A List of Driver Download Sources

Safe places to download drivers for your computer hardware

Before you can update a driver for a hardware device, you'll need to download the driver from somewhere. You've probably downloaded files before—downloading drivers is no different. The difficulty is in finding the right place to do it.

Many driver download sources exist, but they're not all created equal. Knowing the best place to download drivers could save you a lot of time and frustration.

Below is a list of driver download sources in order of preference. Try to use the first source listed and then work your way down:

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Download Direct From the Manufacturer

Screenshot of the driver download page for NVIDIA GeForce drivers
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers Page.

Without a doubt, the best place to download drivers for any hardware is direct from the hardware manufacturer. This ensures that the driver is authentic, free from malware, and will work with the hardware in question.

For example, if you purchased a complete computer system, the driver download should come from your computer manufacturer's website. If you purchased a hardware component individually, the driver download should come from the hardware component manufacturer's website.

Some driver manufacturers include little tools you can install to scan your computer for outdated drivers. This is useful if you're not sure what needs to be updated or don't know how to identify the driver you need; the program will tell you exactly what's needed, and will probably also do the whole download and install process for you.

If you know you need a video card driver update, for example, but aren't sure what your video card is called or what driver version you have now, the utility can find that information for you.

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From a Driver Download Website


Driver download websites are very popular sources for downloading drivers. Driver download websites actually download drivers from the manufacturer, organize them, and then make the drivers available for download to their visitors.

Unlike with downloading drivers directly from the manufacturer, some driver download sites are filled with malware and trick you into thinking you're getting a genuine driver. Learn how to avoid dangerous websites for some tips.

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Through a Driver Updater Tool

Driver Talent drivers status tab
Driver Talent.

Similar to the above two solutions, you can download drivers for free, directly from the manufacturer in most cases, with a driver updater tool. These are programs that scan your computer for outdated, missing, or corrupt drivers and then download the correct driver for you

A few driver updater tools will install the driver automatically, too, and even fewer will automate all of this: they'll check the computer for outdated drivers on a schedule, download the drivers, and install them for you.

Some driver updater utilities get their driver downloads directly from the manufacturer during the installation process, but others query their own database of drivers instead. Because of this, it's important to avoid fake driver updater programs that contain malware. Stick to the ones we've included in our list.

One of our favorites is Driver Booster.

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Use Windows Update

Windows Update with a pending update
Downloading Updates From Windows Update (Windows 11).

Another driver download option is Windows Update. You don't download drivers in the typical sense from Windows Update. The drivers are downloaded and installed automatically as part of the Windows OS update process.

This should not be your first, and certainly not your only, source for driver downloads. Driver availability is slim, and the drivers are often not the most updated versions.

If for some reason you can't get what you need direct from the manufacturer, then give Windows Update a try. It's unlikely you'll be able to download the driver if it's unavailable from the manufacturer, but it's possible. At the very least, the driver will be certified and approved by Microsoft.

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Download From Third-Party Developers

Another way is to download the driver from a third-party developer. These developers are not usually affiliated with the hardware device manufacturer or with the operating system company.

A programmer may develop a driver specifically designed to help his or her software work with a particular piece of hardware. You won't often find these kinds of drivers freely available for download.

Other times, a programmer may improve upon existing drivers for a popular hardware device. You may sometimes find a driver of this type available for download. While these drivers are usually safe and well tested, we still recommend that you use the original hardware manufacturer.

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