Drivers are software programs that interact between your hardware and your operating system. When you upgrade your hardware or install a peripheral, you probably install the drivers as well, typically from a CD or the Web, though Windows includes drivers for many devices. Without up-to-date drivers, your devices won't work properly. The usual way of updating drivers, checking each manually, takes too long or is too intimidating for many people. DriverIdentifier is a free tool that checks and updates your drivers for you. It scans your system and displays the results in a Web-based tool that lets you choose and install the correct driver updates.
DriverIdentifier downloads and installs conventionally, but its Windows interface has but one button, Scan Drivers. We pressed it, and the program scanned our system, displaying its results in a Web page inside our browser. The results listed our drivers, their manufacturers, versions, and more. Under the Downloads heading in the list view, DriverIdentifier displayed the status of each driver with links to updates for all non-Microsoft drivers (Windows Update handles Microsoft drivers). All but two of our drivers showed Good status. We clicked the link for the first driver that needed updating, which took us to a page listing all available driver downloads. We were able to identify the correct download for our hardware, but the list isn't especially clear on that; it basically just lists everything, so DriverIdentifier isn't totally automatic. You'll still need to know your operating system, version, and so on, but you should know that stuff anyway (right-click Computer and select Properties). We successfully updated two important drivers, including a reboot for one of them, using DriverIdentifier's process.
Even if you don't use DriverIdentifier to update your drivers, it's a handy way to see if any need updating: You can always update them easily enough the usual ways, via the Device Manager, the device's properties, or its software or Web site. We've seen tools similar to DriverIdentifier that will scan your drivers but make you pay to update them. But DriverIdentifier does that free of charge, so before you pay up, check it out.