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The best free PC driver update tools everyone should have

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Dan Baker / Digital Trends

Updating your drivers is something that’s easy to forget, but can you really trust driver update tools? There are a lot of scammy, spammy, nefarious apps out there that promise to update drivers, but are bloatware at best and malware at worst. While here at Digital Trends we might be big fans of doing it the manual way for added control, there are some free PC driver update tools you can use that aren’t going to steal your data.

Here are some of our favorite free PC driver update tools that you can trust to do the job they claim.

Intel Driver and Support Assistant

A screenshot of the Intel drive application.

Do you have an Intel-based PC? Then you can use the Intel Driver and Support Assistant to keep your PC up to date. It will automatically download and install the latest chipset and system driver updates for your PC, making sure the motherboard, processor, and some associated hardware are all running the latest drivers and firmware updates.

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It supports Windows versions from 7 through 11 (though you really shouldn’t be using Windows 7 or 8.1 any more) and is free to download and install. It will automatically detect any Intel hardware in your system and will download any necessary driver updates. It can also provide you with custom support for any Intel hardware that you feel isn’t performing correctly.

AMD Auto-detect and Install tool

AMD driver update.
Digital Trends

AMD has an automated driver detection and update tool, too, and it works on both its Ryzen chipsets and Radeon graphics cards. The AMD Auto-detect and Install tool is only compatible with Windows 10 and 11, and it will only work on AMD hardware, leaving the rest of your system without driver updates — but if you’re an all AMD-fan, this, combined with Windows update, will get you most of the way to keeping your system up to date.

AMD Software/Nvidia GeForce Experience

A screenshot of the GeForce Experience application.
Monica J. White / Digital Trends

AMD and Nvidia both offer simple graphics driver updates as part of their respective graphics driver software packages. AMD’s Radeon Software: Adrenalin Edition has a single-click driver update function, and Nvidia’s GeForce Experience bundles streamlined driver updates, too.

These will only update your graphics drivers, and you’ll need to initialize the update yourself, but if you don’t mind that mild inconvenience, it’s still a lot more streamlined than manually updating your graphics via the manufacturer’s website.

Your prebuilt manufacturer’s driver update tool

If you’re looking to update the drivers on a prebuilt PC from a major manufacturer, then chances are your system came with an easy driver update tool. Dell has one called SupportAssist, Lenovo has one called the Lenovo System Update for Windows, and there are others. These tools will scan your system for any drivers that need updating for your bespoke hardware. That’ll likely include the motherboard and graphics card, but can extend to add-in cards too.

Do be aware, however, that these apps are notorious for installing additional bloatware and unnecessary applications that you may not want or need. These apps are free, though, and are tailored specifically to your PC, so they can do a good job of keeping the system updated.

Windows update

Running Windows update in Windows 11.
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It won’t do everything for you, but Windows Update is still a must-use tool for keeping your system updated. Alongside Windows updates and security patches, Windows will also update the drivers for certain hardware in your system. It is well known for not always updating the drivers to the most optimal version, though, and is often not as up to date as downloading drivers for devices straight from the manufacturer or software developer.

Everyone should make sure Windows update is run at least semi-regularly, whether that’s on an automated schedule or just manually now and again. Just don’t expect it to keep everything completely up to date for you.

Snappy Driver Installer

There are a lot of scammy, spammy driver installer applications out there, so it’s hard to recommend any of them. The one that we found the most agreeable and least-likely to be some form of scam is Snappy Driver Installer. It might look like quite a retro piece of software, but it did a good job of updating some of our drivers, and it’s ongoing development is supported by Patreon, so there’s a greater emphasis on developing it for the user.

It’s still entirely free to use, and can be run from a portable flash drive, so it’s easy to take the app with you to update computers on the go or to help quickly update someone else’s computer for them. It receives regular updates, is compatible with almost all versions of Windows, and it’s Open Source, so if you’re concerned about what it’s doing, you can take a look at the code yourself to find out.

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Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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