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How to update Windows drivers

We look at how you can update drivers in Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista

Windows logo in sky

Updating drivers is part of life for anyone that uses a computer. Nowadays, Windows updates a lot of drivers automatically without any input from the user, but there are times when manual updating is necessary.

It may be that some hardware recently installed is not working as intended, or your version of Windows has been upgraded. Updating drivers is also a good way of troubleshooting issues with a computer if errors keep popping up on usage. 

Lastly, a driver update may enable new features on hardware, such as graphics cards.

Updating drivers can be an easy task, so let's look at what is needed.

How to update drivers in Windows

When updating drivers, it is always good to check the website of the manufacturer who made the device or hardware for the latest version.

That said, if you can't find the correct driver from the manufacturer, then checking Windows Update is the next best option.

Next, in Windows, open the Device Manager (this can be found via the Control Panel). With Device Manager open, click on > or [+] icon to open the category which features the hardware you want to update.

Once the device is located, you can update the driver depending on the version of Windows you have.

For Windows 10 and Windows 8, on the device's icon or name, right click on this and select Update Driver Software. 

Windows 7 and Vista is slightly different. On the device's icon or name, select Properties, then click on the Driver tab, then click on the Update Driver button.

You should then see the Update Driver Software wizard start. This will guide the user through start to finish for updating the driver.

In the wizard, you will be asked to Browse for driver software on your computer in a window, click on Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer. This is near the bottom of the window. 

Click on the Have Disk button on the bottom right, under the text box. When the Install From Disk window appears, click on the Browse button on the bottom right of the window.  

Next, the Locate File window appears. Find the folder that contains the relevant driver. Click on any INF file in the file list, then click on Open 

Then click on OK back on the Install From Disk window.  Select the newly added hardware in the text box and then click on Next.

At this stage, there may be a number of messages warning about the update, such as Windows cannot verify that the driver is compatible, or Windows can't verify the publisher of this driver software or This driver hasn't been signed. At this point, it is a good idea to make sure you have the correct driver. A bit of research should confirm whether or not this is correct.

Last, you will see an installing driver software window. Once the driver update process is finished, a message saying Windows has successfully updated your driver software window should appear. Afterwards, restart the computer to make sure the driver is working and the registry is fully updated.

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