Outdated drivers in Windows can result in bad performance, glitches, crashes, and even blue screens of death.
It goes without saying that we need to have the latest drivers installed. But, how? Let’s take a look at a few Windows 10 Hacks to find out.
All in all, here’s what we’ll be looking at:
- Use Windows Update
- Use Device Manager
- Use Your Manufacturer’s Website
- A couple of Exceptions
Use Windows Update
This is by far the easiest way of updating your computer. If your drivers are available from Microsoft, there is little next to nothing that you’ll have to do to install them.
However, do keep in mind that the drivers which Microsoft provides are not always the best. As a side note, you’ll also have to manage 3rd party software drivers. If you find it hard to manage everything, do check out the best driver updater.
Let me give you an example where Windows Updates will most likely disappoint you. The default VGA drivers that Microsoft usually provides for graphics cards are extremely bad.
I mean, they can probably do fine for some basic usage like watching videos or office work, but they often perform extremely bad at gaming. If they allow you to launch a game at all.
The ideal solution to this is installing your drivers from the manufacturer’s website. More on that later on.
Windows updates on Windows 10 are automatically getting installed. So, you don’t have to do much from your part.
Just make sure that your connection is not set to “metered” and that your active hours are configured correctly.
Use Device Manager
Your device manager is a program which lists all of the devices that you have connected to your computer and also allows you to update their drivers.
Again, this is often not the best choice for devices that require specialized drivers such as graphics cards.
However, it’s a great solution for devices that do not require 3rd party drivers and work just fine with Microsoft’s drivers.
For an example, I’ve got three USB sound cards and they all work perfectly with Microsoft’s drivers.
If you’re in a similar situation and want to install Microsoft’s drivers, right-click on your Windows logo (bottom left of your screen), select Device Manager, right-click on the device that you want to update, and select Update Driver.
Then just go with “Search automatically for updated driver software” and if there’s anything available for your device, then it should get installed.
If you have already installed your manufacturer’s drivers on a device, then it’s generally not recommended to replace them with Microsoft’s drivers through the device manager. Because that will likely introduce worse performance.
Use Your Manufacturer’s Website
Many devices will only work with their own specialized drivers. More often than not, network cards and graphics cards.
In cases like these, updates through Windows Update and Device Manager will most likely not cut it. You’ll have to visit your manufacturer’s website and your drivers from there.
It’s not that you won’t be able to install your updates from Windows Update/Device Manager at all. It’s just that they won’t make your devices work as they are intended to.
For an example, network cards might give you a low signal connection, graphics cards may not be able to give you their maximum possible framerate, and so on.
There are also devices that might not seem to need 3rd party drivers at first, but in reality, they do.
For an example, expensive mice. There are some of them that allow you to use 3rd party drivers and software to adjust the dpi, refresh rate, RGB color pattern, etc.
The process of installing 3rd party drivers is pretty simple. Just look at the brand of your device, go to its website, and look for drivers there. The website will provide you with the rest of the instructions depending on your device/model.
A Couple of Exceptions
Of all the things mentioned above, there are only two exceptions.
- Modified Devices
Laptop manufacturers often make their own specialized drivers. Mostly to save power in order to increase battery life and to make their modified devices work. More on modified devices in a minute.
For an example, my Laptop uses a non-modified graphics card where 3rd party drivers are available from its manufacturer’s website.
But instead of relying on that driver, it has a modified one which doesn’t use the graphics card to its maximum extent so that it can save on power.
And it’s in cases like these where you can consider replacing your Laptop’s original drivers with those of its original manufacturer.
With that being said, there are also cases where you shouldn’t use your manufacture’s drivers and rely on those of your Laptop. Mostly on modified devices.
Modified devices contain modified hardware and software. And you should always use their appropriate modified drivers with them. This sounds a bit confusing so let me give you an example.
My Dell Laptop has a Bluetooth device. However, Dell didn’t make that device on their own. They “borrowed” one from Broadcom.
The problem is that this Bluetooth adapter doesn’t work as it is with Dell’s chipset. They need to modify its hardware for that to happen.
And for that modified hardware to work, modified drivers are needed as well. If you try to use Broadcom’s official drivers on that adapter, chances are that they won’t work.
You’ll have to go over to Dell’s website, find your Laptop, and install your Bluetooth drivers from there. Not from Broadcom.
How to know if your device is modified or not? Well, as long as you’re using a Laptop, you’re better off just getting most of your drivers from your Laptop’s website. Cause Laptops are usually the ones having modified devices and drivers.
I know that all this information can be mind-boggling. But, you’ll get the hang of it – eventually. Cheers!