Monday, December 6th, 2021

How to Update Drivers on Windows 11

It’s usually easy to install new or updated drivers for hardware devices in your Windows 11 PC, such as USB controllers, video cards, printers, or other peripherals. You’ll learn how in this article.

Usually, You Don’t Need To Update Drivers

I want to discuss when you should update your Windows 11 hardware drivers before we begin updating drivers. You should only update your drivers if a graphics card driver needs to be updated or if an update fixed a problem you’ve encountered.

A driver update can break your system if your devices are already working. It would help if you didn’t fix something that isn’t broken, as the saying goes.

How to Update Drivers on Windows 11
How to Update Drivers on Windows 11

The Safest Way to Update Your Drivers

If you need driver updates, you should know that Windows 11, which comes with Windows Update, automatically updates many drivers. Windows will typically take care of minor but necessary updates to standard components like touchpads and USB controllers whenever you update your PC.

Some driver updates will also appear as “Optional Updates” in Windows Update. Unless you are solving a specific problem with a device, we (and Microsoft) recommend not installing these updates. Even so, it’s worth checking to see if any Optional Updates are available if you’re experiencing problems. You can do this by pressing Windows+i and going to Settings. Select “Advanced Options” in the sidebar after clicking “Windows Update.”

You can update your options in Advanced Options by scrolling down and clicking “Optional Updates.”

The “Driver Updates” section header can be expanded from the “Optional Updates” section. Next, select the drivers you’d like to update from the list and mark them with a checkmark. Press “Install” to begin the update.

If necessary, Windows will reboot your PC after installing the selected drivers. Once you reboot, the updated drivers will be in place. However, you won’t find every driver through Windows Update. If so, please refer to the section below.

The Best Place to Manually Updated Drivers

You may need to update a device, such as a graphics card, that is not covered by Windows Update. If that’s the case, you’ll need to locate the manufacturer’s official website. Find the “Support” section and look for the “updates,” or “drivers” for your device there.

You should be aware that many scam driver sites install malware instead of drivers, so you should make sure you are on the manufacturer’s site. Many online drivers update utilities are worthless and may contain malware or scams.

Obtain a trusted driver package from your device’s manufacturer, extract it, and run the setup or installation program. Usually, the updated driver will install automatically, and you will have to reboot afterwards. You will then be able to use your updated drivers.

When NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel GPU drivers are installed, a utility called GeForce Experience (for NVIDIA hardware) is automatically installed to make future driver updates easier. As new games come out, you can update your GPU drivers by using that program.

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Manually Update Drivers with Device Manager

The Device Manager also allows you to use it to change or update drivers on your Windows 11 PC, but most people don’t need to use this feature. Start Device Manager by clicking the Start button, searching for “device manager,” then click the Device Manager icon in the search results.

Locate the device that needs to be updated in the Device Manager window of your PC. Click “Update Driver” from the menu that appears.

There are two options available when you click “Update Drivers”. In the section below, we’ll explore both options in more detail, but first, let’s see what each does.

  • Search automatically for drivers: Windows will look for and install compatible drivers when this option is selected.
  • Browse my computer for drivers: You can specify where to install the new drivers manually with this option. It can be helpful if you have already a driver from the manufacturer’s website or if you want to install drivers from a CD. However, the driver installation program is missing or does not work.

With the “Automatically find drivers” option selected, Windows will run a scan of your system’s driver files, looking for the latest driver updates for the device. Once the files are found, they will be installed, and you will need to restart your computer.

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In this case, you will see, “The best drivers for your device are already installed.” Clicking “Search for updated drivers on Windows Update” will open the Settings > Windows Update menu. You can also click “Close.”

You can browse for new driver files on your computer by clicking the “Browse” button and following the on-screen instructions. Or, you can click “Let me choose from a list of available drivers on my computer.”

Windows will present you a list of compatible drivers for the device if it recognized the driver you searched for, or you selected “Let me choose from a list of available drivers on my computer.” Select an item in the list and click “Next.”

You do not need to update your drivers if you see “The best drivers for your device are already installed.”. Suppose it’s not needed, close Device Manager. In any case, the driver will install it if it is more recent than the old one. Your PC will then be restarted after it has finished installing the new driver. Press “OK.”

 

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