which you’ll start seeing on-screen glitches;
- Blue Screen of Death—the most likely indicator that your hardware is failing, especially your GPU, is encountering a BSoD. In such cases, your entire system crashes due to a critical issue, and the only way forward is a restart.
If you’re facing any of these problems, you should stop using your system until you find a solution for your GPU issues, have it serviced, or replace it. Otherwise, you may start seeing bigger problems that may affect your other components.
Since your GPU is an expensive and essential system component, you should always be on the lookout for any symptoms that may indicate something is wrong. Thankfully, in most cases, you only need to spend a few seconds to reset its drivers. But under other, more serious circumstances, you may even require the assistance of certified technicians.
How to reset an NVIDIA graphics card?
Restoring an NVIDIA GPU to default settings can be done via its Control Panel that you access after right-clicking on the desktop; then, you just have to select ‘Manage 3D settings’ and click on ‘Restore Defaults’ in the upper-right corner of the window.
Is it safe to reset your GPU?
Definitely, restarting your GPU driver, restoring the default GPU settings, and reinstalling your drivers are all safe methods of reverting your card to normal operation.
How to reset your GPU drivers?
Restarting your graphics drivers is fairly easy: press the ‘Windows key + Ctrl + Shift + B’ combo, after which your screen will flicker on and off to complete the process.
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