Installing and updating Hardware Drivers in Windows 10

Once the Windows 10 installation is completed recommended to run Windows update to install drivers. Windows continues the tradition of hardware compatibility by providing support for a vast collection of devices available within the Windows ecosystem. Hardware detection in particular is an important part of the out of the box experience. Driver software which makes this happen, allows your hardware to function by communicating with the operating system. In this article, we take a look at installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10.

Installing and updating Hardware Drivers in Windows 10

Quick note: Before making any changes in your computer, I suggest you to create a System Restore point  so that you can restore back your computer to previous working stat if something goes wrong.

Installing drivers through Windows Update

Windows Update is the premier starting point to resolve most common driver issues you might experience immediately after installing Windows 10.

Simply launch it from Start > Settings > Update and Recovery and click Check for Updates
or
Press Windows key + R
Type: ms-settings:windowsupdate
Hit Enter
Click Check for updates (make sure you have an active Internet connection).

Windows update drivers - Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10.

Immediately, Windows Update will detect your system configuration and download all the appropriate drivers for your system. As you can see in the above screenshot, my Intel HD 3000 Graphics was installed automatically.

Important Drivers you should get after installing Windows 10.

When you perform a new install or upgrade, you should download the latest software drivers from the manufacturer’s website for your computer model. Important drivers include: Chipset, Video, Audio and Network (Ethernet/Wireless). For laptops, make sure you download the latest Touch Pad drivers. There are other drivers you will probably need, but you can often download these through Windows Update after have a working Internet connection setup.

Drivers folder - Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

How to find and download drivers from the manufacturer’s website:

Here are major computer manufacturers from where you can download drivers for your computer.

Install drivers using Device Manager

If your driver was not detected or installed by Windows Update, you can try installing the driver manually if you have a compatible version. Windows 10 and previous versions of Windows such as Windows 7 share the same driver model, so it should work.

Press Windows key + X
Click Device Manager

Device manager - update drives software - Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Once device manager is open, select the device, right click it and click Update Driver Software

Update driver software - Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

This will launch the update driver software wizard, which presents two options.

  • Search automatically for updated driver software – its possible Windows might have the driver software if you have not checked it yet, if its taking too long, then the next option is usually best.
  • Browse my computer for driver software – if there is a compatible driver and you already have the driver files, then all you need to do is point to it and Windows automatically install it for you.

Browse drivers - Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Here I have selected to use an existing driver, browse to where the driver is located on your computer, whether that is a partition, network share, thumbdrvie or install disc. Make sure the option to Include subfolders is checked.

Click Next and wait while the wizard completes the installation.

Using Compatibility Mode to Resolve Driver problems

If both Windows Update and driver update prove unsuccessful, the next option is Troubleshoot Compatibility. Troubleshoot Compatibility provides a simple way to make older drivers work under modern versions of Windows by making the driver believe it is being installed on a supported version of Windows.

Troubleshoot compatibility - Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Compatibility troubleshooter - Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

The first thing you need to do is point where the setup files are located. If you are installing from a thumb drive or CD/DVD. Launch File Explorer (Windows key + E) and open the location where the setup files are stored.

Right click the setup file for the program; this can be designated as setup.exe or something similar. Click Troubleshoot Compatibility

This will launch the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter wizard which will check for issues.

Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Select the option “Troubleshoot program”

Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Depending on the problems you are experiencing when attempting to install or use the software, check off the problems. In my case:

  • ‘The program worked in earlier versions of Windows but won’t install or run now’
  • The program requires additional permissions.

Click Next

Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Select a version of Windows the program is known to work in. I notice the program works great in Windows Vista (with Service Pack 2), so I will select that option. Click Next

Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Proceed to run the through the programs setup routine by clicking Test the program….

Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Follow the on screen instructions to install the program as you normally would.

Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

If all is successful, click the option at the end of the wizard ‘Yes, save these settings for this program’

Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Wait while your settings for the program are saved.

Installing and updating hardware drivers in Windows 10

Click Close.

Learn more about driver’s installation