Now the hard way, learn how to find, download and install drivers in Windows XP.
Updating drivers for a piece of hardware is necessary when Windows
XP doesn’t install a device automatically, when the hardware is having
some kind of problem, or as part of some other hardware troubleshooting.
Updating a driver is often the solution to a Device Manager error
code. Updating the drivers for a piece of hardware will sometimes
enable additional features for the hardware as well.
Follow these easy steps to update drivers from within Device Manager in Windows XP:
Download the latest drivers from the hardware manufacturer’s
website. Drivers from the manufacturer will be the most up to date but
there are several other driver download options.
As part of this driver update process, you can choose to update
drivers from Windows Update or from a hardware installation disc but
updating drivers manually (as described below) is usually more
Note: Many drivers come packaged with software that automatically
installs the driver. The manufacturer’s website will tell you if the
driver download is packaged this way and if so, the steps below aren’t
I have included screen shots below to illustrate the step. Please
click any of the pics to enlarge them if you are having trouble seeing
The steps below are only to be followed after you have gone through
the trouble to find, and download all your drivers. Put all the
downloaded drivers into a folder so that they will be easy to find.
Name each folder after the hardware you are downloading it for.
Open Device Manager from the Windows XP Computer Management utility. Please go to how to get to device manager in Windows Xp for a complete guide on how to open device manager.
Note: There are also several other ways of opening Device Manager. It doesn’t matter which way you choose.
With Device Manager open, locate the hardware device that
you want to update the drivers for. Today for example I am going to
search for a driver update for my keyboard.
Note: Navigate through the categories of hardware devices by
clicking the [+] icon. Specific hardware devices are listed under the
major hardware categories.
After finding the hardware you’re updating drivers for, right click
on the hardware’s name or icon and choose Properties. In this Properties window, click the Driver tab.
You can see the keyboard I am going to update right here.
There you can see the driver tab.
Click the Update Driver… button. The Hardware Update Wizard will begin.
There is the Update Driver Button
To the "Can Windows connect to Windows Update to search for software?” question, choose the No, not this time radio button and then click the Next > button.
Select No, and hit Next.
To the "What do you want the wizard to do?” question, choose the Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) radio button and then click the Next > button.
The next window that appears will be the Please choose your search and installation options. window containing several radio buttons and checkboxes.
Choose the Don’t search. I will choose the driver to install. radio button and then click the Next > button.
Click the Have Disk… button on the Select the device driver you want to install for this hardware. window.
Click the Browse… button on the Install From Disk dialog box that appeared.
I do appologize, I do not have screen shots from here on out. All
my hardware is up to date and current so I do not have any drivers
available for any of my hardware. Please use the step by step
In the Locate File dialog box that appears next, navigate
to the folder that you extracted as part of the driver download in Step
1 above. There may be multiple folders within the extracted folder so
be sure to work your way to the one for Windows XP if it exists. It’s
okay if there isn’t a specific XP folder.
Click the INF file that displays in the file list and click the Open button.
Note: INF files are the only files that Device Manager accepts for
driver setup information. See the tips at the bottom of the page for
some INF file troubleshooting.
Click the OK button back on the Install From Disk dialog box.
Choose the newly added hardware back on the Select the device driver you want to install for this hardware. window and then click the Next > button.
If you’re prompted with a message warning you about the software for
the hardware device not passing the Windows Logo testing, click the
Continue Anyway button. Many drivers are not Windows certified but are
still perfectly safe to install.
Important: If you’re installing a driver obtained from anywhere
other than the manufacturer of the hardware, click the STOP
Installation button instead and obtain drivers from the manufacturer
The Hardware Update Wizard will now use the instructions
provided in the INF file from Step 11 to install the updated drivers
for your hardware. Follow any additional instructions on screen to
complete the driver update.
After the driver update is complete, click Yes to the "Do you want to restart your computer now?”System Settings Change dialog box. question on
Note: Not all driver updates require a restart of your computer.
Even if you’re not prompted, I always recommend restarting anyway. The
driver update process involves changes to the Windows Registry and
other important areas of your computer and restarting is a good way to
confirm that updating drivers hasn’t negatively impacted some other
area of Windows.
If a driver update causes an issue, you can always roll back the driver.
- Couldn’t find an INF file in a folder from your driver download? Try another folder.
- Couldn’t find an INF file in any folder from the extracted driver
files? The driver download may have been corrupted. Try downloading and
extracting the drivers again.
- Find multiple INF files in a folder from your driver download? Try
each one until the drivers for your hardware are installed properly.