How to Install a Video Card on a Computer

By Techwalla Computers Editor

A video card determines, in part, the number of colors and the resolution you can get from your monitor. These instructions will work for the majority of Pentium or newer PCs running Windows 95/98. If your computer currently has a video chip or your video card requires a change in jumpers or IRQs, installation will be much more complicated.

Things You'll Need

  • Video Cards

Step 1

Shut down the computer.

Step 2

Leave the computer plugged into the surge suppressor.

Step 3

Disconnect all peripherals from the computer.

Step 4

Remove the cover of the chassis.

Step 5

Put on a grounding strap if you have one and follow its instructions. Otherwise, ground yourself by touching a metal part of the chassis.

Step 6

Remove the computer's back panel if necessary.

Step 7

Remove old video card. Put the new video card into that slot if it will fit physically. Skip to Step 11.

Step 8

If upgrading from a PCI card to an ISA card, find an open PCI slot.

Step 9

Knock out or unscrew the metal plate on slot holder on the computer's back panel.

Step 10

Insert the video card gently but firmly into a slot. Don't touch any connectors on the card. Rock it into position if necessary, but don't force it.

Step 11

Replace the back panel and any removed screws. Screw the video card into the slot holder if it has a screw hole.

Step 12

Reconnect the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Reboot the computer.

Step 13

If your monitor displays properly, the card is working.

Step 14

Follow onscreen instructions to install driver and additional software. If Windows doesn't prompt you, manually complete the installation using the Add New Hardware control panel.

Step 15

Adjust controls on your monitor and settings in the Display control panel.

Step 16

Shut down the computer.

Step 17

Replace the computer cover. Reboot the computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • If possible, do the installation in an uncarpeted area to avoid static.
  • If possible, use the slot with the most open space around it.
  • Be careful not to touch any chips. Touch as little as possible on the video card or inside your machine.
  • If your computer is under manufacturer's warranty, modifying the product usually ends that warranty.
  • If you do not understand these instructions or you lack good manual dexterity, have a qualified technician install the video card for you.