Update Peripheral Drivers Using Windows Device Manager

One thing you can do to avoid PC problems is to ensure that your hardware always has up-to-date software. For many of the computer’s devices, that means doing a software update. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Device Manager window.

  2. Open the category containing the device.

    For example, Network Adapters for networking hardware.

  3. Double-click to open the device you want to update.

  4. Click the Driver tab.

    The Driver tab in the device’s Properties dialog box contains several buttons dealing with updating the software that “drives” the device. (Windows XP lacks the Disable button.)

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  5. To update a driver, click the Update Driver button.

  6. Set the driver to search and update.

    • In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, choose the option Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software.

    • In Windows XP, choose the option Install the Software Automatically (Recommended) and then click the Next button.

    Windows searches the computer and then the Internet for the latest or most current software to control the device. If a newer drive is found, it’s automatically installed and updated; heed any directions given on the screen (such as to restart your computer).

    When no new driver is found, you can assume that the driver is up-to-date.

  7. Close the window when you’re done.

    It might be necessary to restart the computer after a software update. You’re alerted to whether you need to restart after you close the device’s Properties window.

The driver update procedure isn’t foolproof. Sometimes, newer drivers are available but not found. In that case, you should go to the manufacturer’s website to check for new drivers.

If you don’t know the manufacturer, use the device name at the top of the Properties dialog box as the search term for the Internet search engine of your choice. Peruse the results for a web page with Download, Support, or Driver in its title.

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