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Q. Should I install drivers on my Windows 10 machine via the Windows Update? Getty Images

Q. Should I install drivers on my Windows 10 machine via the Windows Update?

Q. Hi Fred. I know in the past you’ve recommended staying away from installing hardware drivers through Windows Update. But your most recent article on that topic, that I could find, is several years old. I wonder if your advice still holds for Windows 10?

​A. I still recommend not installing drivers via Windows Update. Here’s why. Often, the drivers available via Windows Update are somewhat generic; they might apply to a wide range of similar hardware types. OEM or vendor support sites remain the best place to obtain drivers tailored to your exact brand and model of hardware.

I also still recommend against routinely updating drivers, regardless of where the drivers come from. In my opinion, the mere fact that a new driver exists is insufficient reason for an update.

Rather, I think drivers should be updated in only two circumstances:

  • If some of your PC’s hardware isn’t working properly;
  • The new driver corrects security flaws in a previous version. (Check the driver’s description on the OEM or vendor’s site.)

To put it the other way, don’t risk messing up a PC where everything’s working fine! If you don’t have a problem, leave things alone.

(Originally published on Windows Secrets on Tuesday, March 15, 2016.)


Editor's note: We feature an abridged Q&A from Fred Langa's LANGALIST, a column available exclusively to paid subscribers of the Windows Secrets newsletter,. What you see here is just a small sampling of what Langa's writing for the newsletter — go here for more information on how to subscribe.

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