Missing critical drivers after upgrading or reinstalling Windows 11? Here’s how to download and install missing drivers on your computer.
A missing driver is not a scenario you might face often on your Windows 11 PC. However, when and if a critical driver goes missing, the hassle to decode the problem and find the driver specific to your Windows machine manufacturer is humungous at times.
If you are also one of the chosen few who have been facing problems using the capabilities of their machine after a major OS update or after a clean reinstall of your PC. This article might just be the thing you have been looking for.
Identify and Install Missing Drivers Using Device Manager
Before you jump to install drivers, you have to know which ones are missing. Thankfully, identifying missing drivers is as plain-sailing as it gets in Windows 11.
First, press the Windows+R shortcut on your keyboard to open the ‘Run command’ tool. Then type devmgmt.msc in the area provided and press Enter.
Now, on the device manager screen look for the ‘question mark’ icon on any of the options present in the list. Then click on the ‘carat’ icon preceding the said option to expand it.
In the expanded section you will be able to see the list of all hardware classified under that specific category. Components not having the supported driver installed will be displayed with an exclamation mark in the list.
Now, double-click on the component having the exclamation mark from the list.
After that, you will be able to read the issue of the driver under the ‘Device status’ section. Next, click on the ‘Update Driver…’ button to install drivers for the component.
This will open a separate window to install drivers for the said component.
Now, on the separate window, click on the ‘Search automatically for drivers’ option to let Windows search a driver for you, or else if you have already downloaded a driver for the component click on the ‘Browse my computer for drivers’ and locate the driver files on your local storage. For instance, we are clicking on the ‘Search automatically for drivers’ option.
Then, there might be a possibility that Windows is not able to find you a driver for the component present on your machine. If that’s the case, click on the ‘Search for updated drivers on Windows Update’ option.
Clicking on the ‘Search for updated drivers on Windows Update’ option will open the ‘Windows Update’ settings screen in a separate window.
After that, on the ‘Windows Update’ settings screen, click on the ‘Advanced options’ tile present in the list.
Then, scroll down and locate the ‘Additional options’ section and click the ‘Optional updates’ tile present on the list.
Next, click on the ‘carat’ icon situated on the far right edge on the ‘Driver updates’ tab. Then select all the drivers by clicking on the individual check box preceding each option in the list. Once selected, scroll down and click on the ‘Download & install’ button from the bottom section of the window.
After that, you will be redirected to the ‘Windows Update’ screen in the same window and you can see your selected drivers being downloaded.
Once downloaded, all the drivers will be installed on your next boot up or restart depending upon the nature of the said updates.
You will find the majority of the missing drivers through ‘Optional updates’ in Windows. However, in case you are not able to get drivers for the hardware component on your machine, you will have to do the labor to find the driver manually.
Find and Install Missing Drivers from Manufacturer Support Website
In the unfortunate case where you are not able to find drivers for your hardware under the ‘Optional updates’, you will need to go to your specific manufacturer’s support website.
Manufacturer Support Website List
Windows has the most diverse manufacturer base on the planet. Since it is not possible to list down each and every manufacturer here, we have tried to include almost every major manufacturer creating Windows laptops.
Click on the links below to get redirected to the respective manufacturer’s support website:
- For Dell Computers: www.dell.com/support
- For HP Computers: support.hp.com
- For Lenovo Computers: pcsupport.lenovo.com
- For Asus Computers: www.asus.com/support
- For Acer Computers: www.acer.com/support
- For MSI Computers: www.msi.com/support
- For Alienware Computers: www.dell.com/support
- For Samsung Computers: www.samsung.com/support
Finding and Downloading Missing Drivers
Almost every manufacturer in the list present above has the same process to find and download appropriate drivers specific to your machine. Thus, for instance, we are going to use the Dell Support Website to showcase the process.
Since various manufacturers have different nomenclatures for the hardware components installed, at times you might need to perform a Google search to find out what type of hardware driver are you looking for.
Note: We recommend noting down the name of hardware components that are missing drivers from the ‘Device Manager’ screen before proceeding ahead.
Now, if in case you are not able to recognize the hardware component by the name listed in ‘Device Manager’. Go to www.google.com using your preferred browser and then type in your component’s name preceded by your device manufacturer’s name in the search box (as shown in the screenshot) and hit Enter to search.
Next, you will be able to know the name of the hardware component either from the ‘People also ask’ section or from other search results leading you to your specific manufacturer support website.
Note: The Dell support website linked marked in the screenshot is only for US-based machines. Hence, if you wish to go straight to the missing driver page from the search results, make sure you are clicking on the link pertaining to your country.
Once you know which particular driver are you looking for, head to your specific manufacturer support website. In this case, we will be heading to the Dell support website.
After that, if you know the Model or the Service Tag (usually located at the back panel of your device), type it in the text box present under the ‘Search Support’ pane on the website. Then click on the ‘Search’ button.
Otherwise, if you do not know the make and model of your device, you can click on the ‘Download & Install Support Assist’ to download a tool specifically for Dell computers to help you identify the machine and offer support as well.
After searching for your device using the search option, click on the ‘Drivers’ & Downloads’ tab. Then, scroll down and click on the ‘Find drivers’ button to manually find the driver.
Then scroll down and type the hardware name you realized from the Google search in the text box situated under the ‘Keyword’ field and click on the ‘Search’ icon situated adjacent to it.
Next, scroll down the webpage and you should see the driver listed. Now, click on the ‘Download’ button situated on the far right edge of the pane to download the driver.
You shall see the driver downloading on your screen on your browser screen.
Once downloaded, navigate to your download directory and double-click on the downloaded driver file to run the setup.
Note: If you have not set any customer download directory, the ‘Downloads’ folder is your default download directory.
After that, you will see a ‘Dell Update Package’ screen on your screen. Click on the ‘Install’ button to install the driver.
Now you will see a ‘Realtek Card Reader’ window appear on your screen, it might take a few seconds for the bar to progress and install the necessary files.
Once the installer has finished installing the necessary files, click on the ‘Finish’ button to exit the installer.
Your driver has now been installed for the specific hardware component, you will now be able to use the hardware to its full extent.