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Restart your graphics driver instantly with this hotkey

13 November 2016, Mike Williams

DriverYour PC suddenly locks up. Nothing responds. The screen turns black. It looks like disaster…

But no. There’s a beep from the speaker, your screen comes back to life, and a message explains that your display driver stopped responding, but had now recovered.

That ability to automatically restart a driver is very useful, but you don’t have to wait for your system to detect an issue.

To restart your graphics driver at any time, just press Win+Ctrl+Shift+B: the screen flickers, there’s a beep, and everything is back to normal immediately.

From what we could tell, this seems to be very safe. It’s just restarting the driver; any custom settings are untouched and everything should work exactly as it did before.

There are no guarantees, of course, and if your PC already has issues then it’s hard to say how it’ll respond. Treat this hotkey with a little care – don’t use it while you’ve got unsaved work, don’t try to hammer it 100 times in 10 seconds to see what happens – but otherwise keep the shortcut in mind for emergencies.

Other drivers might lock up too, occasionally, and they can be manually restarted with a little help from Device Manager. At its simplest you could find a device in the list, right-click and select Disable, right-click again and select Enable. Be careful, though– disabling something important can break your PC.

If you know what you’re doing, NirSoft tools like DevManView and ServiWin extend Device Manager with some welcome extras: colour-coded listings, driver filtering, integrated Google search, easy access to a driver’s Registry keys, and more.

DevManView and ServiWin run on anything from Windows 2000 up.

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