Full Guide On How To Update Drivers In Windows
How to update drivers in Windows is the main subject of this article! You might need to update drivers in Windows when a new piece of hardware doesn’t work. Also sometimes after upgrading to a new version of Windows. Updating drivers may be a troubleshooting step! This is possible when a device is having a problem or generating an error, like a Device Manager error code. An updated driver may also enable new hardware features, as with popular video cards and sound cards.
How To Update Windows Drivers
To update drivers in Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, follow these procedures. A driver update in Windows normally takes about 15 minutes. Use our Stage by Step Guide to Updating Drivers in Windows. Do this instead if you want additional information and screenshots for each step of the procedure.
It’s not difficult to update drivers yourself, but some tools will do it for you. For reviews of the top free driver updater tools, see our list of free driver updater unlock tools.
Find, download, and extract the latest hardware drivers. When looking for a new driver, you should always start with the hardware manufacturer. When you download a driver directly from the hardware manufacturer, you know it’s both valid and up to date.
If no drivers are available from the hardware manufacturer, check Windows Update. Or, if you have one, the disc that came with the computer or piece of hardware. If those suggestions don’t work, there are a few alternative drivers download choices.
Use The Device Manager
Most drivers are incorporated with software that installs them automatically, so the instructions below aren’t essential. If there’s no mention of it on the driver download page, you’ll probably have to manually install the driver if it’s in ZIP format. Drivers received through Windows Update are installed automatically.
Switch to Device Manager. There are various ways to access Device Manager in Windows. Usually the approach outlined in the link (from the Control Panel) is the most straightforward. Device Manager is one of the Power User Menu shortcuts in Windows 11, 10, and 8. To get that useful feature, simply press WIN+X.
Select the > or [+] icon (depending on your Windows version) to open the category that you believe contains the device for which you wish to update the drivers. If you can’t find the gadget you’re looking for, try browsing through other categories. Windows don’t always classify hardware in the manner you might think of a device and its capabilities.
Update Drivers For Different Windows Versions
Depending on your Windows version, the next step is to find the device you’re installing drivers for:
- Windows 11, 10 & 8: Select Update Driver (W11/10) or Update Driver Software from the right-click or press-and-hold menu on the hardware’s name or icon (W8).
- Windows 7 and Vista: Right-click the device name or icon, select Properties, then the Driver tab, then the Update Drive button. The Update Drivers or Update Driver Software wizard will launch, and we’ll walk through it step by step to complete the driver update for this piece of hardware.
- Only for Windows XP: Choose Properties, the Driver tab, and then the Update Drive button by right-clicking on the hardware item. Choose No, not this time from the Hardware Update Wizard’s Windows Update prompt, then Next >. Choose don’t search I’ll choose the driver to install from the search and installation options page, then click Next >. Please proceed to Step 7 below.
Choose Browse my computer for drivers (Windows 11 & 10) or Browse my computer for driver software when asked How do you want to search for drivers? or How do you want to look for driver software in various versions of Windows?
On the next window, near the bottom, click Let me choose from a list of available drivers on my computer (Windows 11 & 10) or Let me choose from a list of device drivers on my computer. Under the text box, on the bottom-right, select Have Disk.
Select Browse in the bottom-right corner of the Install From Disk window that displays.
In the new Locate File box, navigate to the folder you established in the first step above as part of the driver download and extraction.
Proceed The Updating Procedure
Choose Open after selecting any INF file from the file list. Device Manager only accepts INF files for driver configuration information, thus you’ll only see INF files.
- Where can I find many INF files in one folder? Do not be concerned. It doesn’t matter which INF file you choose because the driver update wizard automatically loads information from all of the INF files in the folder you’re in.
- Are there a lot of directories with INF files? Try each folder’s INF files until you locate the right one.
- No INF files in the folder you specified? If there are any other folders, look through them until you locate one with an INF file.
- No INF files were found? It’s conceivable that the extracted driver download was corrupted. This is possible if you didn’t find an INF file in any of the folders. Download and extract the driver package once more.
- Return to the Install From Disk window and select OK.
- Click Next after selecting the newly inserted hardware in the text box.
- If a warning appears after pressing Next, proceed to the steps below. If no problem or other warning appears, proceed to the next steps.
Several common warnings and other messages that you might receive at this point in the driver update process are summarized and listed here, along with recommendations on what to do:
Windows is unable to validate the driver’s compatibility! Select Yes to continue installing this driver if you’re certain it’s the appropriate one. Choose No if you believe you have the wrong driver or anything similar. In this case you should hunt for additional INF files or possibly a different driver download. This can be avoided by checking the Show compatible hardware box, if available, on the window from Step 12.
The publisher of this driver program is unknown to Windows: If you received this driver straight from the manufacturer or from their installation disc, select Yes to continue installing it. If you obtained the driver somewhere else and didn’t look for a manufacturer-supplied driver, select No.
This driver is not registered: Choose Yes only if you’re certain in the driver’s source, similar to the publisher verification dilemma.
Windows demands a digitally signed driver: You won’t see the above two messages in 64-bit versions of Windows because Windows won’t allow you to install a driver with a digital signature issue. If you receive this message, stop the driver update process and go to the hardware manufacturer’s website to find the correct driver.
Windows will utilize the instructions provided in the INF file from the previous steps to install the new drivers for your device while on the Installing driver software screen, which should only last a few to several seconds.
You may be requested to provide more information or make particular selections throughout this procedure, depending on the drivers you’re installing, although this isn’t very typical.
Final Drivers Updating Actions
When the driver update is finished, you should receive a message that Windows has successfully updated your driver software. Close the window. Device Manager can now be closed.
Even if you’re not prompted, restart your computer. Although Windows does not always require a restart following a driver update, it is a good idea.
Because driver updates affect the Windows Registry and other essential areas of Windows, rebooting is a smart approach to ensure that the update hasn’t harmed anything else in Windows.
If you discover that the driver update causes a problem, simply revert to the previous version of the driver and attempt updating it again.