If you ever run into an issue that requires you to restart the video driver to refresh the display adapter on your Windows 10 PCs, here are some tricks that you can try without rebooting your computer.
The easiest way to try is to use this keyboard shortcut: Win + Ctrl + Shift + B. Once pressed, the screen goes black, followed by a quick beep, and then everything comes back to normal right after, maybe in one flicker or two. The process takes a few seconds to finish and from what I can tell, nothing else has changed. But be sure to save all your work before doing so just to be safe.
The trick apparently has been around for a while, since Windows 8. But if you are still on Windows 7, you will try something else.
Open Device Manager, expand Display adapters, right-click the adapter you want to restart and choose Disable. Then repeat the last step with Enable.
There are a few tools that you can use to restart the drivers as well, some of which can even be used a command line.
Custom Resolution Utility is a free portable tool that allows custom resolutions to be defined for both AMD/ATI and NVIDIA GPUs. One of the tools included in the zipped file is called restart.exe or restart64.exe for the 64-bit version of Windows. Simply double-click them, and it will restart the graphics drivers just like you press the keyboard shortcut Win+Ctrl+Shift+B on Windows 10. Once finished, it pops a dialog box with options to restart or run into the recovery mode.
DevManView from NirSoft is another alternative tool that you can try. It displays all devices and their properties in a flat table. Right-click on the driver for the display adapter and choose Disable and then Enable to restart it.
DevCon is a Windows Device Console command line that comes with Windows Development Kits. It has a restart switch that can be used to restart any specified driver installed on your computer.
First, use the following to find the display class ID.
devcon listclass display
And then use the restart command to restart the display driver.
devcon restart "class id"
That’s about it. Please share in the comment if you have something even better.
Useful. Thanks Kent.
Many times when some driver and another driver related issue happened, we need to restart the driver service for better performance.
Good stuff Kent. The Ctrl+Win+Shift B I didn’t know… and I know a whole load of stuff I’ve forgotten. I weirdly have problems when resuming from sleep or hibernate with windows 10. My X-Fi sometimes locks the machine up solid with no warning or errors. Some programs (XLN Audio’s XO for example) won’t load and give odd error messages.
I’ve got a Task Manager task which waits for a resume event in the event log and restarts the “Windows Audio” system and associated X-Fi services and also reboots the video driver after resume, with devcon restart “class id”. Works really well now, no lock up, no DirectX app problems.
Would like a system without “frigs” (Microsoft!) but anyone who uses their computers to their full potential gets used to it after 35 years! Ctrl+Win+Shift B hu? Always learning!
Disabled my video driver and now I can’t see screen 🙁