What if a wired device isn't installed properly?

When you connect a device to your PC, such as a printer, mouse, or keyboard, Windows automatically tries to install the correct driver for your device. A driver is software that a device uses to work with your PC. Every device needs a driver to work with your PC. If Windows can't find a driver for the device, here are several suggestions you can try. If you're trying to add a wireless device or a device on a network, but Windows isn't finding it, see Why isn't Windows finding my Bluetooth or other wireless device?

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Make sure your PC is connected to the Internet

Windows tries to search online for a device driver, so make sure you have an Internet connection before you try to install your device.

If you're having trouble connecting to the Internet, see Why can't I connect to the Internet?

Check your metered Internet connections setting

If you're on a metered Internet connection, Windows won't download device drivers unless you change the metered Internet connections setting.

To download drivers while on a metered Internet connection

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, and tap or click Devices.

  3. Turn on Download over metered connections.

Make sure automatic updating is turned on

Windows checks for the latest drivers by using automatic updating in Windows Update.

To check automatic updating

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Update and recovery, and tap or click Windows Update.

  3. Tap or click Choose how updates get installed.

  4. Under Important updates, choose Install updates automatically (recommended).

Note

  • Windows Update is always on in Windows RT 8.1.

Check for drivers using Windows Update

Even if you already receive automatic updates, you can manually check for and install updated drivers in optional updates. Windows Update doesn't install optional updates automatically, but will notify you when they are available so you can choose if you want to install them.

To check Windows Update for drivers

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Update and recovery and then tap or click Windows Update.

  3. Tap or click View details, and tap or click Check for updates. (If you don't see View details, there aren't any optional updates available.)

  4. Under Optional, tap or click the update that you want to install, then click Install.

    Read and accept the license terms, and then tap or click Finish if the update requires it. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

    Note

    • You might need to restart your PC to finish installing some updates. Save and close all your files and apps before you restart so you don't lose anything.

Install software for the device

If Windows Update can't find a driver for your device, check the device manufacturer's website, or insert the disc that came with the device, and then follow the instructions for installing the software.

Note

  • Many drivers come with software that installs the driver for you (often called a self-installing package).

Run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter

You can try using the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter to fix the problem. It checks for common problems and makes sure that any new device or hardware connected to your PC is installed correctly.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)

  2. Enter Troubleshooting in the search box, tap or click Troubleshooting, and then tap or click Hardware and Sound.

  3. Tap or click Hardware and Devices, and follow the instructions on the screen. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

    Note

    • To get the most up-to-date troubleshooters, your PC should be connected to the Internet.

Check for answers in the Microsoft community

If the suggestions here don't solve your problem, check out the Hardware and Drivers community page in the Windows forum for solutions that other people have found for specific devices.