PC drivers represent essential software components that are used by devices to interact with computer operating systems. Drivers are the files which the operating system and hardware devices use to send or receive data.
Top free driver updater tools
For the following reviews we used Acer Aspire laptop, with Windows 7 64-bit system, 3 GB RAM. Tests were performed during August-September 2018. Now, the list of free driver updater in random order.
- 2,300,000 driver database
- Automatic scan & installation
- $10 Pro version by us
Driver Booster 6
- 2,500,000 driver database
- One-click fix
- $14 Pro version by us
- 8,000,000 driver database
- Driver sources & details
- $20 for pro version
Driver Booster free version searches and updates drivers for Windows Operating System. For a free version, we find this driver updating software impressive as it picks up vital updates. Unlike the paid version which automatically updates all drivers, the free version can only indicate and you will have to make multiple clicks updating the drivers one-by-one.
- Scans for outdated drivers
- Performs a silent installation of drivers
- Manages a significant number of device drivers which include Samsung, Dell, Intel, Radeon as well as other giant companies
- Extensive driver library to update a range of computer hardware devices
- Silent installation of drivers
- Silent installation of drivers
- Does not automatically update all drivers at once as it requires the user to manually click on each and every indicated device
- Lengthy installation (it took us 35 minutes actually), bloatware
- Takes too much disk space
Tips. Always check the size, date of release, as well as the version number of the driver that needs to be updated to know the best time to perform an update. Also, when installing, select custom installation to avoid unwanted apps and extensions like Yandex.
Verdict. There is not much difference between the free and paid version of Driver Booster. If you have got time, then, it should not be a problem to manually update every single driver indicated. After all, you only need to click and it will install the selected ones on your command.
DriverMax free driver updater version is outstanding compared to other apps as it performs automated installations. It also can be pre-set to execute scheduled scans. The features we found in this driver updating software were impressive for a free version.
With that said, the major turnoff is in the limited number of drivers that the user is allowed to download per day or month. The limitation is so extreme such that only 2 drivers can be downloaded per day.
- Compatible to recent Windows versions
- Automatically scans and detect device drivers that need update or issues fixed
- Performs scheduled scans
- Lists all drivers with issues and without issues
- Can back up your system drivers prior to installing updates
- Install drivers automatically
- Drivers are downloaded via the application
- Detects and display hardware devices unknown
- Automatic scheduler of driver updates
- No actual updates in free version, only scan
- Restrict the user to only 10 driver downloads per month
- Cannot perform a bulk download of drivers
Tips. If you download 2 drivers per day for the next 5 days, you will not be able to execute any downloads for that particular month as you would have reached the maximum number of allocated monthly downloads.
Verdict. A system runs on many drivers as it has a lot of devices to communicate for smooth operation. Although DriverMax has cool impressive features, the limitation is too extreme to keep your PC in good shape.
However, with most of free driver updater software yet unable to keep users away from digging driver links, DriverMax does it all with a single click. The limitations inflicted can be pushed to the side if you perform a full system update before installing DriverMax. This will allow you to spread incoming updates over a long period.
#3 Driver Easy
Driver Easy is a powerful software that can be used at personal as well as commercial level. The program is compatible with Windows Operating Systems. It scans for issues within the computer drivers components and fixes related problems.
- Pre-set daily to monthly scan schedule
- Displays hardware information
- Silently downloads drivers without the use of an external browser
- Hide a device to not show in future scans
- Displays full system info
- Can scan for drivers while offline
- Detects essential drivers
- Responsive support service via email
- 30-day money back guarantee
- No bulk download
- Fails to detect some of the drivers
- Does not ensure whether drivers are obtained from OEM sources
- Require the user to manually install drivers
Tips. Use the company’s website FAQs as well as knowledge base forums to troubleshoot or gain insights about this particular driver updater tool.
Verdict. Driver Easy should not be a miss if you are looking for a performing free driver updater software. Although, in our test it missed a significant number of drivers, the essential ones were detected. A good free tool to conduct dirty work bt scanning for broken, outdated, and missing drivers.
Avast Driver Updater v.2.4.0 is a small simple software to update drivers on a Windows PC. It is light, operates fast and smoothly, finds missing, corrupt or drivers that require an update. All you have to do is to press a big green Start Scan button and get results in a matter of seconds, literally. All the features one would need in a driver updater tool are implemented in it, the only issue with Avast Driver Updater is that it’s only partially free – you can scan for free, but to install updates you have to pay $49,99 for one-year subscription.
- Scans PCs for erroneous and outdated drivers
- Checks for drivers updates in the background automatically
- Creates restore points upon each update
- Targets audio, video, graphics, printers, keyboards
- Set to run o Windows startup or not
- The ability to select drivers for backup
- Nice clean interface
- Online support 24/7
- Only trial version available for free
- Does not display driver source when prompting to update it
- Pop-up messages appearing when switching tabs
Tips. Use this Avast tool to scan for updates or errors, if you need a quick check-up of your device. When using a paid version, check or uncheck a box in Options to set a “reboot PC upon updates” feature. Also, take your time with other settings, which could be handy.
Verdict. Driver Updater is a nice little addition to the diverse Avast family of security and utility software. Our tests showed that is works faster when comparing to other tools, although we did not test update times available in subscription only, to be frank.
Snappy Driver Installer is an impressive freeware tool for updating multiple drivers at a go. The software detects devices that are in critical conditions in terms of outdated, broken or missing drivers. It then downloads the essential files needed for updates and gives the user access to set up the updates.
- Can install drivers online as well as offline
- Does not need installation as it can be used in an external hard drive
- Displays system information
- Filter feature to help the user find the best matching drivers to install
- Downloads in driver packs
- Compatible with Windows XP and above
- Can install drivers while offline
- Quick driver installation
- Indicates duplicated drivers
- Unlimited downloads and updates
- Cannot be pre-set to run scheduled scans
- Driver packs to download are too huge
- Lack of settings
Tips. First, check whether your PC operates on 64 or 34 bit Windows version to download the correct .exe Snappy Driver Installer file.
Verdict. Snappy Driver Installer gave an ambivalent impression. It has a lot of expert features, however, an average PC user will find it hard to manoeuvre the app. Lack of scheduled scans also makes it hard to turn a blind eye to the shortfalls of the software. All in all, the offline use and bulk download of drivers makes it a worthy mention.
Somewhat weird driver updater tool compared to other in the field, though with a library of 25 million device drivers DriverIdentifier could fit for all computer users. The app displays a precise message comparing present drivers installed in your computer vs. the proposed updates. After you click Scan, it will display results and drivers to download in a separate web page.
- Compatible with both 32 and 64 bit Windows versions
- Scans for drivers to update, then displays links where to get driver files and install them manually
- The download page displays the driver’s ID and date of release
- Provides download links from OEM sources
- Displays vital information concerning updates
- Works offline and is portable
- No settings required
- DriverIdentifier is small in size
- Requires user registration before downloading the setup file
- Cannot perform scheduled scans
- Requires user to manually downloads updates from the proposed links
Tips. To avoid installing the wrong update, make sure to check the presently installed device drivers details and compare them to the proposed update.
Verdict. We find this software easy to use. Although it requires the user to go through the hustle of manually downloading driver updates, it satisfies that the majority of the links presented are OEM sources. This makes DriverIdentifier a little bit safer than most of the free driver updating software.
FDS is a freeware driver update tool that scouts for outdated drivers in your computers. It has got an extensive database of over a million devices to scout. It comes with features that one would not expect to find in a free version. User interface was self-explanatory and friendly for use even by computer noobs.
- Performs bulk downloads of drivers
- Can perform a pre-set scheduled scan on a daily, weekly or monthly basis
- Indicates the file size of the drivers to download
- A migration tool for OS (enables to obtain device drivers meant for a different Windows version)
- Possible to roll back installation using the backup and restore feature
- Easy installation of the program
- Can perform both manual as well as pre-set scans
- Downloads updates in bulk
- Scan exclusion feature
- Fails to detects a lot of outdated drivers
- Initiates installation of unrelated programs amid an installation
- Requires closing of all other programs to perform updates
Tips. Pay attention during installation to turn down any installation of unrelated programs.
Verdict. The ability to download drivers for different OS – but only if it was not for its shortcoming when it comes to detecting outdated drivers. Another issue we find as a turnoff is the program’s attempt to try and install unrelated issues in a sneaky manner.
Driver Doctor presents an easy to use interface which can be credited to the fact that there is not much packed into the software. The program focuses on scanning for outdated, broken and missing drivers. Its database continues to grow and upon using the software, you will be required to keep on updating the software.
- Scans the computer from an external hard drive
- Supports Windows XP and later versions
- No installation is required to scan for out of date drivers
- Friendly interface
- Obtain drivers from its database
- Can be scheduled to scan for drivers
- Super light and easy to set up/use
- You have to sign up and pay to unlock full functionality
- Takes time to begin downloading drivers
- Limited to only 1 driver per day download
Tips. Since Driver Doctor lets you download one driver per day, it is best to use it as a backup driver updating tool just in case the computer cannot automatically update drivers due to some problem by storing it in a flash drive.
Verdict. Driver Doctor gave us mixed feelings but the major turn off were ads and just 1 driver per day download restriction. Otherwise, it is a great software for updating drivers which have got an extra portable version that does not require an installation.
TweakBit offers a batch of software to speed up and fix computers, that is easy to use as it gets. One of the most beneficial tools, along with other products like PS Suite, PC Booster, Repair Kit, File Recovery, is TweakBit Driver Updater. It acts to detect missing or outdated drivers, as well as to getting the newest driver versions.
Their database with 200 000 drivers ensures efficiency. So once a user runs this program, it immediately diagnoses a device/system and offers all updates. Besides main Overview dashboard in the menu, we get other options such as Diagnostics for scan details, Support, Back up, Restore and, of course, Settings.
- Scans missing/outdated drivers
- Offers easy way to update to latest versions
- Ensures system stability / Performs diagnostics
- Provides file recovery tool
- Repairs driver-related errors
- Offers official device-specific drivers only
- Backup and the ability to roll back any changes
- Exceptional performance, user-friendly
- Antiviruses perceive the installation file as a virus/threat so one has to turn off the protection
- No actual free version, no trial
- Register an account to unlock full features
Tips. There is a refund option – within first 30 days users may apply for it if not happy with the product. If you don’t wish to pay, use TweakBit to perform the scan and then update select drivers manually.
Verdict. A decent driver updater tool, with nice usability, simplicity, one-click action or one-by-one updates, restore points and all that. However, one has to activate a paid account to get full functionality, which is a grain of salt. On the other hand, many users report that TweakBit Works just like CCleaner or any other similar tool, which is definitely a positive feedback.
#10 Smart Driver Care
A great and hassle free driver update utility , Smart Driver Care will take care of all your driver update woes. It’s highly interactive and futuristic looking interface is one of the first things you’ll notice. It’s smart scanning algorithms are not only efficient, but also make the process much quicker. Once the outdated drivers are detected, all it requires is your confirmation to download and update your system drivers and bring new life to your computer. Smart Driver Care’s addon tools such as Startup Manager, Registry Scan and Web Protection also make it a neat optimization and security utility for Windows.
- Automatically scans for outdated drivers on PC
- Intelligent and fast scan engine
- Exclusion feature in case you want to skip certain drivers from scan
- Creates a system restore point before updating drivers
- Allows you to backup system registry for easy rollback
- Scan schedule feature to automatically update system drivers
- Web Protection blocks and detects malware while using the internet
- Backup Drivers in case you need to restore them later
- System restore point in case anything goes wrong after update
- Additional features make it an all rounded utility for Windows
Tips. Trial version allows you to check all the features, except the automatic updates. Features will not work once trial period expires. However, it can still create backups and restore old drivers.
Verdict. Smart Driver Care is certainly much more than just a driver update tool for Windows. It does what it says efficiently and without making things complicated. Moreover, with the other add on utilities, this definitely holds it’s own amongst the best driver updater tools for your Windows PC.
Based on all aforementioned information, we’ve compiled the key features summary table as a kind of comparison of all nine driver updater tools. We included crucial parameters such as one-click fix, back up, OS compatibility, file size, design, etc., as well as performance metrics – scanning time, number of drivers/issues found, installation. To finalize, there’s an overall evaluation rating in a last row, from 0 to 10: from poor to excellent.
|DriverMax||TweakBit||Snappy Driver Installer||Driver
|Device Doctor||Driver Talent||Avast
|Scanning time||65 sec||18 sec||20 sec||30 sec||10 sec||35 sec||45 sec||60 sec||20 sec||15 sec|
|Actual updates for free||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|OS compatibility||Win XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10||Win XP, Vista, 7, 8.1, 10||Win XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, Win Server||Win XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10||Win 2K, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10||Win XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10||Win XP, Vista, 7, 8||Win 98, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10||Win XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10||Win XP, Vista, 7, 8.1, 10|
|20.2 MB||4.0 MB||5.5 MB||0.8 MB||4.1 MB||4.1 MB||0.6 MB||5.0 MB||14.4 MB||0.9 MB|
Few more honorable mentions
In the course of our research of best free driver updaters we’ve come about three dozens of decent products. We’ve selected the best 10 based on performance and usability, while throwing away many others due to errors, poor functionality and design, security issues, etc. In the meantime, there were also several driver updating programs that deserve to be enlisted as well.
Driver Genius by Driver-Soft Inc., a vendor that produces driver utility software exclusively (Drivers Restore, Drivers Backup, Drivers Cleanup, System Transfer Assistant, SSD Speeder), detects, installs and backs up device drivers. With a huge database, comprising of motherboard drivers, sound card drivers, video card drivers, network drivers, mouse drivers, scanner/printer drivers, etc., users may fix any issues in one click. A cool feature to package all drivers into one executable auto installer.
DriverDoc safely downloads and updates PC drivers for all Windows OS back to XP. Note that scanning begins automatically each time a program starts, and even right after installation. This is to save precious time, as well scanning hardware and updating drivers in the correct order, so that a user doesn’t have to do it manually. DriverDoc delivers the largest driver database of any products – 16 million and counting. Plus, it claims to reduce the risk of downloading malware drivers by deep-scanning driver source websites.
Easy Driver Pro by Probit Software Ltd., with the access to over 2 million manufacturer specific drivers, e.g. Dell drivers, HP drivers, Compaq drivers, etc., allows updates for free. With a Pro version one can also check with official sources to each driver. The same basics apply: install and run Easy Driver ,it scans your device, identifies missing and/or out-of-date drivers, automates the download and install segment. A decent tool with great performance.
OmniTweak Driver Updater by OmniTweak Software from Russia is another fine driver installer software. It works to install newest version of drivers, but also it allows to submit requests for specific drivers, create backups. It supports categories such as bluetooth drivers, CD-ROM drivers, DVD-ROM drivers, TV tuner drivers, USB drivers, etc. A word of caution – while we checked a free version only, some users who bought a subscription say they asked for a refund due to false advertisement.
Driver Updater by Carambis is an automatic driver installer/updater working on Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, Vista, or XP. First, it finds the device’s hardware ID and offers more precise drivers than a user can do manually. It can be set to download, install and update all drivers automatically. In addition, this driver updater has a nice design and costs cheaper than other similar apps.
And here is how those free driver updaters performed in the test:
|Driver Genius||DriverDoc||Easy Driver||OmniTweak||Carambis|
|Scanning time||0.5 min||2 min||0.5 min||1 min||1 min|
|Installer file size||14 MB||11 MB||1 MB||3 MB||1 MB|
Is it safe to use a driver updater?
Since driver update software has access to vital computer programs, the safety of using a driver updater can be measured by taking into consideration the developers’ reputation. If the developer of the driver updater software is not trustworthy, then, you might find yourself with a jinx of malware attacks.
Thus, to be safe, you need to check whether or not the driver finder gives information about where they get their drivers. In most cases, reputable driver update software gives full details or guarantee that the drivers are obtained from Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) sources.
Why is it important to update drivers?
In a world full of cyber criminals, keeping the computer drivers updated is essential as it may reduce chances of cyber-attacks. Keeping your drivers up to date will also help boost your PC performance as well as take advantage of new features upon release.
A PC full of outdated drivers will likely be destabilized and slow, therefore, making it difficult to run the latest programs as well as have an amazing gaming experience.
When should you update drivers?
Drivers are like a user-manual, by keeping them up to date all the time, hardware software will function smoothly and at their best capability. Logically, it would make more sense for one to update their drivers whenever a chance arises.
Good thing is that driver update software can scan and indicate drivers that need an update. Thus, you do not need to go through a painful period of searching for an update in each of your PC devices.