With video-editing, and now with newer versions of Photoshop for image-editing, the video driver is very important. Programs, like Premiere (all versions), and newer Photoshop versions, especially the Extended versions, interface very, very closely with the video driver.
On a PC, simple things, like OS updates and hot-fixes, can render the video driver obsolete. Many users get auto OS updates (the install default), and never even know they were installed - suddenly, some things involving the video (or audio) drivers, just stop working.
Now for some popular myths:
Myth 1 - I can play my video in WMP, or some other player, or in the Premiere Elements Organizer, Adobe Bridge, or even in the Source Monitor in Premiere, so my video driver is OK. NO - The real interface with the video driver comes when one is trying to playback the Timeline.
Myth 2 - My OS (or some utility) says that I have the latest video driver, so that cannot be the issue. NO - The OS (or some utility) is probably at least 6 mos. to 1 year out of date. Do not trust it/them.
There are three common suppliers of video cards/chips: nVidia, ATI/AMD and Intel. Each issues new video drivers, though Intel not nearly so often, as the other two. With nVidia and ATI/AMD, the updates are usually about one per month. With Intel (good chips, but poor driver support to date), it might be once per year, and one is at the mercy of many things, whether that one will continue to work.
Some computer companies, like Dell, HP, Sony and Toshiba, like to tweak the video drivers, and often the ones directly from the video card/chip mfgr. will not install. Dell and HP are pretty good at re-working the nVidia, or ATI/AMD drivers (the latest), and posting those to their Web sites. Sony is not quite so good, historically, and Toshiba was quite bad in this respect. If you have a computer from those mfgrs., then check their Web site first.
This is mostly for PC’s, as most Mac OS updates ALSO include new video drivers, and those are usually limited to ATI/AMD, though Mac’s are starting to look at nVidia cards too. Determine the make/model of your video card, which is also called the Display Adapter. More on doing so later. Go to the video card/chip mfgr’s. Web site, and plug in the model of card, plus the OS, and download and install the latest video driver. Be sure to read the full installation instructions. Most often, one will just need to download, Extract a ZIP’ed, or similar archive file, and launch the executable, which will be the installer, however, there can be times, where one will need to do a few things first, so read those instructions - even if you’ve done this a dozen times, read the instructions. I had one driver for my nVidia Quadro, where I had to make some settings in the nVidia console BEFORE installing the new driver - read the instructions.
Now, what video card/chip do I have? Again for the PC, there are several ways to get that info, as well as the existing, installed driver to check the number/date against the latest on the mfgr’s. Web site. One can go to Control Panel>System>Hardware>Device Manager, and Dbl-click on the Display Adapter. For the installed driver, then go to Driver Tab and look there. The exact Path might differ slightly, depending on one’s version of Windows. Here is a look at those screens:
Also, one can go to Start>Run and type “dxdiag.exe” (without the “ marks) then Display, to see details about the Display Adapter and its driver:
Remember, do not trust the OS, or any driver utility to tell you, if you have the latest version. Verify that for yourself from the mfgr’s. Web site, and because some programs, or operations work, do not believe that you have the latest driver.
I also retain earlier driver versions, as it is not unheard of, that a new driver has a problem. To get around that, I always do a manual System Restore Point for NOW, just in case I have to roll-back the driver installation.