How to Locate and Replace Old Windows Drivers
How do you tell whether your drivers are outdated and need to be updated? Here’s everything you should know and how to get started.
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Do you know if you need to update your drivers? Do you have computer issues that you can’t explain? Do you know how to update Windows 10 drivers?
A driver is a piece of software that allows your operating system to interface with your hardware. If you’re having problems with your system, such as a printer not working or games crashing, it’s possible that your drivers need to be updated.
There are drivers for your video card, audio, motherboard, and many other devices. However, you don’t have to update your drivers just to be safe. If everything on your system is running smoothly, you might be better off leaving them alone. If they do need to be updated, we’ve compiled a list of resources to assist you.
After that, let us know what techniques you use to update your outdated drivers in the comments area.
Check Your Chauffeurs
While your system will have drivers installed, you may not be aware of what they are or what version you are using.
You can utilize the Command Prompt to retrieve this information if you’re using Windows XP through Windows 8. Click Command Prompt by pressing Windows key + X. To get a list of all the drivers installed on your system and when they were published, type driverquery and hit Enter.
You can also use the command driverquery > driver.txt to save all of the information in a text file. The file will be saved to the location specified in your command prompt path. That would be C:UsersJoe in my case above.
It’s critical to remember that the date listed is the date the driver you’re using was published, not when you last updated it. As a result, just because a driver’s Link Date is a few years old doesn’t mean it needs to be updated.
This solution, however, does not work on Windows 10. The data supplied is either incomplete or incorrect. As a result, DriverView, a free utility, should be used instead.
This will provide you with a wealth of information about your drivers, including the version number, manufacturer, and date of installation, among other things. Double-click a driver in the list to see all of their details in one place.
1. Directly update drivers From Your drivers will be updated automatically by Microsoft Windows via Windows Update. Because the drivers have been checked and should only be supplied to your system if they are confirmed to be compatible, this is usually safe and dependable. Windows Update operates in the background, and you’ll only notice it if your computer needs to be restarted.
Updates in Windows 10 are significantly more aggressive than in prior versions of the operating system. However, this is usually a good thing because you can set it and forget it, and it’s usually smart enough to know when not to provide a driver update because you don’t always need the latest version.
To run a Windows Update, open Settings by pressing Windows key + I, then click to Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.
You can turn off automatic driver updates if you desire, although Microsoft does not suggest it. To do so, run a system search for device installation settings and click on the appropriate result.
Select No (your device may not perform as planned) and Save Changes if you don’t want automatic updates from Windows Update.
You can always undo the change by going back to this window and clicking Yes (recommended).
For more information, see our tutorial on regaining control over driver updates in Windows 10.
2. Use Device Manager to update drivers.
The Device Manager may also be used to verify all of your devices and view their drivers. To access it, hold down the Windows key + X and select Device Manager.
All of your system components, like as disk drives, display adapters, processors, and more, will be displayed in the Device Manager. To see the devices inside a category, double-click it to expand it.
Right-click a device, go to Properties, and then to the Driver tab to see the driver details. This shows the date the driver was released, as well as the version number and other details.
Click Update Driver to see if a driver update is available. Select Search automatically for updated driver software, and Windows will look for the newest software on your machine and the internet. This is what Windows Update already does, but it’s an excellent way to double-check for a specific component. If an update is discovered, follow the wizard’s instructions to install it.
You can also look for driver software on my computer, which we’ll go over in the manual update part below.
3. Manually update drivers from the manufacturer
You can also go to your device’s manufacturer’s website and update your drivers there. It is highly recommended that you go straight to the source if you want to manually download drivers. This way, you can be sure the download is current and secure.
You may find out what drivers you have and who made them by using the “driverquery” command, the DriverView application, or Device Manager information. Look for their driving section on their website (it might be under a Support heading). If you’re not sure what driver you need, some vendors, such as AMD and NVIDIA, will scan your system and discover it.
Most drivers will include executables that may be launched once they’ve been downloaded, and they’ll update what’s needed. If it doesn’t work, go back to Device Manager, right-click the device, pick Update driver, and then Browse my computer for driver updates. Toggle the wizard to your downloaded file’s destination.
If you purchased the physical computer component, it may have come with a CD containing driver software. Be aware of these because they may be outdated if they don’t connect to the internet. CDs that come with pre-built PCs are the same way.
Third-Party Software Should Be Avoided
There is a lot of third-party software out there that claims to scan your system and update all of your drivers at the same time. They should not be used. The procedures suggested above are completely risk-free. I have yet to come across any third-party programs that I would consider trustworthy and that do not include adware, install outdated drivers, or obtain them from questionable sources.
After all, your drivers shouldn’t need to be updated all that frequently. The tiny amount of time it takes to complete the above procedures is far preferable to endangering your system’s integrity by using a third-party program.
Maintain the Health of Your Computer
If you’ve never fiddled with your system settings, Windows Update may detect that all of your drivers are already up to date. And if everything is running smoothly, you may want to avoid upgrading them at all. Graphics cards, which require continuous patches to support modern games, are usually the most in need of updating.
Always remember to get your drivers from trusted suppliers (direct from the manufacturer if possible). Install only those that are made exclusively for your devices. That’s that about “How to Locate and Replace Old Windows Drivers”
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