How to update drivers on your PC
If you're looking to keep your computer in top shape, you've come to the right place. Maintaining drivers is essential to the wellbeing of your PC and to your state of mind when using it, so it doesn't frustrate you! That's because old driver software can make your computer slower and stop connected devices from functioning.
All peripheral devices function by using software which talks to the computer, allowing them to work seamlessly together. These devices can include everything from speakers to graphics cards. When you buy a new computer, it should come with the latest drivers, so everything is in order. Over time, and with every new release of a device driver (which is a bit of software that keeps your driver up to date), more issues can occur when using an older version. In fact, recent analysis by Microsoft found that 70% of all blue screens and PC crashes are caused by device drivers.
How to check if drivers are up to date
Device manufacturers will release these newer versions as and when they see fit. Basically, they do so to patch up security issues or glitches and add new functionality or features. Some of these missing updates will be more detrimental than others.
How to check for driver updates
You can check for driver updates in three main ways:
- Through your Windows operating system
- Manually look up the version you have installed and compare this to the latest on a manufacturer's website
- Using a driver updates checker like CCleaner, which can also update your outdated drivers for you in one go (unless you're really technical, this is by far the quickest, easiest, and safest way to update your drivers)
We don't recommend going the manual route because it's time-consuming, and you could miss valuable drivers. However, let's look at how to do this individually for each driver in Windows and then how to use a third-party tool that makes the job much easier.
How to update Windows drivers
Here is how to update drivers in Windows 10 (only recommended if you're fairly technical. If not, we recommend using a tool to do this):
- Go to the taskbar and enter "Device Manager" in the search box
- Select "Device Manager"
- Click on the category you are interested in updating, then right-click on the device you want to update
- Choose "Search automatically for updated driver software," then "Update Driver"
Here's how to update drivers in Windows 7:
- Click on the Windows Start button
- Go to "System and Security," then under "System" select "Device Manager"
- Click on the category you are interested in updating, then double-click on the device you want to update
- In the "Driver" tab, click "Update Driver"
Or, if you'd find an automated process easier, try CCleaner Professional, which will update drivers for you and also includes lots more features to keep your PC working at peak performance.
How do I update my drivers manually?
As we mentioned earlier, any manual processes are trickier and subject to missing updates or errors when installing. However, if Windows doesn't find a new driver, you might wish to go down the manual route. Or, try the quickest and safest way to update all your drivers at once by using a third-party tool, which we cover below.
Here's how to update computer drivers manually:
- Head to the manufacturer's website that built your device.
- Find the latest driver they have released.
- Follow the instructions they provide. These will differ between devices and the operating system you are running. Usually, it will involve downloading the new software and installing it.
- You then restart your computer, and, hopefully, the new driver is up and running.
Always pay careful attention to all of the instructions on the manufacturer's page and don't be tempted to skip any steps, even if you've downloaded drivers from their page before. Remember, each device and operating system is different.
If this method seems a bit time consuming (and you'd find an automated process easier), read on to find out what to do next.
How to update all drivers using a tool
If you're looking for the fastest and safest option, use a third-party driver updater. These tools check for a large number of drivers and update them for you. A good tool will search across all the major device manufacturers such as Dell, Microsoft, etc., and types such as video cards, printer drivers, etc.
We built a tried and tested Driver Updater for our award-winning CCleaner Professional tool that we think you'll love. We designed it so that:
- It's easy to use (just a few clicks of a button)
- It captures a large number of drivers (more than 25 million!)
- You can try it for free for 14 days so you can see how many drivers it can help you with. The CCleaner Professional trial also includes lots of other PC optimization tools, such as a PC Health Check and Software Updater, which will clean and optimize your computer for you to boost its performance and security.