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How to install device drivers manually on Windows 11

Windows 11 Install Drivers Manually
Windows 11 Install Drivers Manually (Image credit: Windows Central)

On Windows 11, device drivers contain the instructions that allow the system to communicate and control the hardware (such as network adapter, video card, hard drive, etc.) and peripherals like mouse, keyboard, monitor, and virtually anything else you connect to the computer.

Although the system can detect and configure most hardware automatically through the basic set of drivers library and Windows Update, sometimes, the system may fail to detect some devices. If your computer is missing a device driver, you have a device using an outdated driver, or you have to update an existing component to the latest version, Windows 11 includes multiple ways to download and install these controllers manually.

In this Windows 11 guide, we will walk you through the steps to installing missing device drivers on your computer.

How to install drivers manually with Settings

To install a driver manually through Settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update.
  3. Click the Advanced options page on the right side.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "Additional options" section, click the Optional updates setting.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Driver updates setting.
  2. Check the driver to install on Windows 11.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Download & install option.

Once you complete the steps, the driver will download and install on Windows 11.

How to install drivers manually with Device Manager

To install device drivers manually, you will need to download the package from the manufacturer support website and then use Device Manager to apply the update.

Download drivers

If you have to download the driver manually, you will need to open the manufacturer's driver and support page, search for your hardware model or serial number, and click the download button. However, every support website is different, which means that you will need to follow their directions to download the latest package available.

Here's a short list of manufacturers support pages to find and download device drivers for Windows 11:

Some companies like Intel, AMD, Dell, and Lenovo also offer applications or quick methods to scan the system to detect, download, and install any missing drivers on Windows 11.

Install drivers

To install a driver manually on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Expand the category with the device you want to install.Quick note: The device may also appear with a red or yellow badge indicating a problem with the driver.
  4. Right-click the hardware and select the Update driver option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Browse my computer for drivers option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Browse button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select the folder with the driver installation files.
  2. Click the OK button.
  3. Check the Include subfolders option to find the correct ".inf" file with the instructions to apply the driver.
  4. Click the Next button.
  5. Click the Close button.

After you complete the steps, the driver package will install on your device.

How to install graphics drivers manually on Windows 11

Windows 11 can detect and configure most graphics cards automatically, and you can always use Windows Update to install the latest drivers (as outlined above). However, if a particular driver is not working as expected, or you want to take advantage of new improvements and functionalities, you will need to install the driver manually.

If you want to install the graphics driver manually, you can use the control panel experience from your manufacturer (NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel) to download and install the latest driver update.

Once you download the program, the installation is very straightforward. You only need to launch the installer and continue with the on-screen directions. After the installation, click the check for updates button from the driver's section to install the driver.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Download graphics driver manually

Alternatively, you can download the graphics driver manually from the manufacturer's support website.

After downloading the driver, use the manufacturer's recommended steps to update the graphics driver.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If you cannot find the steps, you can launch the installer and continue with the on-screen directions to remove the current driver to install the latest version.

Download graphics driver manually

Usually, you will need to know the brand and model of the graphics card to download the correct driver. If you can't determine the hardware information, manufacturers like NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel provide tools to detect the download of the correct package.

These are the direct links to the tools to auto-detect and download the latest video card drivers:

On the page, download the update assistant, then launch the tool, and continue with the on-screen directions to install the driver.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If you have a computer from Dell, HP, Lenovo, or another brand, you should know that manufacturers often create custom versions of device drivers to restrict or allow additional capabilities. If you have an OEM computer, it's recommended to download the driver from the computer's manufacturer support website. Otherwise, the computer may experience unexpected behaviors, missing configurations, or you may lose some features.

How to check driver installation on Windows 11

To check whether a driver was successfully installed, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Check that there's no yellow or red marking on the devices.
  4. Expand the category with the updated device.
  5. Right-click the device and select the Properties option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Driver tab.
  2. Confirm the "Driver Date" and "Driver Version" information.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, if these details match the manufacturer's information, the device has the latest version of the driver.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.