How to update Drivers on Windows 11

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The Safest Way to Update Your Drivers

When seeking driver updates, it’s important to know that Windows automatically keeps many drivers up-to-date with Windows Update, which is built into Windows 11. So if there are any minor but necessary updates to common components such as touch-pads or USB controllers, Windows will typically take care of them automatically the next time you update your PC.

In addition, some driver updates arrive as “Optional Updates” in Windows Update. Microsoft doesn’t recommend installing these updates unless you are trying to solve a specific known problem with a device. But, if you are having a problem, it’s worth checking to see if any Optional Updates are available.

  • To do so, open Settings by pressing Windows key+i.
  • In Settings, click “Windows Update” in the sidebar, then select “Advanced Options”.
  • In Advanced Options, scroll down and click “Optional Updates”. In Optional Updates, click the “Driver Updates” section header to expand it. Then browse the list and place check marks beside any driver you’d like to update. When you’re done, click “Download & Install”.

Windows will install the drivers you selected, and if necessary, ask to reboot your PC. After a reboot, you’re good to go with updated drives. You won’t find every driver in Windows Update, however. In that case, see the section below.

Finally, you can also use Device Manager to switch or update drivers for specific devices in your Windows 11 PC, but most people don’t need to do this. To get started, open Device Manager: Click the Start button and search “device manager”, then click the Device Manager logo in the results.

In the Device Manager window, browse the list of installed devices on your PC and locate the device that you’d like to update the driver for. Right-click it and select “Update Driver”.

In the “Update Drivers” window that appears, you have two choices. We’ll cover both of them below, but first, here’s a look at what each option does.

  • Search automatically for drivers: This choice makes Windows search Windows for compatible drivers and install them automatically.
  • Browse my computer for drivers: This option lets you manually specify the location of the new drivers you want to install. This can come in handy if you already downloaded drivers from the manufacturer’s website or would like to install drivers from a CD, but the driver installation program is absent or doesn’t work properly.

If you choose “Search automatically for drivers”, Windows will run a scan of your system’s driver files, looking for updated drivers for the device. If it finds them, it will install them and ask you to restart your PC.

If not, you’ll see “The best drivers for your device are already installed”. At this point, you can further your search by clicking “Search for updated drivers on Windows Update”, which will open the Settings > Windows Update menu. Otherwise, click “Close”.

If you choose “Browse my computer for drivers”, you can browse for a location where you know new driver files are located by clicking the “Browse” button and following the on-screen steps. Or you can click “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer”.

If Windows recognized the drivers you browsed for — or you selected “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer” — Windows will present you a list of compatible drivers you can choose from for the device. Select an item in the list and click “Next”.

If you see “The best drivers for your device are already installed”, then no update is necessary. You can close Device Manager, and you’re done. Otherwise, the driver will install if it is newer than the old one. After that, Windows will ask you to restart your PC. Click “Yes”.

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