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Solve driver problems in Windows 10 - here's how

Thomas Joos

Driver under control in Windows 10: fix driver errors, identify unknown devices, install drivers and save drivers.

EnlargeSolve driver problems in Windows 10 - here's how

How to spot driver problems

Problems with drivers manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Problems with the graphics card driver can lead to image errors or poor graphics performance. With other drivers there is a risk that the device will not work correctly or not at all. There are also error messages from the operating system, crashes or unstable applications. Operating system performance and stability suffer most from outdated or faulty drivers.

Drivers should always be up to date

In order to run Windows 10 optimally, all current drivers should be installed on the system. This is not always easy, as many other, external devices are often used on computers. You can search for the drivers manually or use freeware tools to help you find them. One such driver tool is the free Slimdrivers: This freeware checks whether there are updated drivers for the components and accessories of your PC on the Internet and installs them almost automatically.

Find missing drivers in Windows 10

The best way to start the device manager in Windows 10 is to enter devmgmt.msc in the search field of the start menu. Here you can see which devices are still missing drivers.

EnlargeThe quickest way to see if all drivers for Windows 10 are installed is in the Device Manager.

If tools like the Slimdriver mentioned above cannot help, call up the properties of the unknown device for which no driver was found. Switch to the Details tab and select the Hardware IDs option in the Properties menu. Copy the top value to the clipboard and look for it in a search engine. In most cases this will tell you which device it is.

General procedure for updating drivers

If you have drivers updated on a computer, you should, if possible, make a backup beforehand. There are also risks associated with installing new drivers, especially when a large number of drivers need to be updated. In addition to Windows crashing, there is also the risk that some programs are not compatible with the new driver or that the driver is not as powerful as its predecessor. You should be careful here, especially with new driver versions with Windows 10.
Regardless of how you back up your drivers with add-on tools, you should create a system restore point before installing any software or anything else. Windows offers the possibility to create a system restore point. You should always have such a backup created automatically before major updates.

This has the advantage that you can restore Windows and the old driver in the event of problems (note: the technology also works with Windows 7 / 8.1; the exact menu items are sometimes called slightly different):

1. Open the Control Panel and click on System and Security / System and then on the link System Protection on the left.

2. The System Restore, Configure and Create buttons are available on the System Protection tab. Use the Create button to create a system restore point that you can use to restore the system later.

3. Enter a name for the recovery point and click Create. After the successful creation, you will receive a corresponding response from Windows.

4. By default, Windows only records the system partition with the system restore points. If you want to protect other hard disks with this function, click the Configure button. In the new window, activate the creation of system restore points for the corresponding hard drive and use a slider to specify how much storage space Windows should make available for system restore points.

5. The third button is System Restore. You can use this feature to restore Windows from a system restore point. During system restore, Windows does not delete or overwrite user data, only system files. If you click the button, a wizard will start to guide you through the restoration. You can also start the wizard directly by entering Rstrui.exe in the search field of the start menu or in a command line.

6. On the next page you will see all of the system restore points that Windows created. To run the system files at a specific point in time, select the system restore point and click Next. You can then activate the system restore point by clicking on Finish.

EnlargeYou can use system restore points to protect Windows from installing faulty drivers and restore your system

Fix crash after installing a driver

If Windows does not start after a driver update, you can use the computer repair options when you start your computer to find the startup options that can help with startup problems. After calling up the extended start options, various functions are available to you. The options also appear, for example, if you press the (F8) key or switch off the computer 3-4 times and restart it. In safe mode, Windows starts in a restricted state in which only the absolutely necessary drivers are loaded. You now have access to your data backup and can restore your system.

Restore graphics card driver

You can restore drivers with on-board resources. This is particularly useful when updating the graphics card driver if a new version does not work correctly:

1. If a new graphics card driver no longer works correctly, for example after installing a new version, open the device manager. The quickest way to find it is to search for the devmgmt.msc tool in the start menu.

2. Right-click the driver and open the properties. Switch to the Driver tab.

3. If Windows has backed up the previous driver, you can restore it via Previous Driver.

Update drivers with Slimdrivers

With the freeware SlimDrivers you can let Windows search for new versions of drivers. After the start, you can first use Start Scan to check whether new drivers are available for the computer.

The free edition shows new drivers but does not allow automatic updates. In most cases, the manual download of individual drivers is sufficient. The good thing about the tool is that for every device for which a current driver can be found, the download link to the manufacturer is also listed directly. In this way, drivers can be downloaded and updated using the manufacturer's installation program.

EnlargeSlimDrivers can keep PC systems up to date

You can also restore updated drivers via the context menu of the SlimDriver icon in the tray area of ​​the taskbar. To do this, the corresponding driver must of course have been backed up. The directory for backing up the drivers is specified in the SlimDrivers settings on the "Backup" tab. Settings for the restore can be specified on the "Restore" tab.