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Windows 7: Best way to update drivers for free?


29 Aug 2010   #1

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox
 
 
Best way to update drivers for free?

Hi all,

I have searched for ways to update drivers besides going to the manufacturer's site and downloading it, and almost everything I've found cost money. I've tried DriverMax Free, but I didn't like it at all, it was too complex and confusing to me. I've tried going into the Device Manager, but that says I'm all set, even though I've had this computer for nearly 10 months and haven't updated any drivers. Does anybody know of a simple and free way to update all of your drivers?

Thanks!

-McDougal

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Aug 2010   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, clean install, upgrade disc
 
 

This is the advice that we give to those with BSOD due to driver issues.
Its free and the best way. Software to do the job leaves most unhappy


How to Find Drivers
search Google for the name of the driver
- compare the Google results with what's installed on your system to figure out which device/program it belongs to
- visit the web site of the manufacturer of the hardware/program to get the latest drivers (DON'T use Windows Update or the Update driver function of Device Manager).
- if there are difficulties in locating them, post back with questions and someone - will help you search Google for the name of the driver
- compare the Google results with what's installed on your system to figure out which device/program it belongs to
- - if there are difficulties in locating them, post back with questions and someone will try and help you locate the appropriate program.
- - The most common drivers are listed on this page:
Driver Reference
- - Driver manufacturer links are on this page:
Drivers and Downloads
To remove any left over driver remnants, especially from graphics cards, use driver sweeper Guru3D - Driver Sweeper
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #3

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit
 
 

One suggestion to keep in mind with drivers. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Also, many drivers are only issued to correct specific problems and if what the driver fixes does not apply to you there is no need to update.

I have a SoundBlaster Xfi sound card and according to the last update most of the fixes were for games. As I do not have any of the games referenced there was no reason for me to update.

Dell, for example, generally only issues driver updates if the hardware device does not meet their published spec's. It's not uncommon to not see any driver updates for many devices, even after a year or two.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Aug 2010   #4

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox
 
 

Thanks everybody for the replies. I will try those techniques and report back with the results when I can. And in case your wondering, the reason why I asked is because Aero was acting shaky and laggy on my Intel GMA4500MHD, and I thought that updating the driver might fix it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, clean install, upgrade disc
 
 

I think that is a good place to start. You can get all the information that you need to get the correct driver from the device manager.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #6
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

For a laptop there is little reason to go looking anywhere other than from the laptop manufacturer, as most of them modify things i one way or another (for video drivers to work with the display and/or power options for example) that result in reference drivers from the individual hardware manufacturer's to not work.

For yours, UL20A-A1, you can find everything here,

ASUSTeK Computer Inc.-Support-

from the dropdowns select Notebook, for series select UL20, and then UL20A for the model. The one thing with Asus is they are notorious for not updating those drivers when there is one available. In the case of yours with the Intel GMA4500MHD you can try the reference Intel driver,

 Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Windows 7* 64 and Windows Vista* 64 (exe)

as despite not necessarily providing current drivers, Asus is one of the few laptop manufacturers that tends to stay within the reference spec so that the reference drivers usually tend to work just fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #7

Win7 HP (x64)/Win7 Ultimate (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by fireberd View Post
One suggestion to keep in mind with drivers. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Also, many drivers are only issued to correct specific problems and if what the driver fixes does not apply to you there is no need to update.

I have a SoundBlaster Xfi sound card and according to the last update most of the fixes were for games. As I do not have any of the games referenced there was no reason for me to update.

Dell, for example, generally only issues driver updates if the hardware device does not meet their published spec's. It's not uncommon to not see any driver updates for many devices, even after a year or two.

+1.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Aug 2010   #8

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox
 
 

I have successfully updated the graphics, wired, and wireless drivers. For the graphics (GMA 4500MHD) I used the Intel updater from their website, for the wireless (Intel WiFi Link 1000 BGN) I used the Intel updater from their website, and for the wired (Atheros AR8132 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller), I used the method suggested by rich46. Thanks everybody for the help, I will also try this method on all of my older WinXP Pro desktops, which haven't had their drivers updated yet.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Best way to update drivers for free?




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