Find, install and update the correct drivers

Is your computer giving errors when connecting a device? Or does hardware not work optimally? Without the correct drivers or drivers, your applications will not be able to access the connected hardware correctly. We'll show you how to find, install and keep the right drivers up to date.

Years ago, in the days of DOS, drivers barely existed. At the time, software developers had to make sure that their programs could control the necessary hardware. Fortunately, that time is behind us. Drivers, also known as drivers, provide an extra layer between the hardware and the software, as it were. The programs no longer have to take care of controlling the hardware themselves.

Once you've installed a good driver for a hardware component, basically all programs can handle that hardware. However, that also means that a wrong or defective driver can put your (system) in serious trouble. It is therefore very important to equip your system with optimal drivers and to have it checked regularly for updates.

01 Automatic installation

When you install Windows, the drivers for most hardware components will be installed automatically. During the installation process, Windows detects the connected hardware and immediately tries to provide it with the necessary drivers. Windows has many thousands of drivers on board. However, it can happen that not all (or not the most recent or optimal) drivers are installed. This is especially the case with older versions of Windows. In case of problems, therefore, first check whether the Windows Update settings are optimally set. Open it Control Panel (in Windows 8 you can find this option via Windows key + X), choose behind Show on in front of Big Icons and select Windows Update. First click on Change settings and see if there is a check mark next to it Receive recommended updates in the same way as important updates. If not, place the check mark. Confirm with OK and choose Looking for updates.

The link will appear afterwards x optional updates are available, then click on it and place a check mark next to the (driver) updates that you want to install. Confirm with OK and press the button Install updates. The updates are downloaded and then installed. Fortunately, Windows is wise to create a system restore point first, so that you can always return to the previous state in case of problems.

Drivers can also be installed via (optional) Windows updates.

02 Windows update tweak

Do you dread calling Windows Update on a regular basis and (after any selection) Install updates You can also set Windows to automatically check for updates at regular intervals. That can also be set via Change settings. In the drop-down menu, choose Install updates automatically (recommended), after which you set a suitable time (default is every day at 3:00 AM).

It is also possible to have Windows automatically search for drivers as soon as you have a new device connected to your system. You activate this option from the Control Panel where you (in icon view) Devices and Printers selects. Then right-click the name of your computer and choose Settings for installation ofdevice. Dot the option Yes, automatically download drivers and icons(recommended) if you indeed prefer such an automatic installation. The alternative is No, I decide what needs to be done, after which you for example Install drivers from Windows Update if they are not on the computer can touch. Confirm your choice with Saving Changes.

Windows can also automatically search for drivers when you connect a device to your computer.

03 Device Manager

In any case, it is a good idea to check after the installation of Windows and every time after the installation of a device whether the required driver has been installed correctly. This can be done through the Device Manager, which you can also find in the Control Panel. Are you often in the Device Manager now? Then you can call it even faster via Windows key+R / type devmgmt.msc and press Enter.

If all drivers are installed correctly and so your devices are supposed to function correctly, you will get a list with the different device types listed. Click a white triangle next to such a device type to see the individual devices. If you see a red cross (Windows XP) or a small black arrow in the device icon, it means that this device has been disabled for some reason. If you need the device, right click it and choose Switch. It can be this easy.

Everything is fine in the Device Manager, only this device is still disabled.

roll back

It can always happen that a driver update does not give the expected result. That's why it's important that you always create a system restore point before installation so that you can go back to that point. An alternative (at least up to and including Windows 7) is that when you start up the system, you briefly hold down the F8 key and in the advanced Windows boot menu the option Last Known Good Configuration selects. Another thing you can try is to start Windows in safe mode, after which you can Device Manager open, right-click the defective device and Characteristics selects. You may find it on the tab Driver the option Previous Driver back. This will cause Windows to revert to the previous driver.

A failed update can normally still be 'rolled back'.

04 Device Manager Problems

The problem of a switched off device is easy to solve. However, a few other problems can arise that are often less quick or less easy to solve.

We briefly discuss the different indications in the Device Manager. When you see an exclamation mark on a yellow background, it usually means that Windows has recognized the device, but has not found or was unable to install the correct driver. If you see the 'device type' Unknown device in the list, with the item Unknown device in it one or more times, then Windows has failed to recognize the device. Then it is also possible that Windows has installed a generic (and therefore not product-specific) driver for a certain device. This usually works, but often not optimally (due to fewer features or performance).

Problems...an unknown device and erratic drivers!

05 Quirky Driver

Suppose a device does not work (or does not work properly) and an exclamation mark in the Device Manager is already a strong indication that something is wrong with the driver. At first you can try it like this, but the chances are relatively small that it will yield anything. Right-click the appropriate device and select Update Drivers / Search for Updated Drivers Automatically. If Windows still finds a suitable driver, have it installed. If that's not the case, you still have a few options: either you track down the correct driver yourself, or you call on a more specialized tool. We will tell you more about this last option in step 9 of this article. We first focus on the 'manual' method.

Windows can also search for drivers and driver updates itself.

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