December 3, 2019

Have you got a bit of hardware, or a peripheral that isn’t working that well for your computer? Perhaps you’ve had it a while and it might not have up-to-date drivers. New drivers get released all the time, so it’s a good idea to keep them updated when you can. If you want to know how to do it, then thankfully you’ve found the article for you. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about driver updating for a range of different operating systems and computers.

Updating drivers needn’t be complicated, and it isn’t as hard as you might think. If you’re not that good with computers, you might be a bit nervous about the process. But you needn’t be. Simply follow the tips in this article to make sure all your system is working as good as it should be and your drivers are up to date.

Why it’s a good idea to update drivers

When someone releases either software, hardware, or other tech that’s supposed to be connected to your computer (like phones or cameras), they normally bundle some initial drivers with it. These might come on a disk, or you can download them. The thing is, the developers often come up with tweaks and changes to make the software or item run even better, or interact better with your computer. They then need to release new drivers for you to install.

The problem is, many people simply stick with the drivers that they installed when they first got the product. They don’t even think about seeing if there are new ones available or if they should upgrade them. This isn’t the best idea.

Firstly, you’ll be missing out on extra features or improved usability from having the latest drivers. Your devices also might stop working over time as other parts of the computer get upgraded and they’re no longer compatible. Like if you upgrade your OS without changing drivers. The old ones might still be obsolete, if they’re even installed at all.

Developers can also find security issues and other problems that need upgrading. That’s why you should try and keep on top of your drivers and check for upgrades and updates regularly.

Now you know why you should do it, you probably want to know how. Let’s have a look…

Check your operating system

Before you can start upgrading your drivers, or even checking if they need updating, you need to know what operating system or OS you’re running. This can have implications for driver installation further down the line, but it’ll also make it easier to search for the driver that’s right for your system. The common operating systems are Windows an Mac OS, along with Android. Most Android systems won’t need individual drivers on them as this is taken care of already.

Aside from simply knowing if you’re running a Windows or Mac system, which you should already—you’ll also need to know which version, as this can have different driver requirements.

Check the item you need drivers for

Make sure you know what you’re looking for. If you’ve been alerted about new drivers for specific items from a utility, this can be a good place to start.

See if there is an automatic driver download software installed

Some hardware and devices have their own automatic update utilities. These will not only notify you when there are new drivers available, but they’ll also take care of the download and installation process for you. These are good for people who don’t know much about computers but want to update their drivers. Unfortunately, they aren’t available for everything.

If you don’t have a specific utility for a certain device or hardware, you could look to see if your OS has automatic updating or driver install capabilities. You might be able to find a similar way to automatically download and install drivers for you. These might have a few instructions to follow, but should be straightforward. Some of them have settings to take care of checking for drivers automatically without you even prompting them, so you can look into this too.

Check manually for drivers

If you don’t have the ability to automatically check for drivers, you’ll have to do it yourself. Do a search for the device you want to upgrade drivers for along with your OS (including version). Find the latest drivers from the official site if you can. You might be able to find them on third party sites, but make sure they’re from a reputable source before downloading them.

Make sure they’re compatible

Check the notes for the driver and be sure you’re downloading and installing the right one. You don’t want to mess up your computer by installing incompatible drivers.

Download the drivers

Then you can click download and save them to your download folder or another easy-to-find location.

Check installation instructions

Check the instructions that come with the download. There might be specific indications or steps to follow for that specific driver in order to get it running properly.

Check whether you have to uninstall old drivers first or upgrade them

You might need to uninstall your old drivers before upgrading. Make sure you can do this without breaking your computer.

Take a backup

Backup your old drivers or save them somewhere, or take a rollback image of your computer. This is just in case the new drivers don’t work or cause problems with your computer.

Install the new drivers

This should be simple. Execute the installation file or do what the instructions said specifically.

Reboot your system

You’ll normally need to reboot after driver installations, to make sure everything works properly.

Check the drivers are installed and the hardware works

Make sure your device and computer in general works with the new drivers, or you might have to go back to the old ones.

About the Author James S

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