Tech Tip: Driver Messages That Drive You Crazy

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Q. I keep getting a window popping up on my laptop running Windows 10 that says I have outdated drivers, with an offer to update them for a price. How can I find out if I really do have outdated drivers that need updating? How do I know if the window is a legitimate offer or a scam?

A. While free driver utility programs are available online, any aggressive pop-up window that points out supposed issues with your computer and then offers to fix them for a price is trying to take advantage of you. Some of these offers may not be outright scams, but they are trying to make a quick buck by doing something you can do yourself free. Persistent pop-up windows shilling products can also indicate your computer has a spyware or adware infection and needs anti-malware software.


You can manually check for driver updates in the Windows 10 Device Manager utility. Credit The New York Times

Windows 10 automatically downloads and installs new versions of your driver software through Windows Update, the same system tool that also downloads and installs system updates and monthly security patches pushed out by Microsoft. If you have trouble with a certain hardware device (even after an update), you can try manually updating the driver to try to fix the problem.

To update a driver yourself, press the Windows and X keys and select Device Manager from the menu that appears. In the Device Manager window, click a hardware category to open the list, right-click the name of the problematic device and choose Update Driver.

If you still have issues after updating the driver, return to the Device Manager and choose Uninstall Device from the menu and restart the PC; Windows will try to reinstall a new copy of the driver itself. You can also find driver software in the support area of the device manufacturer’s website.

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