Last updated in February 2024

Top 5 Ways to Locate Missing Drivers

2. Check the CD or Diskette that came in the box with the device.

Often, there's more than just instruction manuals on that CD or disk. Manufacturer's typically include driver files and associated software for the device for each of the more common operating systems. Again, the specific order in which you plug the device in, install the software, and reboot the computer should be heeded to ensure the driver installation goes smoothly and your device works properly at the end of the install and/or reboot. It's important to note that the most recent device driver is unlikely to be included on the CD from the vendor. After you've got your device working properly from the initial harware install, be sure to watch for abnormal behaviour or performance on your PC. If you notice something's not quite right, or you're missing features you expected to find, check the manufacturer's website for updated driver files.

3. If you still have no luck finding a workable driver, let Windows have a look.

Depending on whether you're running Windows XP (and in turn, which service pack of Windows XP you're running) or Windows Vista, likely some form of device drivers are included in your operating system. To try this method, run the Add Hardware Wizard found in the Control Panel. Windows then goes out and looks for devices that are missing driver software. After it runs, tell Windows to find a workable driver file. You'll have better luck if you allow Windows the option to check online for updated driver files, and if you insert the manufacturer's CD containing the original driver files. After that, Windows will do it's best to find you a driver that works.

4. If Windows automatic driver search fails, select 'I'll specify which driver to install'

Occassionally, even if Windows isn't successful in identifying a perfect driver for your hardware, a generic, all-purpose driver could be used. This is often the case with printers as they all use similar communication protocols to connect the computer to the print device. Unfortunately, a lot of newer printers will require specific drivers.

5. If all else fails, you can always run an automatic driver update utility and have it look for a correct driver.

Automatic driver download and update utilities can save you a ton of time and stress, as they scour your hardware, querying against a database on their archive servers to locate an updated driver file for your specific hardware configuration and your Operating System. These are the tools most technicians use to skip searching for each individual driver they need when working on customer's PCs. We have them all listed in our Driver Tools Downloads area, take a look.

We hope these driver location tips are useful!

Note: We always recommend users skip the hassles of trying to find their own hardware model numbers and use an automatic driver update tool like Driver Wizard.