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Windows 10 update driversSource: Windows Central

On Windows 10, a device driver is an essential piece of code that allows the system to detect and interact with specific hardware (such as graphics card, hard drive, network adapter, etc.), as well as peripherals, including mice, keyboards, printers, monitors, and many others.

Typically, Windows 10 detects and installs drivers automatically using the driver library built into the system and Windows Update. However, sometimes, you may need to update a device manually for many reasons. For instance, when a particular component isn't getting recognized, stops working after an upgrade, Windows Update installs a generic package, or you need to access a new feature or apply a bug fix.

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Whatever the reason it might be, Windows 10 comes with several options to update a device driver manually, including using Windows Update, Device Manager, and using the auto-update assistants from device manufacturers.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through different methods to properly update hardware drivers on your computer. Also, we outline the steps to determine if the driver was updated successfully.

How to update drivers using Windows Update

Although it can take some time until manufacturers publish newer driver packages on Windows Update, it's still the recommended method to download and install drivers, because packages in this channel have been tested, verified, and signed by Microsoft.

To quickly update device drivers using Windows Update, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Click the Check for updates button.

    Windows Update download driver updateSource: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, if a driver is missing after an upgrade or clean installation, or a new driver has been published to improve an older version, it'll download and install automatically.

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How to update drivers using Device Manager

Alternatively, you can also update drivers for a printer, wireless adapter, monitor, and other components using Device Manager.

Installing driver from Microsoft

To update a device driver with Device Manager on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the tool.
  3. Double-click the branch with the hardware you want to update.
  4. Right-click the hardware and select the Update driver option.

    Device Manager update driverSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Search automatically for updated driver software option.

    Device Manager search for updates automaticallySource: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, if a newer update is available, Device Manager will download and install the package automatically similar to Windows Update using the Microsoft servers.

Installing driver from manufacturer

In the case that the driver isn't available through Windows Update, because it's too recent or available only in beta, you'll need to download and install the package from the manufacturer's support website manually.

When getting an update from a manufacturer support website, you should always attempt to follow their instructions first. However, if there are no instructions, double-click the ".exe" self-extracting package, or use this guide to extract the content of the ".zip" compressed file, and then continue with these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the tool.
  3. Double-click the branch with the hardware you want to update.
  4. Right-click the hardware and select the Update driver option.

    Device Manager update driver optionSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Browse my computer for driver software option.

    Device Manager update driver manually optionSource: Windows Central

  6. Click the Browse button.

    Device Manager update driver manually optionSource: Windows Central

  7. Select the main folder with the driver files you have extracted earlier.
  8. Click the OK button.
  9. Check the Include subfolders option to allow the wizard to find the correct ".inf" file with the instructions to update the driver.
  10. Click the Next button.

Once you complete the steps, the wizard will detect and install the new driver on your computer to improve the overall experience with fixes, new functionalities, or new support depending on the update and device.

While you can manually update a component using this method, typically, you would use these steps to install older hardware. In the case, you're dealing with an old printer, you should follow these steps.

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How to update graphics drivers on Windows 10

Although it's often not recommended to update drivers unless necessary, graphics manufacturers are always rolling out updates to improve the experience and support of displays and fix problems with games.

If you need the most recent update for your graphics card, instead of waiting to arrive through Windows Update, you can use the graphics control panel available from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel to download and install the latest driver.

You can use the links below to download the software that corresponds to your brand:

After downloading the app for your graphics card, installing the software should be as easy as your typical next, next, next wizard, and then clicking the update button from the driver's section to install the latest driver.

Nvidia driver appSource: Windows Central

Downloading graphics driver manually

If you don't want to add an extra piece of software on your computer, you can download the latest graphics driver directly from the manufacturer's support website.

You can use the links below to download the latest graphics driver:

Once you download the package, make sure to follow the manufacturer instructions to complete the installation.

Downloading graphics driver automatically

If you're not sure the model of your graphics card, most companies also offer an assistant tool to check, download, and install the latest driver automatically.

You can use the links below to download and run the auto-detect and install driver assistant for your graphics card:

Within the website, click the download button for the assistant. Then double-click the executable, and continue with the on-screen directions to complete the driver update.

If you're using an integrated graphics card from Intel, remember that computer manufacturers usually modify drivers to limit or expand their functionalities to operate smoothly on their devices. This means that if you have a desktop, laptop, or tablet from a company (such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, etc.), it's recommended to get the latest update from their support website, instead of Intel. Otherwise, your device might experience unexpected behaviors, including missing features and configurations.

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How to determine if a driver updated successfully

Once you install an update for a particular driver, you also want to make sure the latest version was applied correctly.

To see the driver information on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the tool.
  3. Double-click the branch with the hardware you want to update.
  4. Right-click the hardware and select the Properties option.

    Device Manager properties optionSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Driver tab.
  6. See the "Driver Date" and "Driver Version" information.

    Device Manager check driver versionSource: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, if these details match the information provided by the manufacturer support website, then you're running the latest version of the driver on Windows 10.

If the driver didn't update correctly, try to perform the update process again, and if you continue with the problem, make sure to ask for help in the Windows Central forums.

More Windows 10 resources

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

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