How Do I Update My USB Drivers?
Universal Serial Bus (USB) standards were conceived and initially developed back in 1994 as a joint effort between multiple technology companies, including Compaq, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and others. The goal of this collaborative effort was to establish a common method of connectivity for computer devices, including the communications protocol that enables the exchange of data and instructions between computers and connected peripherals.
USB ports on your computer are available for connecting an ever-growing family of devices:
- Keyboard and mouse
- Game controllers
- Printers, scanners, and all-in-one units
- Flash storage drives
- External storage devices such as backup drives
Nearly any computer sold today is equipped with a fair number of USB ports.
You can easily identify USB ports by the standard USB symbol located by the ports, with the same symbol often found on the connecting cables accompanying your devices:
In order to make the most efficient use of your available USB ports, it’s your responsibility to keep your USB drivers up-to-date. This ensures not only that they work properly with your version of the operating system on your computer, but provides other advantages as well:
- Resolves USB driver issues associated with your devices
- Ensures optimum performance
- Keeps you current with improvements in the technology
Drivers are small programs that allow interaction between your computer and other components. Like any software, USB drivers can have their own issues.
Especially after upgrading your operating system or getting a new USB device such as a printer or external drive, you may encounter several types of problems:
- Your device is not recognized by the computer when plugged into the USB port
- Your computer recognizes the device, but the device manager displays a yellow “warning” icon, indicating it cannot use the device in its current state
- Windows recognizes the device and has automatically installed a driver, but the device still does not work properly – if at all
- Outdated drivers can generate conflicts with other system devices
- Malware or unrelated system issues may corrupt or damage drivers, rendering them unusable
- Installing the incorrect driver for a device or USB port may cause your system to crash unexpectedly
All these issues point directly to USB driver issues, which you can address following one or more of the following procedures.
You have multiple plans of attack to get your USB drivers updated. These three methods vary greatly in the level of automation provided for how you install USB drivers.
Your detailed steps may vary slightly depending on the version of Windows you’re utilizing. In a WIN 10 environment, drivers can be updated with a few “simple” steps:
- Open the Settings function
- Select Update & Security
- Select Windows Update, and click the Check for Updates button
Windows will search its library for available updates to your system, including drivers, and download them for you to install.
Your only issue with this approach is that you’re counting on the manufacturer of your device to register their driver updates with the Windows Update channel. That is not always the case, and they may not release every update to Windows Update – including the one causing your problem – promptly.
If you only want to address one USB connection that is problematic to you, Device Manager is a good alternative.
Select the “Start” option, then begin typing “device manager” in the search box, and pick Device Manager from the generated list.
Find the category you’re looking for – Universal Serial Bus controllers – and expand the category to see all devices.
For the device you’re having problems with, right-click that device and select the “update driver” option.
Select the option to Search automatically for updated driver software
Similar to your prior method utilizing Windows Update, this process will search for a newer version of the driver for this device and will walk you through downloading and installing the updated driver.
Once you have completed the Windows Update process and individual search through device manager, your USB port and the attached device may now be working flawlessly. If that’s not the case, you have one more alternative.
If all else has failed in getting your USB driver issue resolved, there is another way to update your USB drivers.
Note the manufacturer, model, and version of the device you’re having issues with, and search the manufacturer’s website for software downloads. In many cases, peripheral companies provide updated drivers for their products on a support page where you can search for the one that applies to your problem.
With a little searching, you can hopefully find the driver that applies, compatible with your:
- Version and specifications of your operating system, such as Windows 10 64-bit
- Model of the device you want to use, including software version where applicable
Once you have located the driver that will solve your problem, take the option to download the software, noting the folder where you are saving it and the filename.
Once you have downloaded the driver, follow the same steps as with the Device Manager solution:
- Start device manager
- Expand the USB devices
- Select the USB device where you want to update the driver
- Right-click the device and again take the “update driver” option
In this method, you will select the option to “Browse my computer” for the new driver:
A browser window will open, allowing you to direct the update to the folder where you saved the downloaded driver, and select the file. Once you have positioned to the new driver, click the “Next” button to proceed with the update. The driver will be updated with your downloaded file.
You can use this method for each device on your computer if you have doubts that your drivers are current, or if your manufacturer advises that there are new features available with driver updates.
You may find a manufacturer’s website that offers details of what driver you need for your device. How do you verify what driver you have on your system?
Use the device driver function again to provide the list of devices on your system, and select the device in question, such as the USB port you’re experiencing issues with.
Right-click the device, select Properties, then click the “Driver” tab:
This display will include the driver provider, along with the date and version of the driver on your system. When trouble-shooting device problems, this information can be very useful in communicating with manufacturer technical support representatives.
While some of the above methods for updating your USB drivers are to some extent automated, it can be a time-consuming and even frustrating experience when you have new devices or upgrade your OS, requiring multiple driver updates. However, updating your USB drivers does not have to be complicated.
There is a much simpler method for updating and installing USB driver updates with a more secure, software-driven process. It’s a good idea to scan your system periodically for outdated or missing drivers to provide system reliability and stability.
Driver Support does the work for you:
- Analyzes your computer and finds the right drivers for each device – including USB drivers
- Automatically downloads the best drivers and updated versions for your system
- Performs the driver installations without your intervention
Download Driver Support today to get your drivers up-to-date, fix all your USB driver issues, and keep your system running smoothly.