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Updating the drivers on your Windows PC

To get the best out of your Windows-compatible PCs, you need to make sure that the drivers for all of the components in your PC are up to date. Having outdated drivers on your computer can cause strange behavior with iTunes, QuickTime, iPod, and other applications.

First, what is a driver?
A driver is a piece of software that allows your computer to communicate with a piece of hardware. Your PC consists of many hardware components, such as your hard disk, optical drive (CD or DVD drive), USB card and video card. All of these devices and more require drivers to function.

Doesn't Windows include drivers?
Yes, it definitely does. Windows includes drivers for many common devices. But it may not contain the latest drivers available for your hardware.

Doesn't Windows Automatic Update install the latest drivers?
Sometimes, but not always. This is why you may have to check the website of the maker of the individual components in your PC.

Doesn't the automatic updater from my computer's manufacturer install the latest drivers?
Again, sometimes it will, but sometimes it won't. If you have any questions about installing updated drivers on your computer, contact the manufacturer of your computer.

How do I find out where to get the latest drivers for a particular component in my PC?

Microsoft or your computer's manufacturer may have released updated software. Check to see if there are updates to Windows. Check your computer manufacturer's website for updates, particularly for updates to the CD or DVD drive, graphics card, sound card.

You may need to go to the company that made the component if an update isn't included in Windows or from the computer manufacturer. In this case, the first thing thing you need to do is find out what company made the component. You can get this information in Device Manager:

  1. Right-click on My Computer and choose Manage.
  2. Click Device Manager in the list on the left of the Computer Management window.
  3. Click the plus sign next to the device type in the list on the right.
  4. Right-click on the device and choose Properties.
  5. Take note of the name of the device:

     

  6. Also take note of the Device type and manufacturer.
    The next thing to do is download and install the latest driver for your device from the manufacturer's website.
  7. Now go to the web page for the manufacturer. In our case, we are updating the drivers for an NVIDIA video card, so we would go to www.nvidia.com.
  8. At the manufacturers website look for a link for "drivers", "downloads", or something similar. If you don't see such a link, look for a support link, click that link, and look for a drivers link on the support page.
  9. If there is a list of devices for which drivers are available, choose your device from the list. If there is a search field for devices, enter the name of your device in that field to look for drivers.
  10. Once you have found the correct driver for your particular device, download it.
  11. Locate where the downloaded file went (by default it is on your desktop), and double-click it.
  12. Proceed through the installer to install the driver.
Important: Mention of third-party websites and products is for informational purposes only and constitutes neither an endorsement nor a recommendation. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance or use of information or products found at third-party websites. Apple provides this only as a convenience to our users. Apple has not tested the information found on these sites and makes no representations regarding its accuracy or reliability. There are risks inherent in the use of any information or products found on the Internet, and Apple assumes no responsibility in this regard. Please understand that a third-party site is independent from Apple and that Apple has no control over the content on that website. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Feb 25, 2010
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  • Last Modified: Feb 25, 2010
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