Updating Winamp and NVidia graphics driver

These two updates to my pc have been in my to-do list since early last week. Upgrading to WinAmp 5.34 and NVidia’s ForceWare version 158.22 for the GeForce 8500 GPU. I’m supposed to work on something else more important like research and preparing posts for the blogs I write for that will be automatically posted throughout the coming week since staring tomorrow, I’ll be joining an army of PPCRV volunteers for their quick-count operation in De La Salle University – Dasmariñas. However, procrastination has once again gotten the best of me and so I decided to take a break and tweak around my PC for a few minutes, make that hours.

WinAmp 5.34First up was WinAmp. I’m not going to convince anyone to switch to using WinAmp, this old-school media player from yesteryears have been off the headlines for the past years, I even think the player has been buried in our recent memories. All this thanks to iTunes and Windows Media Player. However, I still use this simple, almost-forgotten player as my default music player because it simply works. Unlike iTunes or Window$ Media Player 11, WinAmp is a steady and sturdy media player that is not bloatware, does not hog most of your system’s resources and it allows me to use those old-school skins based on my favorite anime, Gundam Wing.

Sure, it’s developers have added changes and new features to WinAmp in order to suit the changing Web 2.0 world, I’ve stayed away from those added features not because I don’t like them, I just don’t need them. All I need is to listen to my digital music and WinAmp has been doing a solid job at that since I got my first PC back in the days of Window$ 98.

Updgrading it to version 5.34 today just makes sure I’m using the latest most stable release of this classic media player. Heck, maybe I’d finally give its added features a try later on. For now I’ll just enjoy the good music it brings me. Of course, WinAmp is still FREE.

Solid, clear and crisp graphics.

NVidia just released the newest version of their ForceWare driver software for their GeForce 8 Series of GPUs or graphics processing units. TechnoSpot has a good run-down of what the heck GPUs are, moving on, the awesome capabilities of my GeForce 8500 GPU have been boosted by the updated version 158.22 of the ForceWare driver from NVidia, just released this May 2 the upgrade is still quite fresh from the folks at NVidia.

Installing the new driver could be a little tricky and even daunting for those who are not used to upgrading their graphics card drivers. Especially here in the Philippines where only the serious geek or tech-savvy and the avid gamer is attuned to the latest trends about graphics cards. The general PC owners forget about the updates after the old and default driver is loaded from the CD that came with their system when they first bought it.

Relax though, as I’ll show you how easy it is to upgrade that graphics driver, you just have to be brave enough to do it.

First of course is you simply log on to the NVidia website, under the Downloads menu choose Drivers.

You’d then be taken to a easy-to-use driver selection menu that will match the right driver to your graphics card pr GPU.

NVIDIA

Follow the links to get your updated driver, save it to your PC and prepare for the next phase of this simple operation.

A little sidnote: Graphics drivers are one of the key software you must install in a new system. Things could seriously go wrong if you install the wrong version of the driver, or the one installed gets deleted or corrupted. Window$ XP and Vista are some graphics-hungry and sensitive versions of Window$ to date, things get a bit more complicated thanks to bloatware that Micro$oft enforces upon us through their supposedly security patches.

Before you install the new version of the driver, you MUST remove or uninstall the current one in your machine. Back up your crucial data and create a System Restore point for extra measure. Keep also an installer of your previous driver just in case something horribly goes wrong with the upgrade and you need to revert to that old version.

Go to Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs then select “remove” once you clicked on the “Change/Remove” button to uninstall that old version of the NVidia driver.

You’ll be prompted to restart your computer so click “Yes”. After you’ve restarted the computer, you’d notice that your screen resolution would go back to either 600×800 or lower, relax though as this is only natural because remember, you removed the old graphics driver right?

To install the newest one, locate the latest version of the driver, in this case the ForceWare 158, on your hard drive and then double-click on it to run the installer. Just follow the prompts and you’d be finished in less than 10 minutes. Restart your computer again after the installation completes and then select the right screen resolution you want, possibly make some tweaks using the NVidia control panel and enjoy your new graphics card driver.

Now that’s done, I’ll go back to work.

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