How to Update Sound Drivers

by Contributor

An old sound driver can cause applications (especially newer games) to freeze, crash or simply not play sound. These issues are notoriously difficult to resolve as there can be many other causes; but troubleshooting should certainly include updating the sound driver. The following steps will show how to do this.

Get the exact model number of your sound card. This is important as a slight change in the model number can mean a great difference in the driver requirement.

Go to the sound card manufacturer's website. The native driver is usually your best choice if one is available for your operating system. The sound card maker will usually know how to make the sound card work for the operating system rather than the other way around. Also, the drivers on the sound card website will frequently be available as a self-installing executable so all you have to do is run the installation program. If a native driver is not available for your operating system, search the operating system's website for a driver compatible with your sound card.

Install the new driver for your sound card if the driver package did not install itself automatically. If you are using Microsoft Windows XP, click the "Start" button, then "Control Panel" and open the "System" icon in the Control Panel.

Select the "Hardware" tab and click the "Device Manager" button. Expand the "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" line item, double click the sound card and select the "Driver" tab. Click the "Update Driver..." button and select the radio button labeled "Install the software automatically (Recommended)." Follow the prompts from there and select "Finish" at the end.

Select the radio button labeled "Install From A List Or Specific Location (Advanced)" if the Hardware Update Wizard is unable to find your new driver. In this case, you will need to know the exact location of the driver.