How to Update Audio Drivers in Windows 7 and 8

Windows uses software called a driver to communicate with the hardware or devices that your system uses. Simply put, the driver translates the message so that the operating system will understand how to handle what it’s receiving.
Your audio will also require a driver and you might find that you need to update it. Perhaps the manufacturer has released a new version, you’ve progressed to a later version of Windows or you’re having general audio issues. This guide will offer different methods on how to update your audio drivers in Windows 7 and 8.
Please be sure to head into the comments section afterwards to share your experiences of troubles with audio drivers and how you went about updating them.

Use Windows Update

One method of updating your audio drivers is to use Windows Update. Though you might think only updates from Microsoft come through this, they actually work with a huge host of third-party companies in order to distribute drivers through it too. It’s Microsoft’s aim that their customers shouldn’t have to hunt around for the drivers they need, with Windows Update being the catch-all solution to that problem.
As such, if Microsoft have managed that, then you should be able to get your audio drivers through Windows Update, though bear in mind that won’t always be the case. To check whether they’re available, do a system search for windows update, and select Check for updates. This will check for important and optional updates that are available and then allow you to select which you want to install.
If you want this to be automatic, select Change settings and you will be able to specify that you want Windows to check for and install updates automatically. You can narrow this down to how often it installs them and at what time. This should be enabled by default, so unless you’ve changed it in the past then it’ll already be updating automatically.

Use the Manufacturer’s Software

Depending on how you purchased your system, you might have a disc that contains software from the manufacturer or it might be installed into the motherboard. Some Dell systems, for example, will come with a disc that has every single driver you need for your system on it. If it’s from the sound card manufacturer, you can pop the disc in your drive, run the necessary software, and then it should install the drivers from there.
Although this is an acceptable solution, it’s not really the best one. You might find you have to install an audio application that you don’t need, but worst of all you could end up installing an out-of-date driver, depending on when it was last updated. Manufacturer software may connect to the Internet and automatically check for updates, but installing a driver straight from the disc won’t.

Download the Driver Manually

Another option available is to update the driver manually. Don’t worry, although this requires a few extra steps than those before, this is a really easy process. It involves going to the manufacturer’s website, inputting the model name or number of your sound card and then downloading the relevant driver.
If you need to find out those details, do a system search for device manager and select Sound, video and game controllers to expand that selection. Here you will be able to find the manufacturer’s name and the details of what you need to update. Key that into a search engine, head to the manufacturer’s site (or an alternative provider like and download the latest driver for your card.
update sound driver
Most of the drivers will be executables that self-install when loaded, but if they’re not then head back to the Device Manager, right-click the relevant sound card and select Update Driver Software…. From there, select Browse my computer for driver software, then specify the folder where you downloaded the driver to, and follow the wizard’s instructions to the end.

Successfully Updated Audio

Hopefully one of these methods has helped you update your audio driver and resolve any issues you might have been having. Remember, it’s always good practice to keep your drivers updated – not just for your audio.
Audio drivers don’t have to be updated often and usually only things like a change in operating system require it. But if you do encounter audio issues, like having no sound, it’s always worth making sure you’ve got the most recent driver as the first port of call.