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Doing This Regularly Will Make Your Windows PC Last Longer

Keeping your Windows drives up-to-date is crucial for maintaining system stability, security, and performance. Regularly updating your drivers ensures that you have access to the latest features, bug fixes, and compatibility improvements. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of checking your current driver versions and updating them in Windows. Whether you're a novice user or an experienced one, the steps outlined here will help you keep your system running smoothly.

Related: Become a Windows Computer Wiz by Using These 11 Tricks

I. Understanding Driver Versions 

Before diving into the updating process, it's necessary to understand how driver versions work. Windows drivers consist of various components, including device drivers, firmware, and software. Each component has its own version number, indicating the current iteration of that specific component. Updates can include both major releases and minor patches, depending on the changes made.

To determine whether an update is available for a particular drive, you need to check its current version. Windows provides several methods to accomplish this.

1. Device Manager:

Open the Device Manager by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting Device Manager. Expand the relevant category (e.g., Display Adapters, Network Adapters) and right-click on the driver you want to check. Select Properties, navigate to the Driver tab, and find the current version details. Expand the categories and look for any devices with a yellow exclamation mark or a red X next to them. These indicate drivers that need attention.

2. Manufacturer's Website:

Visit the driver manufacturer's website and locate the support or downloads section. Enter the driver model or serial number to find the latest available version information.

II. Updating Windows Drives 

Once you have identified the current versions of your drives, it's time to proceed with the updating process. Follow the steps below to update your Windows drives effectively:

1. Windows Update (Automatic Updates)

Windows offers an automatic update feature that keeps your system up-to-date with the latest patches and drivers. To enable automatic updates: 

  • Press the Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  •  Click on Update & Security, then navigate to the Windows Update tab.
  • Click on Advanced Options and ensure that Automatic is selected under Choose how updates are installed.
  • Windows will now automatically download and install updates, including driver updates, when available. Restart your system if prompted.

2. Windows Update (Manual Updates)

In some cases, automatic updates may not install certain driver updates. Manually checking for updates can be helpful in such situations.

  • Open the Settings app (Windows Key + I) and go to Update & Security" > "Windows Update.
  • Click on Check for updates to see if any new updates, including driver updates, are available.
  •  If updates are found, click Download and Install to start the installation process. Restart your system if prompted.

3. Device Manager (Driver Updates)

The Device Manager provides a straightforward method to update specific drivers manually.

  • Open the Device Manager.
  • Expand the relevant category and right-click on the driver you want to update.
  • Select Update driver and choose either "Search automatically for updated driver software" or "Browse my computer for drivers."
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the driver update process.

4. Manufacturer's Website (Driver Updates)

If Windows Update or the Device Manager fails to find the latest driver version, you can visit the manufacturer's website to download and install updates manually.

Identify the manufacturer and model of the driver you wish to update (using the Device Manager or physical labeling).

  • Visit the manufacturer's website and navigate to the support or downloads section.
  • Locate the appropriate driver for your driver model and operating system version.
  • Download the driver and follow the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer.    

Related: These New Windows 11 Features Are Great Additions

5. Third-Party Driver Update Software (Optional)

Alternatively, you can use third-party driver update software to automate the process of updating your Windows drives. These tools scan your system for outdated drivers and provide a convenient way to download and install the latest versions. However, exercise caution when choosing and using such software, as not all programs are reliable or safe.

III. Using Driver Update Utilities 

Apart from manually updating your drivers, you can utilize driver update utilities to simplify the process. These software applications scan your system for outdated drivers, provide recommendations, and help in downloading and installing the latest versions. Here are a few popular driver update utilities:

1. Driver Booster: Developed by IObit, Driver Booster is a reliable utility that automatically scans and updates outdated drivers. It offers a large database of drivers and provides a one-click update solution.

2. Snappy Driver Installer: Snappy Driver Installer is an open-source utility that allows you to update multiple drivers simultaneously. It offers offline driver installation options and provides detailed information about each driver update.

3. Driver Talent: This is a user-friendly utility that scans for outdated drivers and offers one-click updates. It also provides additional features like driver backup, restore, and uninstallation.

Remember, when using driver update utilities, choose reputable and trustworthy software from reliable sources. Be cautious of potential adware or malware bundled with some free driver update utilities.

IV. Windows Hardware Compatibility List

Windows Hardware Compatibility List  

Image source: Youtube

The Windows Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) is a database maintained by Microsoft that provides information about the compatibility of hardware components with specific versions of the Windows operating system. It helps users ensure that their Windows drives, such as device drivers and firmware, are compatible with their operating system. Users can access the HCL and search for their specific driver models to determine if they are listed as compatible or supported for their version of Windows. By doing so, users will be able to make informed decisions regarding the types of updates they wish to make when updating their Windows drives, ensuring optimal performance and compatibility.

V. Updating the Firmware 

In addition to updating device drivers, it's also worthwhile to keep the firmware of your drives up-to-date. Firmware updates often include key performance enhancements, bug fixes, and security patches. Here's how to update your drives' firmware:

1. Identify the firmware

Determine the hardware: Identify the specific hardware components for which you want to update the firmware. This can include devices such as the motherboard, graphics card, solid-state drives (SSDs), or other peripherals.

Manufacturer's support page: Visit the manufacturer's website for the hardware component you want to update. Look for the support or downloads section.

2. Locate the firmware update

Search for firmware updates: Navigate through the manufacturer's support page and locate the firmware updates section.

Model and version: Enter the model number or select the specific product variant to ensure you find the correct firmware update for your hardware.

Operating system compatibility: Check if the firmware update is compatible with your Windows version. Some firmware updates may require specific operating system versions or updates.

3. Perform the firmware update 

Download the firmware update: Click on the appropriate firmware update file and download it to your computer. Save it to a location where you can easily access it later.

Run the firmware update tool: Locate the downloaded firmware update file and double-click on it to run the firmware update tool. Follow any on-screen instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Confirm the hardware: Some firmware update tools may scan your system to ensure compatibility with the hardware. Verify that the hardware selected for the update is correct.

Start the update process: Click on the Start or Update button to initiate the firmware update process. Avoid interrupting the process or turning off your computer during the update.

Monitor the update progress: The firmware update tool will display the update progress. It may take several minutes to complete, so be patient and allow the process to finish.

Restart your computer: Once the firmware update is complete, you may be prompted to restart your computer. Follow the instructions and restart your system if necessary.

5. Verify the firmware update 

Confirm the update: After restarting your computer, verify that the firmware update was successful. You can do this by checking the manufacturer's support page or using the firmware update tool to view the updated firmware version.

Test functionality: Test the hardware component to ensure that it is working properly after the firmware update. Verify that all features and functions are functioning as expected.

Related: If Your Windows PC Is Slowing Down, You Should Read This

VI. Troubleshooting Driver Update Issues 

While updating your Windows drives, you may encounter certain issues or errors. Here are some common troubleshooting steps to help resolve driver update problems:

1. Restart your system: Sometimes, a simple system restart can resolve driver update issues. Restart your computer and try updating the driver again.

2. Check for conflicting software: Some software applications, such as antivirus programs or firewalls, can interfere with driver updates. Temporarily disable such software and attempt the update process again.

3. Roll back the driver: If you experience compatibility or stability issues after updating a driver, you can roll back to the previous version. Open the Device Manager, right-click on the driver, select Properties, navigate to the Driver tab, and click Roll Back Driver.

4. Clean installation: In some cases, a clean installation of the driver may be necessary. Use driver uninstallation tools or the Device Manager to uninstall the current driver completely. Then, install the latest version from the manufacturer's website.

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