Drives-What is it, Where Do I Find, View installed drives and Update it

Once you have your device physically connected, you may need to install a driver. This is needed if Windows does not include driver support for your device.

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What is a driver?

A driver is software that allows your computer to communicate with hardware or devices. Without drivers, the hardware you connect to your computer—for example, a video card or a printer—will not work properly. Drivers are written to work with a specific device or device type, so you may need to locate a driver for your hardware.

How can I find a driver?

In many cases your hardware will be supported by drivers that are included with Windows. If Windows reports that there is not a driver available, there are several options to proceed:

  • Check the Action Center for messages about drivers for your hardware.
  • Check the Device Installation Settings interface from the Hardware tab of Advanced System Properties, to turn on driver downloading. Enabling this setting causes Windows to check Windows Update for available drivers.
  • Use Windows Update to check for updates. This will offer updated drivers.
  • Check the device manufacturer’s website.

The Device Installation Settings interface is shown below. This is enabled by default on Windows.

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Note: This interface is called Windows Update Driver Settings on Windows Vista.

How to View Installed Drivers

Once you have a device installed, it should be listed in Device Manager. This interface provides the overall view of devices connected to your PC, and drivers used by Windows. Each device entry in Device Manager provides information on the driver files and driver version being used to support the device.

How to Open Device Manager

Click Start type Device Manager in search box and select Device Manager

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All installed hardware are shown in Device Manager Console

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In the above example, we are missing a driver for the sound card (multimedia audio controller), and another device.

How to Update Driver

You can right-click a device entry in Device Manager, and use the Update driver option to find a driver for one of these devices or for a device where you already have a working driver. This opens the interface shown below.

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If you choose Search automatically for updated driver software, Windows checks for better drivers available with Windows, and from Windows Update online if you chose the recommended settings during Windows installation.

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