Simple Steps to Updating USB Drivers

USB devices serve many purposes, and many PC users rely on these handy tools to store data and operate peripherals. This makes it particularly frustrating when your operating system doesn't recognize your USB device. It's very likely that you'll need to update your USB drivers or install new drivers if your machine doesn't "see" your USB.

Finding the Correct USB Drivers

It's fairly easy to install new drivers on your computer. The difficult part is locating the right driver. However, we'll break this down for you so that it becomes really simple to find and install the correct drivers.

Drivers are basically compartmentalized pieces of software that open the lines of communication between your operating system and your hardware. In other words, drivers essentially enable hardware to work on your system.

When you purchase a new USB device, the driver is usually part and parcel of the USB device. However, if you bought it used, you probably don't have an installation CD, so you'll need to download the driver. New USB devices can become outdated, too, so you may need to install and download drivers even with a USB device that was recently purchased.

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Updating Drivers and Fixing the "Unknown Device" Problem

It's important to be vigilant and make sure you are running the most up-to-date drivers. You can prevent a lot of problems if you just check now and then to ensure that your driver is working properly.

You might see an "Unknown Device" icon when you plug in a USB device that your computer doesn't recognize. This is a surefire sign that you need to download a new driver. Here's what the Unknown Driver screen looks like:

Unknown Driver Screen

There are a variety of reasons why your computer doesn't recognize your driver. Viruses or a broken OS often contribute to malfunctioning drivers. Any time you reinstall Windows you have to also download new drivers.

Sometimes it's difficult to pinpoint why a device isn't recognizable. Suffice to say that you should run a virus scan and a registry scan whenever your drivers stop working. This is a safety measure that you cannot afford to ignore.

Download USB Drivers from the Manufacturer

You should download new drivers directly from the hardware manufacturer's website. There are countless places online where you can download free drivers, but you really can't trust the majority of these sites. As a result, you should stick to reputable companies.

If you click on the "Support" or "Downloads" link at any hardware manufacturer's website, you will be redirected to a page where you can search for drivers. There might even be a separate page labeled "Drivers".

Look For Support

Look For Device Drivers

Look under the appropriate page and pinpoint your USB device's make, model, series, and any other pertinent product information. Double-click to download and then save the driver to your hard disk.

Select Model

Download Driver

Once the USB driver is fully downloaded onto your machine, simply install it by double-clicking the icon and click "Next" or "I Agree."

Click Finish

Make sure you reboot your machine. Once Windows starts up again, your USB driver should be working like new!

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