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How to install and update device drivers in Windows 10

In this tutorial, we explore various ways to install and update missing hardware drivers in Windows 10. These steps may also apply for older versions of Windows as well.

  1. If you already have Internet, you can use Windows Updates to see if there's a driver for your hardware at Microsoft's list, by typing windows updates at the Windows Search bar, and clicking on Check for Updates. After installation, you might need a restart.
  2. At the Windows Search bar, type Device Manager and press Enter to get to the Device Manager. You can also access the Device Manager by right-clicking on This PC on your Desktop, and clicking on Manage. And navigate to Device Manager from the list on the left side. You can also right-click on This PC again, and click on Properties, and again from the list on the left click on Device Manager. You will also find Device Manager at the Control Panel.
  3. If you don't have Internet, it is advisable to install the network adapter driver first, so you can use the Internet to install the rest of the drivers. You will need access to Internet from a different computer to download the driver, and a USB stick or drive to transfer the driver to the computer with the missing driver.
  4. If you know your model number or service tag (usually found at the back of the PC or at the bottom of the laptop) of your PC or laptop, you can go to the manufacturer's website and download the drivers directly from there, selecting the appropriate operating system beforehand. Some manufacturer's (like Dell or HP) offer a free Detection tool, which you have to download and install on your computer. By having this tool installed and having access to the Internet, this tool will automatically identify the hardware on your computer and give a list of drivers available or update them automatically.
  5. If you can't find the drivers for your devices through the manufacturer's website, or you don't know which hardware you have, right-click the Unknown Device (that's how Windows names the devices without a driver), and click on Properties.
  6. Navigate to the Details tab. From the drop-down list, select the Hardware IDs, and right-click on the first row of information from the box. Click Copy.
  7. Open your web browser and navigate to the website. Paste that information on the search box and click Enter. From the list of results, you will see the model number of the missing device, like Intel AC 8260 etc. Now perform another Google search with that model number. Make sure you go to the manufacturer's website (Intel, Broadcom, nVidia, Asus, etc) to download the drivers. Make sure you choose the appropriate operating system and the latest version. After installation, you might need to restart your computer.
  8. It is recommended that you install the drivers in this order: 1 - Chipset, 2 - Video Card (graphics), 3 - Network Adapter (WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth), 3 - Audio Driver, 4 - Media card reader, etc. You will need a restart for most of these drivers after installation.
  9. You can update the driver by right-clicking on it on the Device Manager, and click on Update driver from the menu. You can choose the first option that will check online from Windows Updates for the latest version of the driver, or you can choose the 2nd option, in which you can Browse for the driver that you have already downloaded on your computer (some downloads need to be extracted from a .zip file before this can work).
  10. If a driver installation is causing issues, you can rollback to the previous version of the driver, by right-clicking on the device on the Device Manager, click on Properties from the menu. Navigate to the Driver tab and click on Roll Back Driver button. You might need to restart your computer.

Disclaimer: The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. You are solely responsible for verifying the information as being appropriate for your personal use.

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