Knowledge Base

Drivers and Downloads FAQs

Table of Contents:

  1. What is a Driver?
  2. When to Update a Driver?
  3. How do I determine the Components in my Computer?
  4. How to Download and Install a Driver?
  5. Categories of Drivers and Downloads
    1. Applications
    2. Audio
    3. BIOS
    4. Chipset
    5. Communication
    6. Diagnostics
    7. Input Device Drivers
    8. Network
    9. Removable Storage
    10. Serial ATA
    11. System Utilities
    12. Video
  6. In what order do I install the Drivers?
  7. Device Manager
    1. How to view Device Manager
    2. Error Symbols in Device Manager
    3. Common Troubleshooting steps
  8. Video (English Only) - Steps to Update Bios on Your Computer

  9. Video (English Only) - Steps to Run Dell PC Diagnostics

This article provides information on Instructions to use the Drivers and Downloads Website.

What is a Driver?

A driver is a piece of software that allows Microsoft® Windows® (or another operating system) to communicate with the hardware devices in your system. Devices such as video cards, sound cards,and modems all require drivers to function correctly within Windows. Sometimes, Windows includes drivers for devices, but generally drivers need to be downloaded and installed separately.

When to Update the Driver?

Dell Support now has the ability to scan some Dell computers for Driver Updates.

On the Drivers and Download page, if you see Scan Your System for Updates click on it to scan your system. The device drivers and firmware on a computer should be updated for numerous reasons some of which include:

Increased system performance
Patch security risks
Expanded compatibility
Additional features
To fix problems
As directed by a Dell article

However, if your computer is working fine and the driver is not listed as an Urgent or Recommended download, there may be no reason to update your drivers. Installing drivers unnecessarily can, in some rare cases, create new problems. Review the Criticality information listed on the driver download page for more information.
More Information about How to update your Dell computers Drivers? Click Here

How do I Determine the Components in my Computer?

You have two options on how to determine the components in the computer.

Option 1: Browse to the Dell Support website, use the Service Tag to get a concise list of Drivers and Downloads specific for your system.
Option 2: If you just want the Component list and not the downloads, follow the instructions below:

  1. Browse to the System Configuration Page.
  2. Select the Original System Configurations tab.
  3. Enter your Service Tag, then click Continue. The list of components on your computer is displayed.
This list can be referenced to help you find out what components you will need drivers for.

How to Download and Install a Driver?

  1. Browse to the Dell Support website.
  2. Enter the Service Tag or Express Service Code. The Dell Product page will launch.
    If the Service Tag is not available, click Detect my Product. More information to locate service tag or express service code.
  3. On the Dell Product page, scroll down and select Drivers and downloads.
  4. Under 'Get updates for your specific system', the Service Tag button can be used to retrieve a list of the drivers for your system’s factory-installed hardware, as well as any recommended updates for those drivers. System Analysis option scans your system’s drivers and presents a concise list of recommended drivers and drivers that require updates.
    Sometimes the service tag choice might not present the entire list hence in that case select System Analysis to have a concise list.
  5. Using the drop-down menu under Operating System, ensure that the correct version of Windows installed on your computer is selected.
  6. Select the driver you want to download from the list on the download page. See the Categories of Drivers and Downloads section for more information.
  7. Click Download. You may receive a warning and an option to run or save the file.
  8. Once the download is complete, run the .exe file. You might be prompted to restart the computer(If required).
  9. If you want to download multiple drivers, you can click Add To Download List.
  10. Once you have selected all the drivers you wish to download, click I'm Done.
  11. Scroll down to My Download Lists. You may click View List to confirm your selection. Click Download this list .This list can be saved or appended.
    If this is the first time you are using Add to my Download List feature for multiple driver downloads, Dell System Detect would be installed. Once the software download is complete you would be prompted with the End User License Agreement (EULA).
  12. You may also select the file and click Download selected file(s).
  13. To get the categorized view, scroll down and below More Filters, you have the option to view by Category, Importance and Release Date.

Categories of Drivers and Downloads


Applications are software downloads that Dell is providing for use with your system, including but not limited to:

  • Dell Quickset Utility
  • Dell Webcam Manager
  • Roxio Creator
  • Dell Support Center


Audio drivers increase or enable functionality for sound, by enabling the speaker ports to transmit sound.
Audio drivers can typically fix no sound issues and sound quality issues.


The acronym BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System. When the computer is first started, the BIOS activates all of the hardware required by the computer to boot including:

  • Chipset
  • Processor
  • System Memory
  • Hard Drive
After the BIOS completes this process, it transfers control of the computer to the operating system.


Chipset is a collection of multiple integrated circuits designed to perform one or more related function on the motherboard.
It is often specially designed to work with a particular component, such as a central processing unit (CPU).


Communication drivers are for internal 56k modems and utilities used for dial-up connections as well as Mobile Broadband drivers.


Diagnostics are to help diagnose malfunctioning computer hardware.To run an online diagnostic, Dell Online Diagnostics is recommended.

Input Device Drivers

Input Device Drivers are drivers for touchpad, webcams, mice and keyboard.


In order to recognize the Network Card and use it, the Operating System will need the Device Driver. The Network Driver is essentially installed for the Operating System to be able to communicate with the networking device.

This section of Drivers and Downloads includes drivers for both Ethernet, Wi-Fi Network adapters & Bluetooth adapters. Before installing the drivers, determine which Wi-Fi or Bluetooth adapter was configured with your computer. Refer to How do I determine the Components in my Computer?

Removable Storage

CD/DVD Firmware increases or expands reading and burning functionality with media. It can typically fix burning or reading issues with the drive.

This section of Drivers and Downloads includes only the firmware for the CD/DVD Drives. The drivers for this are already included as part of the Operating System.

Serial ATA

Hard drive utilities for storage management Pre-Operating System, and in the Operating System.

System Utilities

Dell System Software is a utility that provides critical updates and patches for your operating system. It is necessary for correct operation of your Dell computer.


Video Drivers can increase or enable display functionality.

In what order do I install the Drivers?

There are two drivers that need to be installed at first in order for your computer to be able to detect the other hardware effectively for a successfull installation.

  1. Dell System Software
  2. Chipset

The remaining drivers can be installed in any order.

Depending on the computer that you have, these drivers might or might not be applicable as they could already be part of the Operating System.

Dell System Software drivers can be found under the System Utilities category and the Chipset drivers can be found under the Chipset category in our Drivers and Downloads section. Please refer to Categories of Drivers and Downloads for more information.

During the driver installation process, if you get an error message that the driver or application is not applicable for your computer, ignore the message and continue with the installation of the remaining drivers.

Device Manager

Device Manager is Control Panel applet in Microsoft Windows operating systems. It allows users to view and control the status of hardware attached to the computer.

In Device Manager, for each device you can:

  1. Install Device Drivers.
  2. Enable or Disable the device.
  3. View technical properties of the device.

How to view Device Manager?

To view the Device Manager, follow these steps:

Windows 10

  • Press Windows + R key on the keyboard.
  • In the Run dialog box, type devmgmt.msc and press Enter key.

Windows 8 or Windows 8.1

  • Press Windows Key + S key on the keyboard. You should see a Search box on the top right corner.
  • Type Device Manager in the search box.
  • Click on the Device Manager icon in the list of search results.


  • Press Windows + R key on the keyboard.
  • In the Run dialog box, type devmgmt.msc and press Enter key.

Windows 7

  • Click the Start button.
  • Click on Control Panel.
  • Click on System and Security from the list of options.
  • Under System, click on Device Manager.


  • Press Windows + R key on the keyboard.
  • In the Run dialog box, type devmgmt.msc and press Enter key.

Windows XP

  • Click the Start button.
  • Right-Click on My Computer icon and select Properties from the menu.
  • In the System Properties windows, click the Hardware tab.
  • Click Device Manager.

Error symbols in Device Manager

Device Manager uses the following symbols to provide information about a particular error condition with a specific system device:

Symbol Description
Device Manager Information Symbol On a device resource in Computer properties, indicates that Use Automatic Settings is not selected for the device and that it was manually selected. It does not indicate a problem or a disabled device state.
Device Manager - Problem State Indicates the device is in a problem state. A device in a problem state can be functioning. A problem code explaining the problem is displayed for the device.
Device Manager - Error The device driver is currently not working or corrupt, or Windows is unable to locate the device.
Device Manager - Unknown Device Indicates that an exact (device-specific) driver is not available, and that a compatible driver needs to be installed.

Common troubleshooting steps

Exclamation Mark or Other Devices
When a device has a yellow circle with an exclamation mark or found under "Other devices", this is an indication that the device is conflicting with another hardware device or the drivers for the device are not installed.

Follow our How to Download and Install a Driver? instructions to download and install the correct drivers for your computer.

For external or 3rd party hardware devices, refer to your hardware manufacturers instructions on how to download and install the correct drivers.

Red X
The device has been disabled, removed, or Windows is unable to locate the device.
If you want this device enabled, in Device Manager double-click the device with a red x. At the bottom of the General tab, click the Device usage drop down box where it says "Do not use this device (disabled)" and select "Use this device (enabled)".
If this is not available or is already enabled, highlight the device in Device Manager and press Delete key on the keyboard to remove the device. Reboot the computer and let Windows re-detect the device.

If the above steps did not resolve the issue, right-click the device and select Uninstall. Reboot the computer after the device is uninstalled.
After the computer has rebooted, follow our How to Download and Install a Driver? instructions to download and install the correct drivers for your computer.

Article ID: SLN128938

Last Date Modified: 08/16/2016 05:01 AM

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