3 ways to update drivers on Windows 10, and why you should keep drivers updated. How to safely update drivers

Using Windows Update in Windows 10 is an automatic set-and-forget solution. You don’t need a driver update tool as Windows has it built in.

10 Best Free Driver Updater Tools

Tim Fisher has over 30 years of professional experience in technology. He has been writing about technology for over two decades and serves as Lifewire’s vice president and general manager.

Jessica Kormos is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience writing articles, texts and UX content for Tecca.com, Rosenfeld Media and many more.

Driver update tools do exactly what you probably think – they help you update some or all of the device drivers installed in Windows for your computer’s hardware.

Our Top Picks

Best overall: Driver Booster

“. It makes it easy to update your drivers because it does all the hard work for you.”

Best for offline driver installation: Snappy Driver Installer

“Provides instant access to install updates – with or without an internet connection.”

The best info beyond the drivers themselves: DriversCloud

“Locates detailed hardware and software information, including outdated drivers.”

Best for Scheduled Driver Scan: Driver Easy

“Differs from some free driver update programs in that it can automatically check for outdated drivers on a schedule.”

We’ve tested each of them and can confirm that they are really free and do really offer driver downloads, not just scanning for potential updates like some “free” driver updates.

Use one and you won’t have to deal with Device Manager as much, nor will you have to find and download drivers from manufacturers’ websites.

If you prefer, you can also update Windows drivers manually.

Driver Booster

List of outdated and current Driver Booster drivers

Downloads drivers from the program.

Creates a restore point before updating drivers.

Scans for outdated drivers on a schedule.

No daily limit on driver downloads and updates

Includes offline updater.

Always shows a button to get the pro version.

It advertises other company programs as part of this.

Driver Booster is the best option. It’s compatible with all versions of Windows and makes it easy to update your drivers as it does all the hard work for you.

It works automatically to find out-of-date drivers, and with support for over 3 million drivers, there’s a good chance it will find what you need. When new updates are released, they are downloaded from within the program, so you can avoid having to manually download them from each manufacturer’s website.

Before installing the driver, you can see a comparison of the new version with the currently installed driver, which is helpful. Driver Booster creates a restore point before installing the driver in case something goes wrong with the installation.

There is also a built-in offline updater. From the tools category, select the offline option to export the driver information, and then open this file on a computer with a working internet connection. (See Driver Booster Offline Driver Update instructions for details.)

Other features are also available: restore drivers, uninstall drivers, ignore drivers, export driver list to text file, allow Game Boost to free up system resources, and view system information details.

Driver Booster works on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP.

It scans for drivers even when you’re not connected to the internet, which is useful if your network adapter driver isn’t working. After the offline scan is complete, the driver list is saved to a file that can be opened on a running computer to download the needed drivers.

Update Drivers on Windows 10 With Device Manager

To manually update the Windows driver, you must use Device Manager. To get started, please follow the steps below:

  1. Type “device manager” in the Start menu search bar and click Device Manager.
  2. Select the specific category of driver you want to update.
  3. Right-click the driver and select Update Driver.

Update the driver using the device manager

Then select Search for drivers automatically to proceed with the update.

Updating Windows drivers using the device manager

As you can see in my case, the best device drivers are already installed, so Windows can’t install anything new.

If Windows finds new drivers, they’ll be updated in seconds. However, if you cannot find any new updates this way and you are sure about new drivers, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and look for updates there, just like we did in the last method.

Update the Drivers Through Windows Update

Another approach to manually updating Windows drivers is to use Windows Updates. To get started, please follow the steps below:

  1. Open Windows Settings.
  2. Select Update & Security> Windows Update.
  3. Now click on View Optional Updates.
  4. Go to the Driver Updates tab.
  5. Check the driver you want to update and click Download and Install.

Updating the device driver with Windows update

Your new driver updates will be installed in seconds with Windows Update.

Just open NVIDIA GeForce Experience, AMD’s Radeon Software Crimson Edition, or Intel Graphics Control Panel, whichever is on your computer. They often appear in the system tray and can usually be found using the quick search in the Start menu.

How to reinstall a driver in Windows 10

If your device is not working properly, you may need to remove and reinstall the driver. The process is similar to updating a driver.

1. Re-open Device Manager by right-clicking the Windows icon and selecting Device Manager.

2. Use the menu to locate the device you want to reinstall. For example, to update an audio device, click the> arrow next to Audio Inputs and Outputs and locate the device in this list.

3. Right-click the device you want to reinstall and select Uninstall device from the menu. Don’t worry, your computer will be fine.

To reinstall a driver, uninstall the existing driver first and then restart your computer. Dave Johnson / Business Insider

4. Restart the computer. After your computer restarts, Windows will find your device and reinstall the latest driver.

What to do if your drivers aren’t updating automatically

If Windows doesn’t automatically update a driver that you think it should, Windows updates may be temporarily paused. You can check this and undo the pause if necessary.

1. In the search box of the Start button, type Windows Update and click Windows Update Settings when it appears in the search results.

2. Click Advanced Options.

3. In the Pause Updates section, check the date under Pause Until.

If Windows updates are paused, device drivers will not be installed automatically. Dave Johnson / Business Insider

4. If you see a date in the future, click the drop-down menu and select the earliest date (which should be tomorrow) to resume updates.

Dave Johnson is a technology journalist who writes about consumer technology and how the industry is transforming the speculative world of science fiction into real life today. Dave grew up in New Jersey before joining the Air Force to operate satellites, teach space operations, and plan space launches. He then spent eight years as content manager for the Windows team at Microsoft. As a photographer, Dave photographed wolves in their natural habitat; he is also a diving instructor and co-host of several podcasts. Dave is the author of over two dozen books and has contributed to numerous websites and publications including CNET, Forbes, PC World, How To Geek, and Insider.

Elden Ring, a much-anticipated title from legendary RPG developer FromSoftware, is about a month ahead of its release. It was revealed during the Taipei Game Show 2022 that the Elden Ring officially went gold and the team is currently working on a Day One patch.

How to Update Drivers in Windows

Tim Fisher has over 30 years of professional experience in technology. He has been writing about technology for over two decades and serves as Lifewire’s vice president and general manager.

Michael Heine is a CompTIA certified writer, editor and network engineer with over 25 years of experience working in the TV, defense, ISP, telecommunications and education industries.

What to Know

  • After the drivers are extracted, open Device Manager and navigate to the target device. Right-click and select Update Disk> Browse My Computer.
  • Select Let me pick from a list> Have disk> Browse> [INF file]> Open> OK. Select the newly added hardware> Next and the update will start.
  • Restart the computer after the update is complete.

You may need to update the drivers in Windows when a new piece of hardware is not working or after upgrading to a new version of Windows. Updating drivers can be a troubleshooting step when a device has a problem or generates an error such as a Device Manager error code. The updated driver may also provide new hardware features, just like with popular video and sound cards.

How to Update Drivers in Windows

These steps can be used to update drivers on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP. Typically, updating a driver in Windows takes around 15 minutes. If you’d like to follow the process below, but with additional details and screenshots for each step, please use our Step-by-Step Guide to Updating Windows Drivers.

It’s not difficult to update your drivers yourself, but there are programs that will do it more or less for you. See our list of free driver update tools for reviews of the best ones.

Find, download and extract the latest hardware drivers. Always contact your hardware manufacturer first for an updated driver. When downloaded directly from your hardware manufacturer, you’ll know the driver is both correct and the latest for your hardware.​

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