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VGA Drivers

download drivers VGA stands for "Video Graphics Array" which is a standard used to represent a computer monitor's color resolution. Once considered the standard in video graphics, VGA has fallen out of favor as technology has improved. Now, VGA is the "fall back" resolution. Graphics cards support VGA as their basic graphics standard should all else fail (such as missing device drivers or some other problem).

In order to fully appreciate VGA, it's important to understand its roots. Prior to 1981, computer monitors were either black and white or monochromatic. IBM introduced the Color Graphics Adapter (CGA) with a 4-bit palette of 8 colors and a resolution of up to 640x280. Soon after, EGA (Enhanced Graphics Adapter) was introduced. This standard doubled the color palette and increased the maximum resolution to 640x350.

By 1987, VGA came along boasting a palette of 32 colors and resolutions of 640x480. In six short years, graphics technology had vastly improved and the VGA standard was widely adopted. However, the technology continued to improve with new standards coming out capable of over 65,000 colors and higher resolutions.

While graphics adapter and computer manufacturers began supporting these higher resolutions, they continued to offer VGA capabilities in all graphics cards as the "lowest common denominator." What this means is that even a card capable of the highest resolutions possible will display VGA output before its drivers are loaded on boot up as well as in "safe mode."

With the advent of widescreen displays, graphics standards continue to evolve with standards such as WXGA (Wide Extended Graphics Array). No matter what standard current cards use, if the device drivers are not loaded or go missing, the card should default down to the VGA standard.

Computer display resolutions have come a long way since the low resolution days of VGA. The difference is immediately noticeable when the display cards revert to VGA. For example, a computer that has been booted up in "safe mode" automatically displays VGA graphics instead of the computer's graphics card standards because safe mode does not load additional device drivers. Instead of a crisp, rich image made up of hundreds of colors, the VGA image is big, fuzzy, and unattractive.

In its prime, VGA represented cutting edge technology. Today, VGA is nearly obsolete.

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