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What Are VGA Drivers, and Do I Need One?


A VGA driver is a piece of software that allows you to receive video output on your VGA monitor from your motherboard or GPU.

If you use a VGA monitor as your output display, you need a VGA driver. 

This driver allows the computer operating system, such as Windows 10, to transfer the input data sent from the VGA input.  

The data goes through the VGA cable connected to your motherboard or GPU, over to your VGA monitor.

What Are VGA and VGA Drivers?

Pasow VGA to VGA Monitor Cable
Click this image for more information

VGA is an analog interface standard used to output video to your VGA monitor through a VGA connector that’s connected to your motherboard or GPU. 

VGA can show up to 2K resolution, and has been a common media interface standard since 1987.

The VGA input port looks like a bulky, blue USB port with fifteen holes, and two holes for screws. 

The cable looks similar, but with connectors, fifteen pins, and two screws at the side.

What Are VGA Drivers?

A laptop running software

In the simplest terms, a driver is a piece of software that allows a piece of computer hardware to communicate with your operating system to work.

In this case, a VGA driver allows your operating system to receive input data from the VGA cable connected to the VGA port and output it to your PC monitor.  

That’s to say, the VGA driver knows how to bridge the language gap between the operating system and the VGA monitor.

What Is a VGA Driver For?

A VGA port on a laptop

A VGA driver is used to allow your operating system to output the VGA signal received from the VGA input port from the GPU or motherboard VGA port. 

The data transfers with the use of a VGA cable connected between the VGA input port and the output port of the VGA monitor.

The driver translates this data into a form that the operating system understands. This operation enables the VGA PC monitor to display a video output.

Do I Need a VGA Driver?

Setting up dual monitors using HDMI and VGA

Yes, you need a VGA driver if you are using a VGA monitor. 

Without the driver, you will not get the video output on the monitor sent from the motherboard or GPU. The driver is needed to translate that data into a form the operating system will understand.

Without a VGA driver, your VGA monitor will not work with your PC.

How to Check My VGA Driver Version on My Laptop?

Two people looking into the computer

Generally, on laptops, VGA drivers are used for enabling the connection of external monitors or televisions to your system. They output your laptop video output to the external screen(s). 

The most common way to check your VGA driver version on your laptop is through the Device Manager, assuming that you are using the Windows operating system:

  1. First, click the start button, which is in the form of the “Windows logo”, and find the search box. The search box is usually next to the start button on Windows 10.
  2. Type  “Device Manager” into the search box. Once the application shortcut for the Device Manager comes up, click on it to launch the software.
  3. Upon opening the Device Manager software, you will come across many different categories in relation to your computer hardware.
  4. Scroll down to the section that says “Display Adapters”, and open it. Underneath it, you should find the relevant VGA driver. The VGA driver will most likely include the name of the external VGA display connected to your laptop.
  5. Right-click on the driver’s name and select “Properties”.
  6. It will open a box with different tabs of categories within it. Then, click on the driver tab.
  7. Your driver version will be found within the driver tab category.

How to Update My VGA Driver Version?

How to Update ANY Graphics Card on Windows 10

The steps to update your VGA driver are very similar to the ones explained above. 

There is also another method you can use if the first method does not work.

The first method involves opening the Device Manager and using the steps above, which I will very quickly recap on below, while adding in the new step to the process:

  1. Find the search box that is commonly next to the Windows start icon.
  2. Type into the search box “Device Manager.”
  3. Within Device Manager, find the category “Display Adapters”. Click on it, which will show the VGA driver installed onto your system.
  4. Right-click on the VGA driver again, go into “Properties” and click on the driver tab again.
  5. Under it, find the tab that says “Update driver”, which will start the updating process.

Sometimes the step above will not work, mainly if you use the VGA port on your GPU. 

These steps are slightly more complicated, as there are many different GPUs and motherboards:

  1. Follow the steps above within the Display Manager and find out the VGA driver’s name and its manufacturer.
  2. Go onto the VGA driver manufacture’s support page (for example, Intel).
  3. Usually, on these websites support pages, there will be a “Driver” tab.
  4. Search for your driver in the search box on the manufacturer’s support page.
  5. Through doing these steps, you will find the latest VGA driver.
  6. You will most likely need to download an executable file.
  7. If you do, open it and follow the instructions on its Install Wizard to install it.

Conclusion

A VGA port on a gray laptop

A VGA driver is a piece of software that you require for your operating system to communicate with the VGA port on a VGA monitor, connected by a VGA cable. 

This software essentially translates the data into a form that the operating system can understand, in order to display the output on the monitor. 

To check your VGA driver version, make use of the “Device Manager” software within Windows.

Otherwise, without the VGA driver, your VGA monitor will not work with your computer.


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