How to Download and install drivers

By Techwalla Contributor

The drivers for different hardware components are needed to allow those items to communicate effectively with the computer.

Things You'll Need

  • You'll need a computer with a working connection to the internet.

Step 1

One of the most important steps to getting a driver correctly installed is to make sure that all of the information you need is available before you try to install it. It's much the same as anything else in life, doing your homework pays off in the end. You need to make sure and answer these questions: What's the name of this piece of hardware? ( for example, the specific model number or manufacturer name.) What type of computer and operating system am I using? This is also a very important piece of information, without it you're taking a shot in the dark. Which are the best drivers to use? Most of the time the manufacturer of thew device is the first and last place you need to look for the proper drivers but not always.Once you have that information it's time to search for the drivers you need. The best place to start is your favorite search engine. I use but you could use any of the many search engines out there and end up at the same destination.When you get to the website that has the drivers you need it will probably ask for the information that you have previously collected.Eventually you should be directed to download the drivers. Make sure to follow any special instructions that the manufacturer suggests, after all they know how to treat their own product.

Step 2

To find out the model of a product you can look in a few different places.Try looking on the packaging of the product or on the outside case of the device itself. often times it will be near the BAR code.Sometimes the "simple" name of the product is enough to find the proper drivers.Once you have this information you can try searching for that name specifically in your favorite web browser, odds are you'll find what you're looking for at the manufacturer's website.

Step 3

This next section is split into two different parts. 1) For PC users: To find out what sort of computer and operating system you're using you need to "right click" on the "My Computer" icon and choose "Properties" at the bottom of the pop up menu. You should see what's shown in the picture and be able to determine if you have windows xp or vista, a 32 or 64 bit operating system. 2) For MAC users: To get to "About This Mac", click on the Apple Menu icon which is located on the Menu Bar at the top of your screen and choose 'About This Mac' from the menu list. As you can see, some of the information listed are items such as the version of OS X, Processor type, amount of system memory and startup disk.

Step 4

In the rare case of NOT using the drivers from the manufacturer you will need to follow the instructions from the driver software producer, especially if they differ from the ones from the manufacturer.

Step 5

Once you get to the point of downloading the proper drivers you will probably be asked by your computer if you want to "save" the file to your computer or "run" the program from the website. Either of these will work but I suggest saving them to your computer first and then running them from your computer. When you ask the program to save to your computer if will ask where you want to save it to, for ease of use the desktop is the best place.Once you have it downloaded you should make sure that all programs are closed, including your web browser (unless it's open for these instructions.) and double click the installation file for the drivers.It should provide what's called an "installation wizard" read the instructions and follow them closely, if there are any configuration choices most people use "standard" or "common" setups. Very few of you will need any sort of specialized setup and those of you who do will most likely know how to get those configurations taken care of. If there are any problems during installation it's best to go to the manufacturer's website or to the place you got the drivers and do a search for the specific error message you got during the installation. If there are no errors then you did everything right and you should be able to use your device soon. I suggest restarting the computer at least once after every new driver installation to make sure that it was a successful installation. Many driver installation programs will automatically prompt you to do this, if so make sure to save anything you were working on and restart.

Tips & Warnings

  • The device manufacturer is typically the best source for software that is compatible with your device.
  • Improper driver installation can be hazardous to your computer. Caution and making sure to read the instructions are the best approach to installing any software.