There is a specific order to install drivers in Windows. A Device Driver is software in Windows that controls how Windows interfaces with the hardware installed in the computer. Windows could not function properly without them. Drivers are hardware-specific and often written for a specific version of the Windows Operating System. So having the correct and most current Device Driver for your Windows installation is critical. With that said, there is a preferred order to install drivers in Windows because it is necessary for certain hardware to be functioning properly so other hardware can be installed.
Proper Order To Install Drivers
There are a couple things to consider first thing: Is this a major brand name PC or is this a custom build? The only significant difference is where you will obtain the drivers and if this is a major brand name, like Dell or HP, are there any special drivers that need to be installed first with those machines? If you have a major brand name PC, you should consider visiting their website and look-up your specific model for proper driver installation. But as long as you have all of the drivers for the hardware in that machine it should not matter.
You should first make sure you have all external devices disconnected. Assuming you have all of the major drivers for your computer, and you have just installed or reinstalled your Operating System, you can into Windows. You might be surprised to find that Windows has already installed everything for your current hardware configuration. If so, great. Usually, you can determine if this is the case by going to the Device Manager in the Control Panel. If you see devices in there labeled unknown, then you need to install drivers.
You can install all of your drivers, then remove those entries in the Device Manager and reboot. When you restart, Windows will find the new hardware and associate it with the drivers you installed prior to rebooting.
Order To Install Drivers Based On Component
- Motherboard or chipset drivers
- SATA controllers if not included with motherboard drivers
- Smartcard controller
- Video driver
- Audio Driver
- Network Interface Card (NIC)
- WiFi Adapter
- Touchpad, mice or keyboard drivers
- Others, such as printers, scanners, camera, etc
You should reboot after installing the chipset and motherboard driver. But you can then gang a few of the other driver installations together. You should make sure you obtain all of the latest drivers for your hardware before you begin and remove any devices you know you will never use again, such as old modems, and cards that are obsolete.
If you have a preferred order to install drivers, or if you have questions, join our free forums and let us know.