Drivers are an essential part of your computer. They act as a bridge between your computer hardware and the operating system, allowing Windows to communicate with various components inside your computer.
Windows 11 comes with a basic set of drivers for most hardware, ensuring your computer and peripherals work straight out of the box.
But like all software, it’s important to keep your drivers up to date.
Why Update Your Drivers?
One significant reason to keep drivers updated is bug fixes. When manufacturers create drivers for their hardware, they may initially ship with inefficient code or forgo more advanced functionality. They may update their drivers to address bugs that can cause crashes or slow performance. Newer drivers may provide more optimized code, which can translate to better performance and reliability.
Newer drivers may also utilize extra hardware features older drivers don’t account for. For example, most graphics cards will work with the basic drivers Windows 11 ships with, allowing video output to your monitor. But newer drivers can allow you to use higher video resolutions, control power management, and fine-tune advanced settings to optimize the card’s performance for specific applications.
Now that you understand why you might need to update your drivers, let’s get into how to update drivers in Windows 11.
Run Windows Updates
The quickest way to update your drivers is to go through Windows Update. Start by opening up the Settings app, and navigate to Windows Update.
Next, click on the Check for Updates button.
If there are any drivers available as part of a Windows Update, Windows will download and install them as part of the update.
Check for Optional Updates
If you don’t see any new drivers available after checking for updates, then you’ll want to check for optional updates. From the Windows Update menu in the Settings app, click on the Advanced options menu located under More options.
Under Additional options, click on Optional updates.
If Windows finds any new drivers, it will list them here. Check the ones you want to update and then click Download & install.
Use Device Manager
If you want to update or reinstall specific drivers, you can use Device Manager. Start by right-clicking the Start menu and clicking on Device Manager. Once you’re in Device Manager, select the device you want to update the drivers for.
To update the driver, right-click on the device and select Update driver.
From here, choose Search automatically for drivers. If Windows finds an updated driver for your device, it will automatically install it for you.
If you’ve updated your driver and find that it’s causing issues, you can also easily reinstall it by selecting Uninstall device from the context menu.
On the following dialogue box, click Uninstall, and then restart your computer to have Windows automatically reinstall the driver for you.
Check the Manufacturer’s Website
For one reason or another, sometimes manufacturers put out new drivers that don’t make it into Windows’ updates. This is especially common with graphics card drivers.
When looking for drivers manually, make sure to stick to the manufacturer’s website. Also, make sure you grab the right drivers. You want to make sure that the drivers you’re downloading are compatible with Windows 11 and that they match your hardware.
Manufacturers often offer their drivers in an executable file, so installing them is usually as easy as running the executable and following the instructions in the setup wizard.
Avoid Driver Updater Software
There are many driver update programs available on the Internet. They can tempt you to take the easy way out, offering simple 1-click updates for all your drivers. And they’re free! What’s not to love?
Well, the issue with these types of programs is that they typically offer drivers from unknown sources and may cause issues, at best. At worst, these programs can actually be malware masquerading as a convenient tool. Despite how tempting it is to take the easy way, you should reconsider and avoid using any programs like this.
Besides, most devices don’t receive driver updates very frequently, so it’s not like you’ll have to spend a ton of time repeatedly hunting down new drivers. Stick with Windows Updates or the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers for your devices.