Old Catalyst Removal
Now we move on to the simplest, and yet most commonly mishandled part of using graphics drivers - the removal of previous Catalyst drivers. To do this successfully, you need to follow some simple steps which will help guarantee that your installation of the drivers is 'clean', and leads to trouble-free performance. I particularly recommend this procedure if you are installing the ATI Catalyst Control Center for the first time. To completely remove your existing Catalysts, and all traces of them from your system manually do the following:
1. Uninstall any existing Catalysts. To do this, go to Control Panel>Add or Remove Programs. Select the 'ATI - Software Uninstall Utility' option if available, and click the Change/Remove button. Follow the prompts from there to uninstall your existing Catalysts, and reboot as prompted. If you have an older version of the Catalysts installed, and can't find the ATI Software Uninstall Utility item, under Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel find the 'ATI Catalyst Control Panel' and/or the 'ATI Catalyst Control Center' item(s) and uninstall them, then find the 'ATI Display Driver' item and uninstall it as well (in that order), rebooting when necessary. If you cannot find any ATI entries, you are probably using the default Windows XP drivers, which means you can skip to the Catalyst Installation section of the guide further below.
2. When you reboot, you will find Windows XP will detect your graphics card as one (or more) new devices. It will then attempt to find appropriate drivers for your card. Cancel out of all such attempts.
3. This step is optional, however it is strongly recommended if you are either (a) downgrading your Catalysts to a previous version, or (b) experiencing problems and want to ensure you have a "clean install" of the Catalysts. Basically the aim is to find all the individual ATI Catalyst driver files and remove them manually. To do this, go to your C:\Windows\System32 and C:\Windows\System32\Drivers directories, and find and delete all files beginning with 'ATI...'. You may notice that some of these files keep recreating themselves - don't worry, these are just the default XP ATI drivers which are protected and can't be permanently deleted. Just delete all the ATI driver files and let XP decide which default files the system should keep. Alternatively you can use the Windows Search function (Start>Search), with the search string ATI*.* to make searching and deletion faster. Importantly however, do not delete the files under the \ServicePackFiles or \Lastgood directories, or under any game or application-specific directories. Just stick to files found under the two directories mentioned earlier. Finally, make sure you delete the entire program folder(s) where you installed the Catalysts. The default install location is C:\ATI and/or C:\ATI Technologies but if you chose another location when installing, go there and delete the folder and all its contents. Also delete the \Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\ATI and \Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\ATI directories if you have previously installed the ATI Catalyst Control Center at any point.
If you don't have the time or patience to do things manually, or are worried about accidentally deleting the wrong file, use DriverCleaner Pro. This utility clears out remnants of old drivers from a range of manufacturers, but is no longer free. The free version
of it is no longer being updated, so I recommend learning to use the manual method above.
4. This step is optional, but again it is recommended if you want to ensure a "clean install". It involves removing any ATI registry entries left over. To do this, I recommend using either RegSupreme, or its earlier (and completely free) cousin, RegCleaner 4.3
. To use RegSupreme, start the program and once it has cached your files, start a 'Deep' scan, then wait and choose the 'All' item under the Select menu to highlight all the 'invalid entries' found, and click the Fix button to remove them all, making sure to save a backup under a descriptive name. To use RegCleaner, open the program and on the front page put a tick next to all the 'ATI'-related entries, and then click the 'Remove Selected' button. If you want to use the Windows XP Registry Editor instead, go to Start>Run and type "RegEdit" (without quotes). Then go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key, select the 'Software' subkey, and scroll down to the 'ATI', 'ATI Technologies' and 'ATI Technologies Inc.' entries. Right-Click on each of these keys and select Delete to remove them. Note that this method is not as thorough as using RegSupreme or RegCleaner, which find other hidden ATI entries.
That should remove all the bits and pieces of old Catalyst drivers and Control Panels which have been installed on your system previously. Of course the quickest method is to just run the ATI Software Uninstall Utility, but as I said, if you're installing the ATI Catalyst Control Centre for the first time, if you have a history of graphical problems, if you've installed multiple versions of the Catalysts without a cleanout, or you are reverting to an older version of the Catalysts from a newer one, I strongly suggest you follow all four steps above at least once.