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How to update drivers in Windows 10

Windows 10 Help Guide

Updating drivers is one of the most important things to keep on top of while running a computer. Out of date and incorrect drivers could result in crashes and stability issues to sluggish performance and periperals no longer working. In this blog we'll be showing you how to update drivers in Windows 10. A driver is a piece of software that allows your PC's components to work together and can be recognised by Windows.

This is why it's so important maintain them. When things start going wrong with components in your computer - your PC blue screens - updating drivers is the first thing you should try doing.

1. Create a restore point

 Before updating your drivers you should make sure to create a restore point. This way you can roll back just in case updating the driver causes a problem for your computer. This can be a common thing users run into. It only takes a few minutes but can save you a lot of hassle.

To create a restore point you must first click Start and type 'Create a restore point' and click on the top result. Make sure thaat 'Protection' is enabled for the drive you wish to create a restore point for. Select the drive then click 'Create'. You can then give the restore a name, click 'Create' and wait for it to finish.

2. Windows Update

One of the easiest ways to update your drivers is to use Microsoft's built-in tool, Windows Update. Click Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and then click 'Check for updates'. If there are any updates Windows will download and install them. 

This way you are not only keeping your drivers up to date but also getting updates for the operating system itself. However, if you know the specific driver that needs updating there is an even quicker way to update it. 

3. Device Manager

Device manager is very useful as it shows you all the components that make up your computer and allows you to update their drivers if necessary. Let's say your graphics is playing up, you can find your graphics card driver in Device Manager and update it. 

Using this example, open the Start menu and type 'Device Manager', then click the first result. Scroll down to 'Display Adapters' then click the arrow to open up the full list. Right-click the display adapter, click 'Update driver', then click 'Search automatically for updated driver software'.

4. Getting drivers from the manufacturer's website

If you've just got a new component for your computer or perhaps windows update cannot find the driver you can visit the Manufacturers website. Especically, if you have several components from the same company that all need updating. 

Using your internet browser of choice navigate to the company's support section and download the relevant driver. Some companies such as HP offer you a tool which once installed will get all the up to date drivers you need for your machine. 

Using Device manager right-click the component that needs updating, then click 'Update driver'. Click "Browse my computer for driver software" and navigate to the folder containing the driver.

Nvidia Graphics Drivers

Most drivers focus on improving stability and performance whereas, graphics drivers see more regular updates, with drivers often being tailored for new games being released. Depending on which graphics card you have there will be different ways to update the drivers.

Firstly, we'll start with Nvidia graphics cards. First, open up the Nvidia GeForce Experience program, click Drivers in the top left corner. If there is a new driver you will see an option to download it. Nvidia also gives you an option to perform a fresh installation - this will erase your previous settings, but can help if there are issues with installing the new driver.

Alternatively, you can go to the Nvidia website and download the drivers directly from there.

AMD Graphics Drivers

If you have an AMD graphics card, the process is a little different. Right-click on your desktop, then click AMD Radeon Settings. 

When the program loads, look to the button in the bottom left. If new graphics drivers are available, it will say ‘New Update’. If it says ‘Updates’ with a tick next to it, you’re up to speed.

Click the button and you’ll see which graphics driver you currently have installed. Click ‘Check for Updates’ to see what is available; if a new driver is ready, click the name of it, then either ‘Express Upgrade’ for a quick installation, or ‘Custom Upgrade’ if you want to configure it.

7. Installing graphics drivers manually

As in step 3, you can download and install graphics drivers manually from the manufacturer’s website. However, the installation process is slightly different when it comes to graphics drivers compared to those for other components.

You’ll need to go to the specific website of the graphics card maker – for instance, if you have an Nvidia card made by Gigabyte, try going to the Gigabyte website first, rather than to Nvidia’s site. Navigate to the download or support section, download your driver, then double-click the installer file to get started.

8. Reinstall a troublesome driver

Sometimes, drivers just don’t want to install properly. Even when it seems everything should line up and go according to plan, you can run into a critical error. Thankfully, there is a solution, and it’s simple to implement.

Load up Device Manager, find the component that’s giving you grief, then right-click on it. In the list of options, click ‘Uninstall device’, then reboot your PC. When your computer loads up again, Windows will attempt to reinstall the driver, which could solve the problem.

If that still won’t work, download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter from Microsoft’s website. Once it’s finished, try updating the driver again.

9. Try a third-party program

There is a whole host of third-party programs available that promise to find and update old drivers on your Windows PC. There are plenty of free options out there, with others charging for larger databases of drivers and extra features.

Make sure you do your research before plumping for a program, as some are bloated with lots of unnecessary extras, for example. 

Making sure you regularly check Windows Update and Device Manager should preclude needing an additional program, but they can be worth it if you want the added convenience.

10. How to check if drivers installed properly

Now that you’ve installed the necessary drivers, there’s one final step to take: check it all worked as intended. It’s important to make sure the driver installed correctly so you know any issues have been fixed.

Open the Device Manager and, as before, navigate to the component whose driver has just been updated. Right-click on it, then click Properties.

In the new window, click the Driver tab, then check the ‘Driver Date’ and ‘Driver Version’ fields. If the date and version line up with the details for the driver you installed, you know everything went smoothly.