Hardware drivers are the bits of software Windows uses to communicate with your PC’s hardware.Device manufacturers create these drivers, and you can obtain drivers straight from the manufacturer of your devices.Manufacturers also submit drivers to Microsoft for testing and signing, and you can get many drivers from Microsoft through Windows Update.Often, you won’t need to bother with updating drivers, but you may sometimes need to get the latest version—especially if something isn’t working right.While they are tempting, we recommend that you don’t use driver-update utilities.In general, we don’t recommend updating hardware drivers unless you have a reason to.The driver for the SD card reader that came built into your computer is probably just fine.
There are some good reasons to update drivers, though.
In particular, gamers generally should keep their graphics drivers as up-to-date as possible to ensure the best graphics performance and the fewest bugs with modern games.
In other cases, you might need to get the latest version of a hardware driver if the current one is causing problems with your computer. This means downloading drivers from the hardware manufacturer’s individual websites, or letting Microsoft’s Windows Update do the work for you.
If you do want to update your drivers, skip the driver-updating utilities. RELATED: Assuming you’re using Windows 10, Windows Update automatically downloads and install the latest drivers for you.
Windows 7 and 8 provide driver updates via Windows Update, too, but Microsoft is being much more aggressive about this in Windows 10. Even if you install your own hardware drivers, Windows sometimes automatically overwrite them when a new version is available.
Windows is pretty good about not overwriting things like graphics drivers, though—especially if you’ve got a utility from the manufacturer that keeps up with updates.