How to Find and Replace Outdated Windows Drivers – Guide

Drivers are essential to your PC’s functionality. For example, your PC’s graphics card is responsible for everything you see on your screen. The driver controls resolution, color depth, video acceleration, game acceleration, and more. Each graphics card is a little different and requires special software to control it. So if no drivers are installed, Windows will use the “default” driver and you may get lower resolution and performance.

How to Find and Replace Outdated Windows Drivers

Update drivers directly from Microsoft

Windows will automatically update your drivers through Windows Update. This is generally safe and reliable because the drivers have been verified and should only be delivered to your system if they are compatible. Windows Update runs in the background and you will only notice it when you need to restart your system. Windows 10 is much more aggressive with updates than previous versions of the operating system. However, this is usually a good thing as you can set it and forget about it, and it’s usually smart enough to know when not to provide a driver update as you don’t always need the latest version. To run a Windows update, press Windows key + I to open Settings and go to Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for Updates. You can disable automatic driver updates if you wish, although it is not recommended by Microsoft. To do this, run a system search for device installation settings and select the relevant result. If you do not want automatic updates provided through Windows Update, select No (your device may not work as expected) and click Save Changes. You can always revert the change by returning to this window and selecting Yes (recommended). Check out our guide to take back control of driver updates in Windows 10 for more advice.

Update drivers via device manager

You can also check all your devices and view their drivers using Device Manager. To open it, press Windows key + X and click Device Manager. Device Manager will show you all system components such as disk drives, display adapters, processors and more. Double-click a category to expand it and see the devices within it. To view driver information, right-click a device, click Properties, and switch to the Driver tab. This displays the date the driver was published, its version number, and other information. To check for a driver update, click Update Driver. Select Automatically search for updated driver software and Windows will search your computer and the web for the latest software. This is what it does through Windows Update, but this is a good method for rescanning a specific component. If an update is found, follow the wizard to install it. You can also Browse my computer for driver software, which we’ll cover in the manual update section below.

Update drivers manually from the manufacturer

You can also go to your device manufacturer and update your drivers through them. If you want to manually download drivers, we highly recommend going straight to the source. This way you will ensure that the download is up- current and secure. You can use the information provided through the “driverquery” command, DriverView utility, or Device Manager to find out which drivers you have and who makes them. Go to their website and look for the drivers section (may be under the Support heading). Some providers, like AMD and NVIDIA, will have tools that can scan your system and detect which driver you need if you’re not sure. Once downloaded, most drivers will have executables that can be opened and will update as needed. If not, go back to Device Manager, right-click the device, select Update Driver, and click Browse my computer for driver software. Point the wizard to the location of the downloaded file. If you purchased the physical component of your computer, you may find that it came with a CD that includes drivers. Be a little cautious with them because unless they connect to the internet there is a possibility that they are out of date. The same applies to CDs that come with pre-built machines.

Final note

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