Updating a Device Driver

by Barry Dysert
(last updated April 28, 2014)

There may be times when a device connected to your computer requires an update to its driver. You may notice that the device is not working properly or you may learn that an updated driver is available. To take advantage of the fixes and/or additional features provided by the new driver, you often need to go to the manufacturer's website and download the new driver.

Every manufacturer is different, so there's not just one way to go about this, but I'll provide an example of obtaining and updating the driver for my Brother MFC-J435W All-In-One device.

First, I need to go to their website (http://www.brother.com/) where I find what looks like a "Support" tab. By hovering my mouse over "Support," a drop-down menu appears. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Support menu.

Clicking on "Downloads" takes me to a page where I'm prompted to enter my device's model number. I do so and am presented with a link where I can download the latest driver for my device. Device drivers are usually packaged into an .exe file which can be run directly from Windows.

After I've downloaded the driver, I go to Start | Control Panel | Device Manager. Now I navigate to my All-In-One device, right-click the device name, and select Properties. On the new screen that appears, I click the "Drivers" tab and click the button labeled "Update Driver." (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Choosing the "Update Driver" button.

Windows then starts a wizard which first asks me how I want to search for the driver software: automatically or by browsing. Since I have already downloaded the new driver I select the option that lets me browse to find the updated driver file.

From this point it is simply a matter of following each of the wizard steps to complete the installation. Note that depending on your device, you may be prompted at the end of the installation to restart your system.

This tip is purposely vague and rather general. This is because so many of the details surrounding the updating of a driver depend on the particular device, its manufacturer, and your system configuration. The main points are the same, though: download the new driver from the manufacturer's website, invoke the Device Manager, and launch the Update Driver wizard.

 This tip (13086) applies to Windows 7.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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