Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Why, how and where to update your Windows 8 drivers

Is your hardware on the fritz after upgrading to Windows 8? Updating your drivers could fix the problem

Article comments

Has your computer's hardware started freaking out, freezing up or behaving in weird ways since you've made the jump to Windows 8? Don't lay blame at the feet of a mischievous gremlin. Instead, it's much more likely that your devices simply aren't rocking the most up-to-date Windows 8-compatible drivers.

Yes, a simple driver update might just fix your Windows 8 hardware woes.

The Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant does a decent job of identifying which parts and software in your rig need an update prior to installing Windows 8 - and Microsoft's Windows Compatibility Center website offers the same feature for DIY types who prefer to search for specific programs and hardware--but many devices still fall through the cracks, and you'll need to manually update any drivers Microsoft can't snag itself. (Note that the process outlined below works for Windows 7, as well.)

How to update Windows 8 drivers

Before you get your hands dirty, however, you should see if Windows Update has automatically checked for driver updates. Not all drivers are available through Windows Update, but many are and it's the easiest way to proceed.

To check, open the Charms bar and select Settings. Then, choose Change PC Settings and navigate to the Windows Update settings menu. The only thing you can do here is click the Check for Updates Now button and see if it finds any. By default, Windows will install updates during your next scheduled maintenance--usually in the middle of the night--but you can force the updates to install post-haste by clicking on the link that tells you how many updates are ready to install.

If that doesn't work, you will need to manually update the driver for your finicky hardware. To do that, you'll have to use the trusty Device Manager. You'd be excused for thinking that the Device Manager would be found in the Devices tab of the Windows 8 settings menu, but it's not quite that simple. Instead, you'll have to launch it manually by returning to the Home screen and typing "Device Manager" then clicking on the Settings tab in the search menu. There you'll see the Device Manager, which will launch in desktop mode. You can also scrounge for the Device Manager in Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Device Manager.

Actually updating a driver is simple. Just find the device you would like to update, right-click on it, and select Update Driver Software. You'll have the option to have Windows search for drivers for you, but if you've come this far it's likely that you'll want to choose the second option, which allows you to manually select a location where you've downloaded drivers for your misbehaving device.

What's that? You want to know where to snag a specific driver? In general, you'll find them at the manufacturer for your particular device. Here's an index of download locations for common hardware, arranged by product type--laptops, motherboards, peripherals, et cetera--for your convenience. Not every manufacturer offers drivers that are specifically called out as being made for Windows 8, but if a given piece of hardware is giving your troubles after upgrading, it's a good idea to make sure you're running the most up-to-date drivers available.

Use some common sense when it comes to driver updates, though. If your keyboard is working just fine, for instance, there's really no need to spend the time tracking down and updated your driver and exposing yourself to the (small) risk that updating the driver will actually cause a problem.


If you're using a laptop, and your problem isn't with an external device such as a mouse or external hard disk, your first stop should be at the website of your laptop's manufacturer. Laptop hardware is often specialized, and drivers for specific drill-down components (such as the hard drive) typically aren't available on the component manufacturer's site. If drivers aren't available at the laptop manufacturer's page, they should at least have the exact model number for each component in the system, which will make your search go faster.


If you have a desktop PC, your motherboard manufacturer's site is an important stop. The motherboard's chipset drivers may need to be updated, as might the drivers for integrated components such as the network interface, integrated sound or graphics, Bluetooth, or any pretty much anything else that's listed as a "feature" of your motherboard. You can see the motherboard's make and model number by physically opening up your computer and looking at it with your own two eyes, or by using a free software utility like CPU-Z.


When it comes to graphics cards the most important thing to have is the latest driver from AMD or Nvidia, which controls the actual graphics performance of the cards.

For features specific to your graphics card model--GPU monitors, overclocking utilities, and so on--check the website of your card's manufacturer.

Sound Cards

Hard Drives

You won't often need to manually install a drive for an internal hard drive or SSD, as they're managed by the motherboard's SATA controller. If you're having issues with your drive, or are looking for an update for any pack-in utilities that came with it, you can find them here:


Optical drives

Like hard drives, optical drives generally won't need a driver update except for bundled applications and utilities.

Network Cards

Note that networking is usually handled by the motherboard network interface controller (or NIC), and in those cases the driver will be found on the motherboard manufacturer's site. If you've installed a networking add-on card, however, you'll find the drivers here.

Peripherals (Keyboard, Mice, Headsets)

Hope that helps, and happy driver updating!


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


ProtectandAccess said: Very useful post for windows 8 uses Driver update through Windows Update settings menu is now to all Right click and then update the driver policy is also easy Thank you for providing the procedure for LAPTOP also

Quantumpcsupport said: Driver compatibilityis a major issue in computing Many times we need to update drivers to rum ossmoothly Many useful software or app needed latest versions of drivers Sothey should know from where they could upload latest versions of drivers

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *