Occasionally you might need to update or reinstall drivers when a new piece of hardware doesn't work correctly, or after upgrading to a new version of Windows. Updating drivers is also a great troubleshooting method when the device is having problems or is generating an error, like a Device Manager error code. A driver update isn't always a fix, though. But, an updated driver might enable new features for the hardware, something we see regularly with popular video cards and sound cards.

Time Required: It usually takes around 15 minutes to update a driver, even less if the driver has a self-installing application, or you get it via Windows Update.

Follow the easy steps below to update drivers in Windows.

computer hardware

Step 1 Locate, download, and extract the latest drivers for the hardware. You should always check with the hardware manufacturer first when looking for an updated driver. When downloaded directly from the hardware manufacturer, you'll know the driver is both valid and the most recent for the hardware. Drivers from some third party "Driver updating sites" or "Programs" can sometimes be corrupt or a scam. Be cautious when using third party sites or programs.

Step 2 Open Device Manager. There are several ways to get to Device Manager in Windows but doing so from the Control Panel is simple.

Step 3 With Device Manager open, click or touch the > or [+] icon (depending on your version of Windows) to open the category that contains the device you want to update.

Step 4 Once you've found the device you're updating, the next step depends on your version of Windows:

Windows 10 & 8: Right-click or press-and-hold on the hardware's name or icon and choose Update Driver (W10) or Update Driver Software (W8).

Windows 7: Right-click on the hardware's name or icon, choose Properties, then the Driver tab, followed by the Update Drive button.

The Update Drivers or Update Driver Software wizard will begin, which will walk you through the process to finish the driver update for your particular piece of hardware.

Need Help?

If you experience any difficulties with this, you may save a lot of time contacting a specialist to help you.