How to update drivers in Windows 10

Keeping your PC healthy should be a major priority. Without our desktops and laptops, we can’t shoot demons in 4K, edit high-resolution videos, or create a million-dollar presentation. Mobile devices are great, but they simply lack sufficient multitasking power.

To keep that spring in your PC’s step, making sure that everything remains updated is of the utmost importance. This is how to update drivers in Windows 10 so that your PC still feels young and vibrant years after you pulled it out of the box — or built it from scratch.

Use Windows Update

Windows 10 Check for Updates

Not only do updates patch flaws in Windows 10, but they also install new drivers for components like audio, Bluetooth, the connected display, and more. This is the quickest and easiest way to update drivers.

Step 1: Right-click on the Start button. Go to Power Menu > Settings.

Step 2: The Settings app appears on your screen. Select Update & Security.

Step 3: The Windows Update category loads by default. Click the Check for Updates button.

Use the OEM’s proprietary software

Alienware Update

Many pre-built desktops and laptops include a proprietary desktop program that downloads and installs driver updates. On the Start menu, they’re typically listed under the OEM’s name, like Dell or HP, or under the PC’s brand, like Alienware. Run this program to see if the manufacturer provides new updates, including BIOS upgrades.

What’s important to note here is that these drivers are optimized for your specific system. You’ll see updates to your PC’s BIOS, networking components, onboard graphics (and other hardware), and more. While you can go to a component manufacturer’s website and download newer drivers, using drivers issued through your PC’s manufacturer is a more streamlined process.

The only exception in this scenario is for discrete graphics built by AMD and Nvidia. You can safely grab the latest driver directly through them.

Use Device Manager

Another way to update device drivers is through the Device Manager. Here, we need to split this section into two parts: Microsoft and Manufacturer. While Microsoft may offer a recent driver that’s fully compatible with Windows 10, it may not be the latest issued for that component, like a hotfix or a beta driver.

Microsoft

Device Manager Update Driver

Step 1: Right-click on the Start button. Go to Power Menu > Device Manager.

Step 2: Click the Arrow next to the hardware category you want to update, like Bluetooth or Storage Controllers. This action expands the category to list the component(s) you want to update.

Step 3: Right-click on the component and select Update Driver on the pop-up menu.

Step 4: Select the Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software option on the following window.

Update Drivers Search Automatically

Windows 10 will scan Microsoft’s current driver stash to see if the component has a newer driver. If not, you’ll see a message reading, “The best drivers for your device are already installed.”

Manufacturer

Device Manager Update Driver

Step 1: Right-click on the Start button. Go to Power Menu > Device Manager.

Step 2: Click the Arrow next to the hardware category you want to update, like Bluetooth or Storage Controllers. This action expands the category to list the component(s) you want to update.

Step 3: Right-click on the component and select Update Driver on the pop-up menu.

Step 4: Select the Browse My Computer for Driver Software option on the following screen.

Update Drivers Browse My Computer

Step 5: Click the Browse button to open File Explorer and find the driver you downloaded. Be sure the Include Subfolders option is checked so that Windows 10 finds the correct INF file.

Step 6: Click the Next button to start the update.

Update Drivers Browse For Driver

Updating graphics — AMD

Adrenalin 2020 Edition Get Driver

You can update Radeon graphics two ways: Through AMD’s desktop client or by downloading the driver suite directly from the company’s website. Here are the links:

  • Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition: This desktop client sends you a notification when a new driver is available. You can also click the Gear icon located in the top-right corner, followed by the System tab. You’ll then see a Check for Updates option.
  • AMD Radeon driver depot: Simply download the package and launch the installer — no Windows Update or Device Manager needed.

Updating graphics — Nvidia

GeForce Experience Get Driver

Like AMD, you can update Nvidia’s GeForce drivers two ways: Through Nvidia’s desktop client or by downloading the driver suite directly from the company’s website. Here are the links:

  • GeForce Experience: This desktop client sends you a notification when a new driver is available. You can also click the Drivers tab to manually check.
  • Nvidia GeForce driver depot: Simply download the package and launch the installer — no Windows Update or Device Manager needed.

Updating graphics — Intel

Intel currently doesn’t offer discrete graphics. Instead, GPU cores are integrated into the CPU. However, you can manually update the drivers using the company’s Intel Driver & Support Assistant tool.

After you install your product, click the blue Launch button to check for driver updates. The application will scan your system and open a browser window. It will then list the latest drivers available for your PC. If there are no newer versions available, the message reads, “Your Intel drivers and software are up to date.”

Note that if you’re running a pre-built system, you’ll run into issues here. The tool can’t update customized OEM drivers. You’ll need to load the PC manufacturer’s proprietary update tool to receive an update.

Warning! Don’t use third-party clients

Never use third-party driver update software, no matter how tempted you are. Even if they look legit, you have no way of knowing for sure how safe they are unless you’re an expert in the field. The software you install from a third party could be out-of-date, corrupt, or malicious.

All manufacturers’ drivers are free to download, which means you should never find yourself paying to download new drivers. If someone is charging you for them, it’s most likely a third-party website.

These are all of the safest methods of updating your PC’s drivers. If you’re ever unsure about what to do, don’t trust anyone except reputable guides and your manufacturer’s website. Many of them have a phone number or online chat if you need help.

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