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Free driver updater: Top-15 list

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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. Now, the list of free driver updater in random order.

Let’s begin from short comparison of driver updaters key charasteristics:

Product Menu languages Drivers database Installer file size Disk space require Pro version Tray app
Driver Booster 49 3.000.000 24 MB 111 MB $22.95
Driver Easy 14 8.000.000 14 MB 15 MB $29.95
DriverMax 17 2.300.000 6 MB 15 MB $10.39
Avast Driver Updater 13 500.000 2 MB 136 MB $39.99
Snappy Driver Installer 41 N/A 27 MB 27 MB
Driver Identifier 1 N/A 5 MB 13 MB
Driver Talent 16 500.000 23 MB 71 MB $19.95
Device Doctor 1 1.100.000 6 MB 24 MB
TweakBit 7 200.000 9 MB 51 MB
Smart Driver Care 2 1.200.000 6 MB 23 MB $39.95
Driver Genius 6 1.500.000 24 MB 66 MB $22.95
DriverDoc 1 16.000.000 6 MB 18 MB $39.95
Driver Updater by Carambis 16 230.000 2 MB 24 MB $9.95
Driver Finder 1 1.000.000 1 MB 14 MB $29.95
Driver Reviver 15 1.000.000 18 MB 45 MB $29.99

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.

Key functions:

  • Scans for outdated drivers
  • Performs a silent installation of drivers
  • Manages a significant number of device drivers which include Samsung, Dell, Intel, Radeon, etc.

free driver updater tools

Pros: Extensive driver library to update a range of computer hardware devices Silent installation of drivers Restore-point

Cons: 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.

Read the full Driver Booster review.

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.

Key functions:

  • 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

free driver updating software

Pros: Can scan for drivers while offline Detects essential drivers Responsive support service via email 30-day money back guarantee

Cons: 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.

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.

driver genius review

Pros: A lot of additional features Updates rollback 2 ways of drivers recovery

Cons: Inconvenient interface Limited download speed in free version One-click update only in Pro

Tips. Driver Genius has a very flexible unwanted changes rollback system. Users can roll back system state to the last recovery point (if the changes were global), or undo last driver installations only, thus restoring the original state without changing system parameters.

Verdict. Driver Genius free edition allows you to search and install updates for drivers with a limited download speed. The Pro version contains additional features (System CleanUp, SSD Speeder, System Booster) aimed at entire PC optimization.

4 of 15

DriverMax

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.

Key functions:

  • 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

driver updating programs

Pros: Install drivers automatically Drivers are downloaded via the application Detects and display hardware devices unknown Automatic scheduler of driver updates

Cons: 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.

Avast Driver Updater 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.

Key functions:

  • 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

Avast driver updater

Pros: Set to run o Windows startup or not The ability to select drivers for backup Nice clean interface Online support 24/7

Cons: 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.

Key functions:

  • 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

best driver updaters

Pros: Can install drivers while offline Quick driver installation Indicates duplicated drivers Unlimited downloads and updates

Cons: 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.

Key functions:

  • 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

free driver updater tools

Pros: Displays vital information concerning updates Works offline and is portable No settings required DriverIdentifier is small in size

Cons: 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.

Formerly known as DriveTheLife, Driver Talent scans for outdated or missing drivers and installs them automatically. In addition to updating drivers, this software also fixes corrupt drivers. Driver Talent has a built-in evaluation system that allows users to quickly identify driver versions that may cause problems. Also, it automatically detects USB devices and printers, including those only available as network devices.

Key functions:

  • Backup system drivers
  • Driver packages to use on another computer
  • Game Repair tool
  • Hardware Detection utility

free driver updater

Pros: Recovery of faulty drivers Fast driver downloads Detailed driver descriptions Lifetime license

Cons: Some buttons too small for titles Reinstall to change language Does not load drivers detected as corrupt

Tips. You must import a hardware profile before you can create a driver package for another computer

Verdict. The functionality of this free driver updater is sufficient to quickly fix broken or obsolete drivers. On the other hand, useful tools such as Backup / Restore and others, are  available in Pro version only.

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.

Key functions:

  • 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

free driver updater tools

Pros: Friendly interface Obtain drivers from its database Can be scheduled to scan for drivers Super light and easy to set up/use

Cons: 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.

10 of 15

TweakBit

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.

Key functions:

  • 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

driver updater tools

Pros: Offers official device-specific drivers only Backup and the ability to roll back any changes Exceptional performance, user-friendly

Cons: 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.

Smart Driver Care is a universal solution for those who want to keep their drivers up to date. Among such programs, it shows a serious approach to system security. The built-in backup tool allows users to create full and partial copies of drivers, and Smart Driver Care automatically sort them by the creation time. And in improved system restore points feature now include creating and managing it directly in menu.

Key functions:

  • Recovery drivers from backups
  • Silence mode
  • Shows summary about installed drivers

Pros: Auto Scan on launch Restore points manager Different modes for scheduler Support Windows 10/ 8.1 / 8 / 7

Cons: Only one interface language Unavailable One-click update Low download speed

Tips. Use this tool for fast search outdated drivers in your system. You can do it manually from time to time, or automatically with built-in scheduler. It  support 4 modes: “Run Once”, “Every day”, “Every week”, “Only on some days of week”.

Verdict. Smart Driver Care functional has everything what are needed for regular and manual driver updates. The modern interface provides user to backup and recovery tabs just in click. Driver database includes many hardware types, including, motherboard controllers, Bluetooth-based equipment or even keyboards. The disadvantages are the low download speed (in comparison with the paid version) and partially blocked backup tool in free version.

12 of 15

DriverDoc

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.

driverdoc review

Pros: History of downloads Large drivers database One-click install

Cons: Costly Annoying notifications Slow scanner

Tips. It’s important to have a stable Internet connection for DriverDoc’s first launch. This will allow the application to recognize installed devices correctly and will save traffic on next searches for drivers updates.

Verdict. The main disadvantage of DriverDoc is high (compared to analogues) price. It does its job very well, but for this money one would anticipate extra features or at least an integrated technical support module.

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.

Pros: Affordable price Supports many languages Verified drivers

Cons: Ads for 3-rd party software No driver backup No full devices list

Tips. Driver Updater by Carambis can be integrated with Carambis Cleaner as a one whole software suite. If so, extra features like PC optimization, duplicates remover, will become available.

Verdict. Driver Updater by Carambis has a nice interface, yet it looks like it was published at a 80% readiness stage. Some functions typical of driver updaters (like full devices list) are not available, and only a few functions can be configured. A feature called “Search for drivers for disconnected devices” can be useful in some cases. It also has the cheapest Pro version. Great potential that is not revealed fully yet.

Driver Finder by DeskToolsSoft  selects a driver for the PC, based on and its models. Using unique identifiers for the equipment, the program selects a 100% compatible driver for the system. Programs for devices that were previously connected to a PC and have problems with compatibility / installation of servers. Driver Finder has own small client which will be located in the tray, and provide quick access to the main window of the interface.

Pros: Drivers backup / restore Custom selection of work folders Online knowledge base

Cons: Online installer Blocks downloads in some countries Custom scan unavailable

Tips. Strange or not, but Driver Finder blocks file downloads in certain countries. So in case of such error, install a VPN and reconnect from a different location.

Verdict.  Driver Finder has an excellent driver backup system. Full and customized device drivers backups are available. In the Free version, search and driver update functions are very limited, and on-demand scanning is blocked. In the Pro version, all functionality is available, including increased driver download speed and some other features.

Driver Reviver was created to search, download, and install drivers for PCs with Windows OS on the board. At the first start, the Driver Reviver will connect to its huge database and check the actuality for all drivers which are installed in the system. Using the scheduler, you can schedule regular inspections once a day or weekly. For unstable or unwanted driver versions, an Exclusions list is available. Users can choose for interface any from 15 languages, including English, Dutch, Russian and Chinese.

Pros: Easy-to-use interface Full backup and restore Proper ignore list

Cons: No option to cancel installation No partial drivers backup

Tips. A peculiar Driver Reviver issue is a forcefully disabled Cancel button during installation. An alert at the last step of installation is displayed, so perform it carefully.

Verdict. Driver Reviver is flexible in customization, most of its features (like new devices monitoring or automatic updates) can be disabled. The backup tool unfortunately supports only creating full (for all devices) driver copies. Nevertheless, thanks to its simple menu, it is a good solution for casual users.

Summary

Based on all aforementioned information, we’ve compiled the key features summary tables as a kind of comparison of all 15 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.

I. Performance tests

Product Driver Updates (5 in total) Software Updates Scan time (mm:ss:ms) Driver Restore Driver Backup
Driver Booster 5 13 0:06:80 Pro Pro
Driver Easy 3 0 0:08:21 Pro Pro
DriverMax 5 4 0:08:35
Avast Driver Updater 2 0 0:02:92
Snappy Driver Installer 3 0 0:02:96
Driver Identifier 1 0 0:07:30
Driver Talent 2 1 0:03:05
Device Doctor 5 0 0:31:19 Pro Pro
TweakBit 3 0 0:29:52
Smart Driver Care 3 0 01:16:25 Pro Pro
Driver Genius 1 0 0:03:55 Pro Pro
DriverDoc 5 0 0:32:47
Driver Updater by Carambis 2 0 0:06:83
Driver Finder 3 0 0:08:17
Driver Reviver 3 0 0:03:43

II.  Additional features

Product Actual updates for free One-click fix Driver Info Driver versions Devices list Ignore list
Driver Booster Pro
Driver Easy Pro
DriverMax Pro
Avast Driver Updater Pro
Snappy Driver Installer
Driver Identifier
Driver Talent Pro Pro Pro
Device Doctor
TweakBit
Smart Driver Care Pro
Driver Genius Pro Pro Pro
DriverDoc
Driver Updater by Carambis Pro
Driver Finder Pro Pro Pro Pro
Driver Reviver Pro

III. Drivers scan modes

Product Auto (regular) Scheduled By demand
Driver Booster
Driver Easy
DriverMax
Avast Driver Updater
Snappy Driver Installer
Driver Identifier
Driver Talent
Device Doctor
TweakBit
Smart Driver Care
Driver Genius Pro
DriverDoc Pro
Driver Updater by Carambis
Driver Finder
Driver Reviver

FAQ

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.

What does a driver update do?

A proper driver update could ensure overall PC stability, no errors with connected hardware, enhance gaming experience, improve data security, increase graphic card performance. Basically, a driver update is getting the newest possible version of specific computer drivers, or finding and installing new drivers required for certain apps or hardware.

How often 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.

What is a driver updater?

Driver updater / driver update software / driver update tool – is a special software that moitors, finds, updates and installs drivers on a user PC. Top examples of such tools are reviewed in detail above in this current article. Also, you may find out more about How to update all kinds of drivers.

Is it safe to use a driver updater?

Since driver update software has access to vital computer programs, the safety of certain a driver updater can be measured by the vendor reputation. Also, to be safe, it is good 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.

What is the best driver updater for free?

Start from the top of this article to explore apps like Driver Booster, DriverMax, Driver Easy, Avast Driver Updater, Snappy, Device Doctor, TweakBit and more. Learn all the pros and cons, see how they perform in action and choose accordingly.

What drivers do I need to update?

Keyboard drivers, webcam drivers, modem drivers, motherboard drivers, video/audio/graphics drivers, network drivers, USB drivers, mouse drivers, printer/scanner drivers are particularly important. That is not the full list though.

Do I have to update drivers on Windows 10?

Driver updates for Windows 10 happen by default and in the background via Windows Update, when activated. You can also manually update or install driver too, of course.

How do you update drivers in Windows 7?

Please, refer to this guide: How to update drivers.

How to know if drivers are up to date?

Go to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Device Drivers. Select a device you want to check, then -> Action -> Update Driver Software. Then it will be scanned and display whether a new driver version is available.

How to choose the best driver update tool?

Pricing, functionality, efficiency, speed, driver database, stability and security, vendor reputation, design/UX, specific features might come into play. Selection depends on user’s preferences.

How to update drivers on Mac?

Find the Apple icon in the top left corner, click it, then select “Software Update”. Available updates , if any, will be listed and ready for a download. When installing drivers manually, please make sure to download the Mac version.

How to update drivers on iPad?

According to Apple support, you have to click and hold the Start button, then go to Device Manager. Locate a  connected device (iPhone in this case), right-click it and select Update driver. Then select “Search automatically for updated driver software” option.

How to install/update drivers on Ubuntu?

Navigate to Software Settings -> Additional Drivers tab. Install the drivers and restart a computer.

How to install hardware drivers on Linux?

Most of hardware drivers are integrated into Linux already. Unlike with Windows, you do not need to find  manufacturer drivers, Linux system should automatically detect hardware and apply proper drivers. However, if one needs to do this, it depends on distribution, e.g. in Ubuntu-based distributions there is an Additional Drivers tab in Settings.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Victor Mangur

Chief editor at ThinkMobiles, analyst and business advisor at large.

Victor Mangur is ThinkMobiles' long-serving analyst, writer and editor, devoted to software and all things digital. Before that he worked in media, publishing, advertising agencies from Ukraine, Hungary and Austria. Victor is an expert in SaaS, enterprise applications and optimization tools, sharing insights from the world of software development and marketing. He values and rigorously sticks to pragmatism, clarity, open-mindedness, efficiency and business ethics.

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Please ask questions and discuss

Brian Jensen 05.07.2020
0

this was to be free but now you want payment

0
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Michael Tournier 16.12.2018
0

This is a good list, however I have been sticking to EasyDriverPro to update my drivers and always had a fairly good result.

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CZ 29.10.2018
0

Drivertalent, in the “pros” section it is stated that it is a lifetime license…you better specify, tho, that the lifetime license is intended as a recurring payment (every 1 year) license, meaning you don’t have to do nothing but just pay the fee every year in order to continue using it. I don’t see that as a real “pro”

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TonyRobinson 31.08.2018
0

Good list! But SnailDriver is better for me, as it is free yet includes no adwares and pop-ups, most of all, it backs up all the drivers on my PC before finding and downloading driver components.

0
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    Yana Gusti 11.10.2018
    0

    Could you drop a link?

    0
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