How to Update Your Drivers for Free

by Gregory Hamel

Divers are software components that tell your operating system how to use various computer hardware devices. Devices such as video cards, sound cards, Ethernet adapters and wireless cards must have drivers installed to function properly. Computer hardware producers sometimes release new drivers to improve the functionality of the devices. Driver updates are typically provided by computer and computer hardware manufacturers for free.

Identify the device you want to update. Click "Start," "Control Panel," "Administrative Tools," "Computer Management" and "Device Manager." Search through the device list to find information about the device you want to update.

In the "Device Manager" window, right click on the device you want to update and select "Update Driver." Your system will automatically search for and install driver updates if they are available.

If your automatic update did not find a new driver, it doesn't mean there aren't any driver updates available. Go to the website of your device's manufacturer, and search their driver download section for driver updates for your specific device and operating system. Device manufacturers will have the most up-to-date lists of available drivers.

Once you find an appropriate driver update, download it to your computer. After the download is complete, double click the executable file (probably "setup" or "install.exe"), agree to any terms of use and click "Next" as necessary to begin installation.

When the driver installation is complete, restart your computer.

Tip

  • Do not install more than one driver at a time before restarting as new drivers can sometimes cause stability issues. And installing more than one will make it difficult to determine which new driver is the source of the problem. New drivers can yield significant performance benefits.

About the Author

Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.

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