How to Scan a Computer for Missing Drivers

By Joel Douglas

Updated September 28, 2017

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Driver software lets a computer’s operating system communicate with hardware and peripherals. Every component attached to your computer requires a driver to function properly, whether it’s a video card, keyboard or printer. Most components and peripherals include a driver disc when you purchase them. The Windows operating system also includes tools to identify missing drivers. Use these tools to scan your computer for devices without a driver installed. Windows then will connect to the Internet to download a compatible driver.

Click the Windows “Start” menu and select “Control Panel.” Open “Device Manager” to view a list of all hardware connected to your computer.

Look for any hardware listed in "Device Manager" flagged with a yellow exclamation mark. This exclamation mark indicates that the device does not have a driver installed.

Right click on each of the devices flagged as needing a driver. Select “Update Driver Software.” Click “Search automatically for updated driver software” when asked “How do you want to search for driver software?” Windows will now connect to the Internet to look for a compatible driver.

Click “Browse my computer for driver software” instead if you have a driver disc for the device. Insert the disc into the drive and click “Browse.” Select the disc’s location and click “OK.” Windows will now scan the disc for the driver. Click “Install” when it’s found. Restart your computer when prompted to complete the installation.

Click the Windows “Start” menu and select “Windows Update” from the “All Programs” list if Windows was unable to install the missing driver. Windows Update features more thorough driver detection capabilities. Click “Check for Updates.” Windows will scan your computer for missing drivers.

Click “Optional updates are available” when Windows Update finishes scanning your computer. Check any drivers listed under “Windows” in the “Select the updates you want to install” menu. Click “OK” and select “Install” to download the drivers. Restart your computer when prompted to complete the installation.


What the Tech recommends only using drivers labeled as WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) certified. Microsoft tests drivers for stability and performance and only certifies those that meet WHQL standards.