Make Your Old Graphics Drivers Work in Windows 8

Make Your Old Graphics Drivers Work in Windows 8Installing software upgrades can be a frustrating experience, especially if drivers don’t seem to work the way they’re supposed to. In Windows 8, you could be facing challenges if your graphics card is older. This article addresses only AMD hardware.

Windows 8 updated to WDDM 1.2, which breaks OpenGL functionality on older graphics cards. The built-in WDDM 1.1. graphics drivers will not allow for GPU acceleration in Photoshop, for instance. In my case it’s a Radeon HD 3650 Mobility, which is no longer supported in the official Windows 8 drivers from AMD. So, if you own one of these cards in your computer (desktop or laptop), the following instructions will, I hope, be a remedy.

AMD Radeon HD 4000 Series (x64 | x86)
AMD Radeon HD 3000 Series
AMD Radeon HD 2000 Series
AMD Radeon HD Series AGP

ATI Radeon 9500 Series (x64 | x86)
ATI Radeon 9550 Series
ATI Radeon 9600 Series
ATI Radeon 9700 Series
ATI Radeon 9800 Series
ATI Radeon X300 Series
ATI Radeon X550 Series
ATI Radeon X600 Series

ATI Radeon X700 Series
ATI Radeon X800 Series
ATI Radeon X850 Series
ATI Radeon X1050 Series
ATI Radeon X1300 Series
ATI Radeon X1900 Series
ATI Radeon X1950 Series
ATI Radeon Xpress Series
ATI Radeon X1200 Series
ATI Radeon X1250 Series
ATI Radeon X2100 Series

Although it has only been tested with Windows 8 x64, it should work the same for x86.

  • Find your graphics card in the list above, and download the corresponding driver. Run the installation until the very end; ignore any error messages.

[Anyone with the Radeon HD series, please jump ahead to section (A), further down]

  • Download the ATI MobilityModder and install it. In both cases, create a new folder on C:\ (ATI or AMD). When it is finished, copy this patch to C:\Program Files (x86)\MobilityDotNET, and replace the present EXE file.
  • Run the ATI MobilityModder from the Start Screen, and then select C:\ATI\Support\10-02_legacy_vista32-64_dd_ccc as your location, and let the program do its thing.
  • Right-click in the bottom left corner of your primary screen (Windows + X), to open an elevated Command prompt, and type the following commands:

bcdedit /set {current} testsigning on
bcdedit /set {current} nointegritychecks true

  • Close the elevated prompt.
  • Return to the Start Screen, start typing gpedit.msc and hit Enter.
  • Navigate to User Configuration (2nd node) | Administrative Templates | System | Driver Installation | Code signing for device drivers
  • Double-click the policy and set it to Disabled.
  • Restart your computer.

(A) For AMD Radeon HD:

  • After Windows is fully booted, navigate to C:\AMD\Support\12-6-legacy_vista_win7_64_dd_ccc_whql\Packages\Drivers\Display\LH6A_INF\CH_95951.inf and right-click it, then select Install.
  • Just wait a few seconds, and your screen should start flickering. After a while, a small dialog will appear, saying The operation completed successfully.
  • After that, you double-check the driver in the Device Manager. It should have the driver date: 2012-07-03.
  • You’re done. Maybe do a quick restart.

(B) For ATI Radeon:

  • After Windows is fully booted, navigate to C:\ATI\Support\10-02_legacy_vista32-64_dd_ccc\Packages\Drivers\Display\W76A_INF\C7145534.inf and right-click it, then select Install. You will get the familiar red dialog warning you about installing unsigned drivers. Throw caution to the wind and continue.
  • Right-click in the bottom left corner of your primary screen (Windows + X), to select Device Manager.
  • Expand the Display adapters section. You should see Windows Basic Display Adapter. Right-click it and select Update driver software.
  • Click Browse my computer for driver software and then Let me pick from a list…
  • Your new driver should already be there, along with the already present Basic Display Adapter and WDDM 1.1 driver options. Select the one with your graphics card’s name, and no additions in parentheses. It will say that it’s not digitally signed. Simply ignore this, and click Next to install it.
  • Right-click in the bottom left corner of your primary screen (Windows + X) to open an elevated Command Prompt, and type the following commands:

bcdedit /set {current} testsigning off
bcdedit /set {current} nointegritychecks false

Last, restart your computer one final time, and everything should work fine. There might be a few graphical errors in the “Metro” part of Windows 8. Adobe GPU acceleration and OpenGL games work great, though.

Image: Microsoft

Article Written by

He's a writer and photographer living in Sweden. Technology, philosophy, and films are some of his other interests. In 2008, Maximilian completed a BA in creative writing in London. So, being a writer has been important to him for a long time -- although he prefers to be called a "storyteller."