How to Check for Outdated Drivers: A Foolproof Guide

Can outdated drivers cause lag? Well, yes! Our computers rely on a delicate ecosystem of software and hardware components to function seamlessly. At the heart of this ecosystem are device drivers – the unsung heroes that facilitate communication between the operating system and the various peripherals and hardware components connected to your computer.

These drivers act as translators, ensuring that your computer and its connected devices can speak the same language and work in harmony. However, when these drivers become outdated, they can wreak havoc on your system, leading to a range of performance issues and potentially even causing permanent damage to your hardware. 

In this article, we will explore the world of device drivers, how to check for outdated drivers, uncover the common symptoms of outdated drivers, and discuss how to effectively manage and maintain updated driver versions for all your devices and programs.

Let’s get started. 

What is a Device Driver?

Device driver

A device driver is a software program that enables your computer’s operating system to communicate with a specific hardware component or peripheral. It acts as an intermediary, translating the high-level commands from the operating system into the low-level instructions that the hardware can understand.

Device drivers are essential for the proper functioning of your computer. They ensure that your hardware and software work together seamlessly, allowing you to perform a wide range of tasks, from simply moving the mouse cursor to playing high-definition video or running complex CAD software.

Without the appropriate device drivers, your hardware components would be unable to interact with your computer’s operating system, rendering them effectively useless. This is why it is crucial to keep your device drivers up-to-date to ensure optimal performance and compatibility.

Also read: How to Reset Graphics Driver on Windows 11: 3 Easy Methods

What are the Common Outdated Drivers Symptoms?

When your device drivers become outdated, you may start to experience a range of performance issues and problems with your computer. Here are some of the most common symptoms of outdated drivers:

Can Outdated Drivers Cause Lag? Absolutely. Outdated drivers can lead to significant performance issues, including sluggish system responsiveness, slow boot times, and even frequent system crashes or freezes. This is because outdated drivers may not be optimized for the latest hardware and software, causing a mismatch that results in poor performance.

  • Frequent System Crashes or Freezes: Outdated drivers can cause instability in your system, leading to frequent crashes, freezes, or even the infamous “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD). This is often due to incompatibilities between the outdated driver and the current hardware or software configuration.
  • Hardware Malfunctions: Outdated drivers can also cause hardware components to malfunction or stop working altogether. For example, a printer with an outdated driver may fail to print, or a graphics card with an outdated driver may produce distorted or corrupted images.
  • Compatibility Issues: As technology advances, newer software and hardware may require updated drivers to function properly. If you try to use older devices or software with outdated drivers, you may encounter compatibility issues, such as the inability to install or run certain programs.
  • Reduced Battery Life: In the case of laptops and mobile devices, outdated drivers can contribute to decreased battery life. This is because outdated drivers may not be optimized for power management, leading to unnecessary power consumption and reduced battery runtime.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Outdated drivers can also expose your system to security vulnerabilities. Manufacturers often release driver updates to address known security issues, and failing to keep your drivers up-to-date can leave your system susceptible to potential attacks.

These are just a few of the common symptoms that can arise from outdated drivers. By recognizing these issues, you can take proactive steps to maintain your computer’s performance and ensure the overall health of your system.

Also read: 10 Best Free Software To Backup & Restore Windows Drivers

How to Check for Outdated Drivers

Identifying and addressing outdated drivers is a crucial step in maintaining the health and performance of your computer. Here are the steps you can follow to check for outdated drivers:

Method 1: Use Windows Device Manager

One of the easiest ways to check for outdated drivers on a Windows-based computer is to use the built-in Device Manager. 

Device driver

To access it, right-click on the Start menu and select “Device Manager.” In the Device Manager window, you’ll see a list of all the hardware components connected to your computer. Look for any devices with a yellow exclamation mark, as this indicates a potential driver issue.

To update the driver, right-click on the driver and select the “Update Driver” option from the context menu. 

Update driver

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the driver installation process. 

Also read: How To Fix “A Driver Can’t Load On This Device” On Windows 11?

Method 2: Manufacturer’s Website

Another way to check for outdated drivers is to visit the manufacturer’s website for each of your hardware components. Look for the “Drivers” or “Downloads” section, and compare the driver versions listed on the website with the ones installed on your computer. 


If the website offers a newer version, it’s a good indication that your current driver is outdated.

Method 3: Manual Driver Version Checking

You can also manually check the version of your drivers by right-clicking on the device in the Device Manager and selecting “Properties.” In the Properties window, you’ll find information about the driver version, as well as the date it was installed.


By regularly checking for outdated drivers using these methods, you can stay on top of any driver-related issues and ensure your computer is running at its best.

How Can You Maintain Updated Driver Versions for All Devices and Programs: Use Smart Driver Care Utility

Keeping your device drivers up-to-date can be a time-consuming and tedious task, especially if you have a lot of hardware components and peripherals connected to your computer. Fortunately, there are tools available that can make this process much easier and more efficient.

One such tool is Smart Driver Care, a comprehensive driver management utility that can help you maintain updated driver versions for all your devices and programs.

Here’s how Smart Driver Care can help you manage your drivers:

  • Automatic Driver Scanning: Smart Driver Care can automatically scan your system and identify any outdated, missing, or corrupt drivers. This helps you quickly pinpoint the areas that need attention, making it easier to stay on top of driver updates.
  • Driver Updates: Once Smart Driver Care has identified outdated drivers, it can automatically download and install the latest versions from the manufacturer’s website. This ensures that your drivers are always up-to-date, without the need for manual intervention.
  • Backup and Restore: Smart Driver Care allows you to create a backup of your current driver configurations, so you can easily restore them if needed. This is particularly useful if you encounter any issues after updating your drivers, as you can revert to a known-good state.
  • Scheduled Updates: To ensure your drivers stay current, Smart Driver Care can be set to automatically check for and install updates on a regular schedule, such as weekly or monthly. This eliminates the need for you to constantly monitor your driver status.
  • Customizable Settings: Smart Driver Care provides a range of customization options, allowing you to choose which drivers to update, set priority levels, and even exclude certain drivers from the update process if needed.
  • Comprehensive Database: Smart Driver Care maintains a comprehensive database of driver updates, ensuring it can find the latest versions for a wide range of hardware components and peripherals, including those from both major and lesser-known manufacturers.

Here are the steps to use the Smart Driver Care utility:

Step 1: Begin by downloading and installing the Smart Driver Care utility on your computer. You can typically find the latest version on the manufacturer’s website. Once installed, open the Smart Driver Care application. You’ll be presented with the main dashboard, which provides an overview of your system’s driver status.

Step 2: Smart Driver Care will automatically analyze all the drivers installed on your computer and identify any that are outdated or missing.

Update all

Step 3: After the scan is complete, you’ll see a list of the drivers that require attention. This will include the current driver version, the latest available version, and the severity of the update needed.

scan result

Step 4: Click on the “Update All” button to begin the process of downloading and installing the latest driver versions. Smart Driver Care will handle this process automatically, ensuring a seamless update experience.

By using a tool like Smart Driver Care, you can take the hassle out of managing your device drivers and ensure your computer is always running at its best. This not only helps to prevent the various issues associated with outdated drivers but also saves you time and effort in the long run.

Also read: How To Find The Hardware ID Of A Driver In Windows


Outdated device drivers can be a major source of frustration and performance issues for computer users. From can outdated drivers cause lag to hardware malfunctions and security vulnerabilities, the outdated drivers symptoms can be wide-ranging and detrimental to the overall health and functionality of your system.

By understanding the importance of device drivers, recognizing the common signs of outdated drivers, and employing tools like Smart Driver Care to streamline the update process, you can take proactive steps to maintain the optimal performance and stability of your computer. 

Keeping your drivers up-to-date is a crucial aspect of computer maintenance, and it can make a significant difference in your overall computing experience. Follow us on social media – FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

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