Can I Reload a Windows Driver That Came With My System?

Can I Reload a Windows Driver That Came With My System?

Maintaining Windows drivers can be a bit of a pain, and sifting through the manufacturer’s support site for a device driver can lead to all kinds of fun. (Not really.) So the question inevitably arises, “Can I just reload a device driver that came with my Windows OS?”

Windows driver updates are what you really want

I can’t say that I highly recommend this approach, but technically, yes it would get a device driver back onto your system. I don’t recommend the approach for several key reasons.

First, the drivers that come bundled with the OS probably aren’t the most up-to-date drivers for your device. In the world of Windows driver maintenance, you really want the most updated driver you can find. Why? Well, your system changes over time. Unless you’ve completely reloaded your Windows OS, to the point that it looks exactly like it did when you first pulled your computer out of the box, your Windows OS has been changed. Some of those changes will impact your device drivers, and you may not get the experience you were hoping for with a patched OS and an unpatched device driver. Your best bet is always to use the most up-to-date driver for any hardware you have installed in or attached to your computer.

Second, the Windows OS driver load may not actually have the driver your system requires. It’s not unusual for hardware manufacturers to make multiple versions of a device driver. Each version may be intended for use with a different hardware configuration, and the manufacturer may not make all versions of the device driver available for distribution with the Windows OS. This is especially true of laptop computers, where different hardware components may be installed in a single laptop model. It’s always best to go with what you have – and that means knowing what’s inside your computer.

Third, downloading Windows drivers from the manufacturer’s site ensures that you have a “clean” copy of the driver. It doesn’t happen often, and it hasn’t happened in awhile, but corrupted drivers have been known to sneak their way into Windows distributions. Go straight to the source for Windows driver updates whenever you need to replace a driver.

You could also bypass the Windows hardware driver hunt by using a driver management software package like Driver Detective. Driver Detective is one of the best known, most trusted driver management software utilities available today. Regardless of what version of Windows you roll with, Driver Detective will keep your Windows hardware drivers up-to-date and looking good!

Photo Credit: thskyt, via Flickr