Updating Device Drivers

Keeping all your system drivers up to date is crucial in maintaining overall system stability. In this guide, we focus on the best way to obtain your system drivers and best of all, it's free!
What you need to know

Driver update can be done several different ways:

1)      Via Windows Update

2)      Manually

3)      Via third party Driver Update software (free and non-free)

Before we move on, I will briefly describe the advantages and disadvantages of these options:

Windows Update can help you update your system with latest drivers relatively easy. As a matter of fact, it’s no more difficult than doing windows updates in the first place. However, Windows Update will only list WHQL signed drivers. These drivers have been approved through Microsofts driver approval process and have been pushed out to customers. The disadvantage to this easy method is that it may not contain the latest drivers. Because driver signing can sometimes take longer time to complete, 2 or 3 revisions of driver have already come out, also waiting on the WHQL approval.

Manual driver update is the most recommended, as it allows you to obtain just those drivers you need, and the most current ones. However, it is difficult and requires accessing several different websites in order to gather all the files.

Third party software can be pretty useful in finding the latest driver with easy. The great thing about third party software is that it will include nonWHQL drivers as well, making sure you’re always getting the latest. It will also have options to backup your drivers, save them on a disk for future use, roll back between different versions, etc. The disadvantage of this method is that most good programs cost some money, usually between $30 to $100 on average. If you do a lot of frequent driver updates on multiple machines, this may not be a bad investment. Otherwise, it may be too expensive considering you can do it yourself.

This guide is going to focus on taking the right steps to approach driver updates MANUALLY, because it is the most effective solution. However, because it’s the most tedious, this guide should help ease you into the process.

Getting started

In order to obtain drivers for your hardware, you must first know the hardware in your system. If you’ve built your custom system yourself or are fairly familiar with what’s in it, then you are probably ready to go. If not, there are ways you can obtain information about your system.

We sell our custom computers with an invoice sheet that is given to you upon shipping. This invoice sheet contains all the parts that have been installed in your system. If you’ve purchased your system somewhere else, you want to be looking for a similar sheet and see if you can find more information about the parts in your system.

If you do not have this kind of information, don’t worry. There are free tools out there that can obtain system information through software.  Such tool is PCWizard, which you can obtain at the link below:

http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/pc-wizard.html

What you need, and what you don’t need

Not every single component in your system requires a driver. For a stable operation, the drivers should be installed for the following components:

1)      Chipset

2)      Network

3)      Audio

4)      Video

5)      SATA Storage

6)      Wireless – if applicable

7)      Bluetooth – if applicable

8)      Third party add-on cards

Components that don’t require drivers:

1)      Power supplies

2)      Hard drives

3)      Optical drives

4)      Card readers (some do)

5)      Keyboard

6)      Mouse

7)      Monitor

Gathering the files

When you have completed the information gathering, it’s time to start visiting manufacturer’s websites and obtaining the drivers.

We have arranged a thread of multitude of most popular manufacturers which can be accessed here:

http://avadirect.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=353

There are couple of things you should know:

1)      Best place to obtain drivers for devices that on the motherboard is through the board manufacturer. For example, if you have an Asus motherboard, then follow the link in the guide above to get to the Asus download page. You want to search for the exact same MODEL and REVISION of your board. Make sure you choose the CORRECT Operating System, so the drivers shown to you are compatible.

2)      For Display drivers, visit nVidia home page here: http://www.nvidia.com/page/home.html or AMD page here: http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/AMDSupportHub.aspx

3)      For add-on cards such as sound cards, RAID controllers, USB controllers, wireless and network cards, please visit the appropriate manufacturer .

4)      For notebooks, obtaining drivers can be a little bit more difficult, best place to start is the Manufacturer. If you know the exact parts, you can go to the manufacturer of the parts and look for drivers.

5)      Many manufacturers offer automatic scanning of your system to ensure you get the proper drivers. Use this feature as much as possible as it will make your driver updating experience much easier.

Finally, you’re always welcome to post in our Help Desk section if you’re unable to find what you’re looking for. One of our Tech Support representative will point you in the right direction and help you obtain the files you’re looking for. Also, it’s always a good idea to post your system configuration so we can make appropriate recommendations.

 *Disclaimer: AVADirect and its Staff are not responsible for any damage to software/hardware, loss of data or personal injury by following our How-To guides. These guides are provided only as an aid to help you troubleshoot system problems. If you do not feel comfortable performing these steps its always best to send in your system to a local repair shop or contact an appropriate technical support line for additional assistance.