Need free drivers for your hardware but you're not sure where to look? There are plenty of websites selling programs and services that download drivers for you but, obviously, drivers for free is a better deal.
Before looking at where you can download free drivers, know that free drivers are the norm, not the other way around. Don't let those costly driver download programs and websites fool you with pricey software programs and subscription fees. Charging for these downloads is a scheme that no one should fall victim to.
Here are the different ways you can download free drivers for your hardware, ordered in the same way you should look for them:
Directly From the Hardware Manufacturer
The first and best place to look for free device drivers is from the hardware manufacturer's website. These are the original drivers that the manufacturer itself is handing out—go there before you look anywhere else. You simply download them and then update the driver on your computer.
For example, if you’ve just purchased a Logitech webcam or an NVIDIA video card for your computer, you can visit the Logitech Support page or NVIDIA Driver Downloads page to find and download the right driver that it needs in order to work correctly.
Some companies offer easy-to-use driver updater tools. These are similar to the driver updaters discussed below, but these are specific to the manufacturer. For example, you can update NVIDIA drivers with the GeForce Experience app, or use the Intel Driver & Support Assistant for your Intel hardware.
Using a Trusted Software Sharing Website
In the rare situation that you can’t find drivers for your hardware at the manufacturer’s website, there are several other driver download sources available, such as DriverGuide.
This might happen if the company is out of business, or you're looking for a driver for a very old piece of hardware. No matter the reason, you shouldn't have to pay for it.
Once you download the correct files, updating the driver is a very easy task that anyone can do.
Through a Free Driver Updater Tool
That said, there are driver updater programs out there that can be useful, at the very least to save you time. Fortunately, there are lots of free ones that are just as good as any you might pay for.
While most of them work in almost the same way, our favorite is Driver Booster. This program will scan your computer for all the missing and outdated drivers that it can find, and then will download the right driver for you. All you have to do is click a few buttons and confirm the installations.
Things to Remember About Downloading Drivers
Remember that all drivers are free! You should be able to download nearly any driver direct from the driver's source—the manufacturer—without incurring any cost whatsoever. However, even if you can't, the other options from above are usually very beneficial for finding free drivers.
Please know that you do not need to update your drivers on a regular basis. If you're not experiencing issues with your hardware, and you're not looking for additional features, then you don't need to update your drivers at all.
For example, if your sound no longer works, it’s possible the sound card driver has been corrupted or removed, in which case you can reinstall the sound card driver. However, if your sound card has been working fine, there isn’t a requirement to update it even if it could be updated to a new version.
Some people are wary about updating device drivers, maybe because they've had a bad experience in the past or because they're afraid it will make their device stop working. This is another reason you shouldn't worry about updating the driver for a device that doesn't obviously need the update.