How to Update Drivers in Windows 11

How to Update Drivers in Windows 11

A device driver is what facilitates the communication between a computer’s hardware and the operating system. Every piece of hardware attached to your computer relies on a driver for proper functioning, but sometimes, the driver could become outdated, potentially causing problems on your computer.

The solution is easy. Update your drivers using the Windows Update option available in Windows 11. By default, Windows 11 comes with automatic updates enabled.

Whether you have automatic updates turned on or off, knowing how to update drivers can come in handy and can help you fix a wide range of issues on your PC.

Update Optional Drivers in Windows 11

There are optional driver updates you can download and install if you’re facing a specific problem. Even if you have “automatic updates” enabled, you will need to manually check and update these drivers. For instance, if you are facing a problem with your printer and find an optional driver update for your printer, installing that could potentially help solve your problem.

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon. From the list of options available, click on Settings. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Windows + I to directly open Windows 11 Settings.

    Click Settings
    Select Settings.

  2. On the left panel, click on Windows Update.

    Click Windows Update
    Click Windows Update.

  3. You’ll be able to see that Windows automatically scans for available updates and installs them.

    Scans for Windows Updates
    Windows automatically checks for updates.

  4. Here, you can see that Windows has automatically detected and started installing essential updates. Essential updates include driver updates as well. However, not all driver updates are essential.

    Update history for Windows Updates
    Windows automatically detects and installs the essential updates.

  5. For the optional driver updates specifically, click on Advanced options.

    Click on Advanced Options
    Select Advanced Options.

  6. Now, select Optional updates.

    Click Optional Updates
    Select Optional Updates.

  7. Click on the downward arrow in Driver updates.

    Expand Driver Updates
    Click on the downward arrow.

  8. From the listed available Driver updates, check the ones you want to update. Once you select the updates, click on Download & install.

    Select the drivers to be updated
    Check the drivers you want to update and click on Download & install.

  9. The driver will automatically be downloaded and installed on your Windows 11 PC or laptop. Restart your PC or laptop for a smoother install.

    Automatically downloading selected drivers
    The driver will automatically be downloaded and installed.

Update Drivers from Device Manager

Another way to check for and manually update drivers in Windows 11 is by using the Device Manager option.

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon. Select Device Manager from the list of options.

    Select Device Manager
    Click Device Manager.

  2. In the left panel, you can see all the devices on your desktop. Right-click the desired device and select Update driver.

    Click Update driver
    Choose Update Driver.

  3. You’ll get two options:
    -If you want to update to the best available driver on your device, select Search automatically for drivers.
    -If you downloaded a driver manually from the driver’s website and want to update it, select Browse my computer for drivers and manually locate the location of your downloaded driver. Check the next section to understand how to download drivers from the manufacturer’s website and install them.

    Click Search automatically for drivers
    Select Search automatically for drivers.

  4. If you have automatic Windows 11 updates enabled, you will most likely already have the latest version of the driver. If you want to force check for updates, select Search for updated drivers on Windows Update.

    Best driver is already installed
    Select Search for updated drivers on Windows Update.

  5. This will take you to the Windows Update screen. You can click on Install now to complete your Windows Update, or go to Advanced options to download and install optional drivers.

    Windows update page after clicking Search for updated drivers
    Click on Install Now to complete your Windows Update.

Download & Update Drivers from Manufacturer

If you’re facing an issue that requires a specific driver update and you can’t find it in the optional updates, you can go to the manufacturer’s website to download and update the latest drivers.

  1. Press the Windows key. Search for device managers. Click on Open to open Device Manager.

    Open Device Manager
    Click on Open to go to Device Manager.

  2. Select the device you want to update the driver for. Right-click and select Properties.

    Click Properties
    Right-click the device you want to update and select Properties.

  3. In the Properties dialog box, go to the Driver tab. Note down the “Driver Version.”

    Check current Driver Version
    Go to the Driver tab and note the Driver Version.

  4. Now, go to your desktop’s website—for instance, Dell. Most desktop websites are similar. Go to Support and select Drivers & Downloads.

    Manufacturing website's drivers downloads page
    Go to Support and Select Drivers & Downloads.

  5. Tap on Browse all products and choose your PC. Once you select your device, click on Select This Product.

    Select device in manufacturer's website
    Browse all products and click on Select This Product to pick your device.

  6. You can see a list of all the drivers available for your device.

    Find driver in manufacturer's website
    List of drivers available for your device.

  7. You can type in a “keyword” to narrow down your search.

    Select drivers to download in manufacturer's website
    Type in a keyword to narrow down your driver search.

  8. Check the driver you want to update and compare it with the version you already have. Here, the device has the older version, while the newer version is available for download.

    Compare driver versions
    Compare the driver version you have vs the driver version available for download.

  9. Check the drivers that you want to download. Once you’re done, click on Download Selected.

    Click Download Selected in manufacturer's website
    Check the required drivers and click Download Selected.

  10. The driver file will be downloaded to your computer as a “.exe” file.

    Downloaded driver file
    The driver gets downloaded as a .exe file.

  11. Double-click on the .exe file, run it, and follow the installation wizard’s instructions. This will install the downloaded driver to your Windows 11 desktop.

Erik is a full-time product quality engineer at the IBM who has a passion for teaching others (and always learning) about technology. He has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology. Erik is the chief editor for Windows, Linux and coding tutorials.

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