Graphics cards come in handy in many situations, including gaming and working with various 3D applications, such as creating animations and visual effects.
Unfortunately, however, most graphic cards, especially the stock ones or the ones built into the PC, are prone to crashes and stop working.
Don’t worry, though, as there are workarounds to fix these issues and get your graphics card up and running again in no time.
These solutions are helpful, particularly for those users who don’t have experience troubleshooting common computer problems, including those related to graphic cards.
Before we get into that, you ought to know the most common issues that affect graphic cards.
Common Problems With Graphics Cards
When the graphics card on your PC stops working, you could face all or any of these issues.
Graphics cards that stop working can cause the PC to crash, resulting in bluescreens, lockups, and random restarts and shutdowns.
Although not every one of these problems may be due to the graphics card, video or graphics cards are to blame in most video and memory dump error situations.
When there are errors in the graphics card, ‘Artifacting’ sometimes tends to occur, where colors seem strange, 3D models stretched, and it would look like the whole screen is filled with unwanted visuals and effects.
Sometimes, if your graphics card is overused, you will hear loud and unusual sounds from its fans. When you hear such a loud sound coming from the fan, it could also mean that your graphics card is overheating.
You may have noticed at times that your screen goes black for a few seconds, and when it returns to normal, your PC tells you that your video drivers have crashed and restarted. Note that this, too, is a sign that your graphics card has crashed or stopped working.
Sometimes, graphics cards may stop working altogether. When this happens, you won’t be able to see anything on your screen. When this happens, you may have to switch to stock graphics to get the display back.
Remember that these problems can also occur suddenly, without any reason, and leave your screen blank. So, if you notice any of these problems, make sure that you attend to them immediately.
Can You Repair A Graphics Card That Has Stopped Working?
So, now, you know the most common problems that can strike your graphics card.
However, the question is, can you fix it, and if so, how? While every problem your computer faces, be it hardware, or software, may not have a solution, you can rest assured that you can fix a graphics card that has crashed or malfunctioned.
However, if you cannot fix a broken or malfunctioning graphics card or don’t know how to, you can always switch to the stock graphics card.
How To Troubleshoot Common Graphics Card Problems?
Let’s suppose your graphics card has crashed or stopped working. You would be facing any of the five common errors mentioned above. If so, you should know that many workarounds can help you bring your card back to life.
Here, you will find the most common troubleshooting methods that can fix your graphics card in no time.
Enable The Graphics Card
When your graphics card malfunctions or fails, the first thing that you need to do is check if it has been disabled. You can follow these steps to enable the graphics card:
Click on ‘Start’ and type ‘Device Manager’ into the search field.
Click on ‘Device Manager.’
Once there, find and expand the option, ‘Display Adapters.’
As soon as you expand display adapters, you should see the graphics card installed on your system.
Right-click on it and select ‘Enable device’ if not already enabled.
Reinstall The Drivers
Sometimes, you will get an error message stating that your PC couldn’t detect a graphics card. Such errors commonly occur when you install new drivers where a faulty driver may accidentally get installed.
To avoid this problem, you must check the model of your graphics and download the relevant drivers.
Today, with rapid advancements in technology, most graphic card manufacturers supply a management utility software that automatically finds and installs all the requisite drivers for a graphics card.
So, this means that all the necessary drivers should get installed automatically as soon as you insert the graphics card.
Even still, at times, the problem could be due to a recent Windows update. In that case, the only thing you can do is find and roll back the update.
Fix Problems With The BIOS/UEFI
When you boot your PC, the BIOS detects all the hardware components and is working correctly.
Note that the system will boot up only if all the components are working correctly, as determined by the BIOS. So, if you are noticing a black screen due to a graphics card malfunction, you ought to check the GPU settings by accessing the BIOS utility.
When you access the GPU settings from the BIOS, you can enable it if it is already working correctly, not enabled, or is disabled.
Note that the BIOS utility will differ from one motherboard manufacturer to another and is not the same across PCs.
So, if you can’t enable the GPU, you might need to look at the instructions in the manual that came with the motherboard.
However, you must do one thing before allowing the GPU from the BIOS settings to be updated with the latest firmware through flashing if already not updated. Sometimes, updating the BIOS firmware could also help resolve the problem.
As suggested earlier, your graphics card may also be malfunctioning due to overheating. You may notice this when the fan attached to the card starts whirring at high speed after a few hours of gaming or running graphic-intensive applications.
In that case, you may need to check the temperature of your graphics card.
You can cool the graphics card by taking it out of its socket and dusting and cleaning it.
You could also open the card and apply a thermal paste or coolant. Besides this, you also have various tools from the manufacturers themselves that you can use, like the MSI Afterburner.
Check The Monitor And Video Cable
Another thing you could check for why your graphics card might be malfunctioning is to verify if there is something wrong with the cable that goes from your PC to the graphics card.
Check if this cable sits correctly in its respective slot.
If the graphics card malfunctions or stops working, it could also mean that there may be problems with your monitor.
If so, you may need to replace your graphics card, or your monitor, as it is bound to go out soon.
Check For Hardware Problems With Your GPU
As a last resort, you can open your PC up and check if your GPU is broken or has suffered damage.
You could also check if all the cables plugged into the GPU are working the way they should. Even if the wires are where they should be and plugged in the right way, they could be bent awkwardly. So, the problem may persist.
So, once you open your PC, you should check if the GPU is appropriately seated in the PCIe slot.
To tell if the GPU is in the correct position with respect to the PCIe slot is to check if the backport panel lies wholly on the back of the side panel. If it is not seated correctly, slowly and gently push the GPU down so that you can set it straight.
Alternatively, you can also take out the GPU and put it back in. Doing so will ensure that the GPU sits tightly in its spot.
When Should You Buy a New Graphics Card?
If all the above methods don’t work, you might need to pull the GPU out of your PC and test it by putting it into another compatible system. If the GPU works on a different PC, then you might be having motherboard or CPU problems.
However, if it doesn’t work on the other PC, the only choice you have is to buy a new graphics card as the problem lies in the card you are currently using.
So, you have many ways to fix a malfunctioning graphics card. However, the simplest way would be to check for any broken cables or hardware. You could also try removing the card from your PC and installing it in a different one to test if it works there.
If it does, then it means that there is a problem with your motherboard. If not, you may need to do away with the card and buy a new one.
However, if you don’t want to buy a new one, you might as well use any of the above methods to get your graphics card to work again. Many of these ways are simple enough, and even a rookie can do them by carefully following a set of steps.
Martha Davis is a computer hardware specialist who works extensively in designing and manufacturing hardware devices, researching advanced computer technology. She built GadgetGangster.com as a platform to share her insight on computers and PC assembly with the web. Currently, she is carrying out her research on Robotics and Computer Vision and working privately to deliver services. Martha makes sure that readers of GadgetGangster.com master the basics of setting up computer components like motherboard, CPUs, and GPUs through the informative articles that she writes.