What hardware device drivers should be updated?

Note: This page contains steps on updating drivers and not how to download and install Microsoft Windows updates.

Driver CDBelow is a listing of our recommended hardware devices that you should make sure are updated. Updating your computer's drivers and other updates can resolve problems, improve the performance, and increase the stability of your computer.

BIOS updates
CD or DVD drive drivers and firmware
Controllers
Display drivers
Keyboard drivers
Mouse drivers
Modem drivers
Motherboard drivers and updates
Network card drivers
Printer drivers
Removable media drivers
Scanner drivers
Sound card drivers
Video drivers

BIOS updates

Computer BIOS updates should only be run when you are having compatibility issues with your hardware or you feel that your computer hardware is not performing as it should. Visiting your computer manufacturer or motherboard manufacturer page allows you to see if any BIOS updates are available for your motherboard and what the updates will fix.

CD or DVD drive drivers and firmware

Updating the drivers for your CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, or other CD device may help with the overall performance and compatibility of the drive. We recommend you visit our CD driver page for a listing of manufacturers and their driver update pages to obtain the latest drivers.

Some manufacturers may also have firmware updates available for their CD drives. Firmware updates help resolve any hardware related issues you may be experiencing with the CD drive such as being unable to read some CD Discs or may update the region code on your DVD drive. Unlike a driver update, these updates should only be performed for users who are experiencing hardware related issues with their drives. Most firmware updates are accessible through the manufacturer's CD driver page, see the CD driver page for a listing of these links.

Controllers

Updating to the latest drivers for your computer controllers can help with their reliability, as well as that of the drives connected to them. If you are using a device separate from your computer motherboard, see the controller drivers page for a listing of manufacturers and drivers. If you are not using a separate component, the controller card may be updated by installing the latest drivers for your motherboard. These drivers can be obtained from your motherboard or OEM computer manufacturer. See the motherboard drivers page for additional information.

Display drivers

Unlike other hardware devices, display devices such as a computer monitor, or flat panel displays are often automatically detected and setup by the operating system.

If you are looking for a video driver, see the below video drivers section.

Keyboard drivers

Unless your computer keyboard contains special keys your keyboard should not require any drivers and should be setup by the operating system.

Note: Users using a USB or FireWire keyboard may need drivers for their operating system to properly support the keyboard.

Mouse drivers

Unless you are utilizing a unique mouse with special buttons, wheels, or other features you should not require any drivers. The mouse should automatically setup by the operating system.

Modem drivers

Updating the computer modem drivers can improve the reliability of the modem and may improve the speed. We recommend you visit our modem drivers page for a listing of manufacturers and their driver update pages to obtain the latest drivers.

Some modem manufacturers may also have firmware updates that upgrade the modem to support new standards such as V.90 or correct hardware issues with the modem. Firmware updates should only be run if your computer or modem manufacturer recommend you update the modem or if you believe a firmware update will correct your issue. When updating your modem's firmware, verify you are using a firmware update designed for your modem. Updating the firmware with an incorrect version may cause the modem to no longer work. Firmware updates are usually also available through the modem drivers page.

Motherboard drivers, firmware, and updates

Updating the computer motherboard or motherboard chipset drivers can help with the compatibility, reliability, and performance of the motherboard and the hardware installed in the computer. See the motherboard drivers page for a listing of links to motherboard chipset drivers as well as links to many of the motherboard manufacturers drivers pages.

Network card drivers

Updating or installing the latest drivers for a computer network card may help with the reliability of the network card in the computer. A listing of computer network card drivers can be found on our network drivers page.

Some network card manufacturers may also have firmware updates. Firmware updates may resolve issues relating to the compatibility of the network card or resolve other hardware issues. Firmware updates should only be run if your network card or computer manufacturer recommends an update. These updates can also be found through the manufacturer's network driver page.

Printer drivers

Updating or installing the latest drivers for a computer printer may help with the reliability and compatibility of the printer. A listing of computer printer drivers can be found on our printer drivers page.

Removable media drivers

Updating or installing the latest drivers for a removable media device such as a tape drive may help with the reliability of the removable media device. A listing of computer removable media drivers can be found on our removable media or tape drive drivers page.

Scanner drivers

Updating or installing the latest drivers for a scanner may help with the reliability and compatibility of the scanner. A listing of computer scanner drivers can be found on our scanner drivers page.

Sound card drivers

Updating or installing the latest drivers for a sound card help with the compatibility, reliability, and the performance of the sound card. A listing of computer sound card drivers can be found on our sound card drivers page.

Video drivers

Updating or installing the latest drivers for a video card help with compatibility, reliability, and the performance of the video card. A listing of computer video card drivers can be found on our video card drivers page.

Some video card manufacturers may also have firmware updates. Firmware updates may resolve issues relating to the compatibility of the video card or resolve other hardware issues. Firmware updates should only be run if your video card or computer manufacturer recommends an update. These updates can also be found through the manufacturer's network driver page.

Additional information

  • See our drivers and hardware definition for further information and related links on this term.