If upon installing Windows 10, you run into peripheral incompatibility issues such as a nonworking wifi adapter or graphics card errors, then this article is for you. This post is also relevant if some of your Windows 10 hardware components, such as an optical drive or a CD/DVD burner, suddenly stops working. With this ITgirl.tech guide, you will find a step-by-step tutorial to help you fix your faulty peripherals by finding, updating and installing their Windows 10 drivers.

We will cover two ways by which to fix your peripheral compatibility issues:

1) By using the Windows Update 

2) By manually installing the peripheral’s missing drivers

Whenever peripherals require troubleshooting, drivers are involved. They are software components that provide a set of instructions permitting your peripheral and OS to communicate with one another. When drivers are outdated or missing, your peripheral and OS are not correctly recognized by one another, and incompatibility ensues

1) Installing Windows 10 drivers through the Windows Update

The first step when trying to solve driver issues is to use the integrated Windows Update. To check whether all your drivers are up to date, do the following:

1. Click on the “Start” button, then on “Settings.”

The Windows 10 Start menu.

2. From the settings menu, click on “Update and Security” located at the bottom.

The "Update & Security" option within Windows 10 Settings.

3. Click on “Check for updates.” 

A good way of automatically updating your peripherals' drivers is to select the "Check for updates" option.

Note that if it is your wifi adapter that isn’t working correctly, you will need an ethernet connection to troubleshoot using this method. If you have no access to an ethernet cable or have no ethernet port, you will have to use the second method (manually installing the drivers). Use another computer to download the missing files on a pen drive, then upload them somewhere on your computer. Just make sure to remember the folder where you put them. Alternatively, leave them on the external USB flash drive (make sure that you have plugged the pen drive in when following the manual installation guideline). 

If, after completing this procedure, you still run into incompatibility issues, then follow the second method: manually installing the peripheral’s missing drivers

2) Manually installing the peripheral’s missing drivers  

To find out whether your peripheral has all its drivers properly installed, you first need to know the brand and model of your peripheral. To do so, access the System Information tool and look for the name of your hardware component. You can find instructions on how to find this information in this ITgirl.tech article. By knowing the model and brand of your faulty or incompatible peripheral, you will be able to see if you have its drivers installed. You will also have the information needed to search for its most up-to-date driver online if required.

Within the System Information, the “Software Environment” category contains the subcategory you are looking for, “System Drivers.” 

Here’s an example

Let’s say that I have a peripheral that isn’t working correctly. We will take an ethernet adapter as an example. I will find its brand and model under the Components -> Network -> Adapter subcategory. I see that I am using an “Intel PRO 1000 MT Desktop Adapter”. 

To find your Windows 10 drivers, first look for the name of your faulty peripheral within the System Information.

I can then search within the “Software Environment” subcategory for drivers related to this peripheral. To do this, access the “Software Environment.” Then use the “Find what” search bar, type a keyword such as the brand of your peripheral (“Intel” in this example), click the “Search selected category only,” and click on “Find Next.” 

You will find all the installed Windows 10 drivers associated with your peripheral by using the "Find what" feature.

Windows will automatically redirect you to all the drivers associated with the keyword you entered. As you can see in the picture above, I have a driver installed for my ethernet adapter (e1g60), as its description indicates that it is for the Intel PRO 1000 adapter.  

What if I find no peripherals?

If you find no peripherals, then google [NameOfYourPeripheral] + driver. In this example, I found the official download center of Intel for my particular ethernet model. 

To find your missing drivers, use Google!

You can then download your missing drivers. Make sure to choose an option that fits your system and includes all missing drivers (and not just specific ones such as “Administrative tools”). Keywords like “Complete Driver Pack” are a good indication that you are downloading the right thing. Make sure also that your download is appropriate for your operating system

If you cannot find the specific drivers for your operating system, then using an “OS Independent” option will work.

An OS independent driver file is better than nothing.

However, your download will be unusually heavy as it will contain the files for all operating systems (Windows, macOS, and Linux). 

Note the large file size. The ideal is to use the Windows 10 drivers, or alternatively those meant for Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Note that if you cannot find drivers for Windows 10, then the next best option is to try to find the ones for Windows 7 or Windows 8. Sometimes it is even all that is available for some peripheral. 

You are now ready to install the missing drivers. 

What if I see that drivers are already there?

If you see a driver for your peripheral within the “Software Environment” but still run into issues while trying to use it, then your drivers are probably out of date. In that case, follow the same steps as with the missing drivers, opting for “Search automatically for updated driver software” instead of “Browse my computer for driver software” (see the steps below). Once that option selected, wait for Windows to do its thing and then voilà! If this option fails, then you will have to follow the steps used for missing drivers, making sure to download the files from the manufacturer’s website beforehand.  

Installing the missing Windows 10 drivers

1. Click on the search bar, then search for “device manager.” Open “Device Manager.” 

To install missing Windows 10 drivers, use the "device manager."

2. Browse the category to find the one which corresponds to your faulty peripheral. For example, a graphics card will be under the “Display adapters” category, whereas a wifi adapter will be under “Network adapters.” For this example, I am using my ethernet adapter (Intel PRO 1000 MT Desktop Adapter).

You can easily find your peripheral within the device manager program.

3. Right-Click on the peripheral, then click on “Update driver.”

Right-click on your peripheral and select "Update driver."

4. You will have two choices: “Search automatically for updated driver software” or “Browse my computer for driver software.” If you found a driver for your peripheral but still run into issues, then select “Search automatically for updated driver software.” Your driver is probably merely out-of-date. However, if you didn’t find any drivers for your peripheral and have already downloaded the drivers manually, select “Browse my computer for driver software.” 

To search for your Windows 10 drivers, either choose "search automatically" or "browse my computer." If you have already downloaded your drivers online, select the second option.

5. Windows will give you two options: either search for drivers within a specific location or “let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.”

The easiest option is to click on the “Browse…” button and select the folder containing your downloaded drives. Make sure that the “Include subfolders” option is selected, then click “Next.” 

By default, Windows 10 uses the "Documents" folder.
By default, Windows 10 uses the “Documents” folder.

In this example, my downloaded drivers are located in the default “Downloads” folder. 

If you downloaded your drivers online, chances are that they will be in the "Downloads" folder instead.
If you downloaded your drivers online, chances are that they will be in the “Downloads” folder instead.

6. The wizard will then complete the installation

7. Voilà. You can now close the window. It is recommended to restart your computer after this procedure. 

Note that the use of my ethernet peripheral as an example was for informative purposes only (it already had the most up-to-date drivers installed and works as intended). Consequently, instead of the installation wizard, I got a Windows message indicating, “The best drivers for your device are already installed.”

If your Windows 10 drivers are already installed, you will get the following message "The best drivers for your device are already installed."

If you get the same output, it means that your drivers are all compatible, updated and ready to go!

Owner and content creator behind ITgirl.tech. Geeky girl and blogger based in Montreal, Canada. Chocolate and nature lover (in that order). View all posts by Larryssa →

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