How to update drivers on laptops like a pro
Drivers are pieces of software that allows your connected devices to communicate with your computer. What counts as a connected device? You'd be surprised just how many are tucked neatly inside your computer that you never think of, plus there are those you may interact with physically more frequently like speakers or your mouse. The devices inside include everything from audio cards to graphics cards.
Drivers have an important part to play to keep your computer functioning as it should, otherwise, they wouldn't be there. Laptops are so compact these days that there is no space to waste and all the components (including built-in devices) are carefully put together to maximize the area whilst providing the best possible performance from the machine.
Why are drivers so important?
Since drivers connect devices to your PC, any breakdown in this communication can lead to issues. Device manufacturers are acutely aware of this and have computer developers constantly working on improving drivers and ironing out any glitches that pop up. When they make these updates to a driver they release a new version which is the latest and greatest model. This is the version you want to have on your PC (until a newer one comes out!).
This constant cycle of upgrading means you need to stay on your toes if you're manually performing this task. Or, you could use an automatic updater, which we will run through at the end of this article (feel free to jump ahead!). First, what are the potential risks if one or more of your drivers becomes outdated?
If drivers are out of date you could experience any one of the following or all at once:
- Slow computer - lag times, poorer performance, general sluggishness, and at worst it could stop working altogether.
- Glitches and bugs - one or more of your devices could start malfunctioning or stop working (technically, it may still work but your computer doesn't recognize it anymore).
- Weakened security - especially in relation to your internet connection, any devices that play a role in this could pose a security risk.
Recent analysis by Microsoft found that 70% of all blue screens and PC crashes are caused by device drivers.
How do you get around this? Well, you should be proactive and prevent the issues from happening in the first place. That will save you a headache and hassle in the future which you will thank yourself for later.
How to update drivers on laptops: 3 methods
There are multiple ways that you can update drivers and we're going to show you three. We will use Windows 10 as the example for the first two methods because it's by far the most common operating system.
- Perform a system update - see if it catches new driver upgrades
- Perform a manual Windows driver update - look for a specific device driver
- Use an automated tool - definitely the quickest, safest, and easiest way
Perform a system update
If you have set yourself up for automatic system updates, Windows 10 will check for newer drivers each time it installs a new operating system version.
However, if you don't have automatic system updates enabled or you need to install a system update now, here's what to do:
- Head to your Windows start button and find "Settings"
- Select "Update & Security"
- Go to "Windows Update" and click on "Check for updates" which will scan for any updates and upgrade automatically (if there is one available)
If your operating system is up to date then you can try and just search for a targeted device driver (e.g. graphics card).
Perform a manual Windows driver update
Here is how you can search for a specific outdated device driver:
- Go to the taskbar and enter "Device Manager" in the search box
- Click on "Device Manager"
- Expand the category (e.g. Bluetooth) you are interested in updating then right-click the device you want to update which will appear below the category heading
- Choose "Update Driver", then "Search automatically for updated driver software"
If Windows still can't find a new driver, you should compare your driver version with the latest that's displayed on the manufacturer's website. If they have a newer release, you should follow the instructions on their website and download and install it.
Get an updater tool to do it all for you
So, we've saved the best for last. This is the easiest, safest, and fastest way to update drivers. An updater tool will not only look for one specific driver but all of them at once. It will then install the latest versions for you in a matter of minutes. Our CCleaner Driver Updater has over 25 million drivers in its database and it will quickly compare yours against each manufacturer and then install the latest and greatest versions. Done!
Best of all, this tool comes as part of a unique suite of PC optimization features in the CCleaner Professional bundle. It will also clean your PC, boost your online security, and optimize it so it's running as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Instead of just telling you about it, why not try it yourself and see what it does for your PC?
You can try all of these PC cleaning tools as part of our 14-day free trial. There is no need to enter your card details and no obligation whatsoever. Who knows, you could be surprised at how many drivers are out of date and how a good deep clean can boost your laptop?!