Drivers are key files that enable the various hardware components in your PC to work properly, from memory and motherboard to printer and mouse. If you’re having problems getting your hardware to work properly, there’s a good chance that missing, outdated or corrupt drivers are to blame. Read on to discover how to troubleshoot driver -related problems.
How do I know if I have a driver problem?
The most obvious answer is that you have a hardware device that’s correctly connected to your PC but which still doesn’t appear to be functioning correctly. You may also have a hardware device that’s causing occasional problems, or not performing as well as you expect. You can check for problems with drivers using Device Manager.
Device Manager lets you quickly see which drivers may be causing problems
How do I access Device Manager?
In Windows 8, tap the Desktop tile if necessary, then move the mouse pointer to the bottom-right corner and choose Settings > PC Info > Device Manager. In Windows 7, click the Start button, then right-click Computer and choose Properties before selecting Device Manager from the left-hand pane.
Any device with an incorrect or missing driver will show up with a yellow exclamation mark. Right-click this device and choose Properties to see more information, including an error code, which you can use to search for more information.
How else can I use Device Manager to troubleshoot driver problems?
Right-click any item in Device Manager and choose Properties. Select the Driver tab and click Driver Details to see more information. Click Update Driver to search for a more up-to-date version or to install a newer driver . Follow the wizard to complete the installation.
Officially sanctioned Microsoft driver updates are available through Windows Update
Where can I find driver updates for my Advent PC?
Your first port of call for updated drivers is Windows Update. This is the mechanism that Microsoft has included within Windows to find and deliver software updates, but it also provides suggested driver updates in its optional updates.
In Windows 8 choose Settings > PC Info. In Windows 7, click Start and choose All Programs > Windows Update. Click Check for updates. Once complete, click the Optional updates link to reveal any updated drivers that are available. Select those you want to install and click OK to download and install them.
Printers and other external devices usually come with their drivers on a separate disc
What if Windows Update can't find my driver ?
Any available Advent driver updates should be listed here (see below for another way to find driver updates), but if you’re looking for third-party drivers for a hardware device you’ve added yourself – such as a printer – then go to the manufacturer's website and search its support section for driver downloads. You can then download and install the driver manually.
Where can I find my original drivers?
Check your computer's hard drive for a drivers folder by clicking Start > Computer. This is usually found at C:\Applications\Drivers. If it isn't present, you should find most original drivers available on this site under Product Downloads. Third-party drivers are usually supplied on discs that came with the original hardware.
I installed a driver update and now the device doesn't work. What can I do?
Try rolling the driver back to its previous version. To do this, open Device Manager as described above and locate the problem hardware. Right-click its entry and choose Properties, switch to the Drivers tab and then click Roll Back Driver .
Some simple devices like wireless mice and keyboards may not need additional drivers installed or Windows may pick up the driver automatically
I’m struggling to get a particular piece of hardware to work. What should I do next?
Try using Windows’ own Action Center to see if there's anything obvious preventing your device from working. Look for the white flag in the Notification area of the desktop’s taskbar and click it followed by Open Action Center. If no problems are flagged here, try clicking Troubleshooting followed by Hardware and Sound. Select Hardware and Devices and run the troubleshooter. Follow the advice provided.
For more help and advice on using Action Center, check out the following article: Solve your problems with Windows’ troubleshooting tools. You can also check the relevant hardware in Device Manager for error codes. Use Microsoft's Support website to find more information on any error code you find.
DriverEasy can identify – and download – updated drivers from sources other than Windows Update
How can I identify unknown devices and get drivers for them?
If you have a device without a driver and you haven't been able to find it using any of the above techniques, there is a program available that can do the job for you. DriverEasy will scan your PC for missing and out-of-date drivers and then offers to download them for you. Download, install and launch the program from its website. Click Scan Now. When the scan is complete, click Get Drivers, then choose to download and install your choice of missing or outdated ones.
My question isn’t covered here. Where can I get more help and advice?
If your computer is still under warranty, click the Got A Question? link on the right and follow the prompts. Alternatively, post your question on the Updates, drivers and maintenance section of the forum for more help and advice. You may also find general information about a problem device by typing the model number into a web search engine.