GeForce Experience: A Beginner’s Guide for Better Gameplay

Geforce Experience Guide Featured Image

NVIDIA GeForce Experience is a software suite that comes with the drivers for your NVIDIA graphics card. Technically, you don’t even need to use GeForce Experience. Some people even install just the graphics card driver and not the suite.

But for most users, we highly recommend installing GeForce Experience because of the huge number of features it offers. Let’s dive into how to set it up and use its added extra features, while also answering some common questions.

How to Download and Install GeForce Experience

Fortunately, GeForce Experience has a pretty straightforward installation process.

  1. Head over to the GeForce Experience download page and click “Download Now.”
Geforce Experience Guide Software Page
  1. After downloading the NVIDIA installation package launcher, you can now run start the installation. Double-click on the downloaded package to install it like any other Windows application.
Geforce Experience Guide Software Installer
  1. After installation, you’ll need to sign into GeForce Experience before you can start using it. If you don’t already have a NVIDIA account set up, you can create an account or log in with a third-party account.
Geforce Experience Guide Software Login
  1. Upon initial sign-in, you’ll be brought to the Home Screen with a pop-up offering you a tour and an option to automatically optimize games as you install them.

Note: We recommend unchecking this option for now and skipping the tour. You can always come back to it later if you feel like you’ve missed something.

Geforce Experience Guide Software Initial Log In

What’s Included in GeForce Experience?

GeForce Experience has three key features:

  • Game Optimization on the Home Screen
  • Driver update on the Drivers Screen
  • NVIDIA Share overlay launcher used to broadcast, record, and replay in-game moments

Before we jump into the extras, we are focusing on the main reason to get GeForce Experience: seamless NVIDIA graphics driver updates.

Geforce Experience Guide Software Drivers

On the Drivers screen, you’ll be automatically notified when a new driver is available. You can even change settings to have driver updates be auto-downloaded, though we wouldn’t recommend this on a bandwidth-limited or latency-sensitive connection.

You can also choose to get update notifications for “Game Ready Driver” for gamers or “Studio Drivers” for users who use creative apps.

Geforce Experience Guide Software Driver Preference

The driver update process is pretty straightforward, too. After downloading the update, you can choose between an “Express” and “Custom” installation.

“Express” will just upgrade over your existing driver with minimal fuss. But “Custom” offers a few extra options, including a clean installation of your NVDIA graphics driver, which resets all settings to default. The latter is a good option when you’re running into driver issues or want to start fresh with your settings.

How Does GeForce Experience Optimize Gaming?

The Game Optimization available in GeForce Experience can make in-game graphics optimization simple for users. This can be especially useful for those who don’t know how to optimize graphics settings on their own or don’t want to make the wrong tweaks and end up crashing their games.

To optimize an individual game, head to the Home screen and select the game of your choice. For this tutorial, we’ll use Riot Games’ tactical shooter, Valorant.

Geforce Experience Guide Game

The first thing you’ll notice when choosing a game in GeForce Experience is that you’ll see a slideshow of different in-game screenshots highlighting and explaining different in-game video effects and how they affect your viewing and gaming experience.

Geforce Experience Guide Effects Information

Below this screen, you’ll see a list of both your current in-game settings and NVIDIA’s recommended settings. Note that with each game you optimize with GeForce Experience, you’ll see different settings and values.

Geforce Experience Guide Optimization Effects

These are the in-game video settings available for optimization for Valorant:

  • Anisotropic Filtering
  • Anti-aliasing
  • Cast Shadows
  • Detail Quality
  • Display Mode
  • Improve Clarity
  • Material Quality
  • Resolution
  • Texture Quality
  • VSync

NVIDIA-native settings you can apply to Valorant:

  • NVIDIA Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-aliasing
  • Reflex
  • Vertical Sync

You can set your own values for each setting depending on how much power you want out of your graphics card. However, it’s always recommended to follow what the software suggests because it can detect your hardware and can tune your game’s video settings according to their capability.

Following recommended settings prevent game and system crashes. Tuning video settings up too high can lead to hardware overheating.

If you want to apply custom settings, make sure you’re fully aware of what you want out of your game and how much your hardware can provide. For example, you have a 3060 Ti with a 1920×1080 240Hz monitor. You can run the game we’re using as example, Valorant – on its highest video settings and still make use of your 240Hz display, according to the GeForce Experience software.

You can do this in GeForce Experience by clicking the wrench icon to the right of “Optimize.” Slide to the performance side for more frames, and slide to the quality side for better visuals.

Geforce Experience Guide Custom Settings Quality

Since tactical shooters like Valorant aren’t popular for its graphics, you can also tweak your video settings to the lowest values to get the most frames per second (FPS) your hardware can push out. For highly competitive players, this is considered an advantage.

However, if you’re trying to optimize a game that’s known for its visuals and your hardware only meets the minimum requirements or below, you should be prepared to sacrifice missing out on some great detail and effects to be able to play the game without crashes or lags.

Geforce Experience Guide Custom Settings Performance

How to Access NVIDIA Share in GeForce Experience

NVIDIA Share, previously called Shadowplay, is NVIDIA’s software solution for recording and streaming gameplay directly from your GPU. We’ve actually already written a more detailed guide on NVIDIA Share, but for this article, we do still want to give you a solid place to start.

Click on the share icon at the top right menu, next to your NVIDIA username.

Geforce Experience Guide Overlay Icon

In the overlay, you can toggle each of these features pretty much at will and change their specific settings, as long as they’re not in use (e.g., you can’t change Instant Replay settings while it’s enabled, as it’s still recording).

Geforce Experience Guide Nvidia Share Overlay

If there are any specific settings you’re looking for, you’ll want to click the Gear icon to dive into them. Most users shouldn’t need to bother with deeper configuration of NVIDIA Share, but the settings menu has a few hidden gems.

The main things you should change are the “Privacy Control” and “Audio” settings.

Geforce Experience Guide Nvidia Share Settings

If you’re on desktop, “Desktop capture” under “Privacy Control” will allow Instant Replay and Recording to also work on your desktop and will be less likely to get disrupted by alt-tabbing out of a game.

Geforce Experience Guide Nvidia Share Desktop Capture

For desktop and laptop users, you’ll definitely want to go into “Audio” to split your audio tracks.

Geforce Experience Guide Nvidia Share Audio

By enabling “Separate both tracks,” you’ll get cleaner recordings of your desktop/game audio. You can still use the mic track when editing and uploading the video, and having it be a separate track will make it much easier to edit and remove background noise.

For settings beyond these, check out our dedicated guide on NVIDIA Share.

Troubleshooting GeForce Experience

If you’re experiencing issues with GeForce Experience, especially crashing or other issues that are affecting your gameplay, it may be time to do a clean install. This means uninstalling GeForce Experience from the Windows control panel and downloading the latest installation package.

If the issues are minor, or you just want to start over, follow our initial setup process above and select “Perform a clean installation.” You’ll this option find when you select “Custom Installation” after downloading the latest driver.

If you still have issues following a clean installation, you may need to go a little further. In this scenario, you’ll want to download Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU). Make sure that DDU and your driver install executable are in an easy-to-find place in your files (even your desktop will do), then reboot into Safe Mode.

Run DDU first, then install your new driver and restart into Windows. If you’re still experiencing issues past this point, unfortunately, you’re most likely dealing with either a graphics card issue or a problem elsewhere in your system.

What’s the difference between GeForce Experience and NVIDIA Control Panel?

If you right-click the NVIDIA icon in your taskbar, you may notice that you actually get to choose between two options rather than just GeForce Experience.

Geforce Experience Guide Nvidia Tray

NVIDIA Control Panel shares some similarities with GeForce Experience, and unlike GeForce Experience, is actually a native part of the NVIDIA graphics driver. Even if you could skip NVIDIA Control Panel installation, though, you definitely wouldn’t want to.

Geforce Experience Guide Nvidia Control Panel

NVIDIA Control Panel is where you control settings like resolution, refresh rate, color settings, and G-Sync support. With “Manage 3D Settings”, you can also set Global or Per-Program 3D graphics settings, including Low Latency Mode and Power Management Mode. Most settings here have explanations built in, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to use GeForce Experience to get NVIDIA drivers?

If you don’t want to use GeForce Experience, don’t worry! You can (and should) still get up-to-date NVIDIA Graphics Drivers. Click here to head to NVIDIA’s office driver download page.

Is GeForce Experience free?

Yes, but the NVIDIA graphics card required to use it is not.

Does GeForce Experience work on laptops?

Does GeForce Experience work on laptops?

Are all games supported by GeForce Experience?

No, but the majority of modern, non-obscure indie games are. Additionally, if a game is supported by GeForce Experience, you’ll be able to apply optimized settings regardless of what storefront (Steam, Origin, GOG) you get it from.

However, Xbox Game Pass games, Microsoft Store games, and other UWP-based games aren’tt supported by GeForce Experience. Games from non-Microsoft platforms will nearly always work.

If you’re worried about optimizing graphics settings on your own in those games, don’t be. The settings you’ve been seeing and tweaking in GeForce Experience with supported games will be similar to the ones in non-supported games. As a shortcut, start by turning off anti-aliasing and motion blur and setting a medium graphics preset if you’re getting poor performance.

Image credit: Mizter_X94 via Pixabay

Natalie dela Vega
Natalie dela Vega

Natalie is a writer specializing in tech how-tos and gaming. When she's not writing, she plays PC games and travels. Here at MakeTechEasier, you will see her write about guides, tips, and solutions for Windows and iOS.

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