Updating a Device Driver

by Barry Dysert
(last updated April 28, 2014)

2

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. ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Scanning Pictures with a Scanner

If all you have is a hardcopy picture, you can still digitize it by using a scanner. This tip gives a high-level description ...

Discover More

Displaying Hidden and System Files in a Folder

Files (and folders) can be marked hidden so that you don't see them in Windows Explorer. This tip tells you how to configure ...

Discover More

Displaying the Number of Files or Folders within a Folder

You can easily determine how many files and folders there are within a folder by making quick use of Windows Explorer or File ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Choosing How to Use Multiple Monitors

Do you have multiple monitors (or a projector) hooked up to your system? Here's how to utilize that second display device ...

Discover More

Choosing a Power Management Plan

Windows maintains a number of power management plans that define how long the various components of your system sit idle ...

Discover More

Using Powercfg to Export and Import a Power Scheme

You can export to a file your power schemes and then import them later on. The only caveat is that you must be running as ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 1?

2014-04-29 13:33:48

Barry

My thoughts, which may not reflect the opinion of Tips.net, are that it's better to be safe than sorry. I too am skeptical about everything, which is why, if I do update a driver (which in itself is rare, i.e., if it's not broke...), I go to the specific website of the manufacturer. And I only do one at a time so that I can rollback should something go wrong.


2014-04-29 13:24:55

Lew Hundley

What are your thoughts on some of the websites out there that deal with the general update of all drivers. I tried one a few months back, and it seemed ok. I checked it out by Google Search, and didn't really find anything that should have steered me away. However, with all of the 'stuff' going on these days on the web, I am very skeptical about EVERYTHING. I rejected the service.


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.