How to find and update Windows drivers to fix security flaws

Make your Windows PC run more securely and safely

Fix security flaws and bugs in Windows by finding and installing driver updates.

Bugs and security flaws are occasionally found in drivers on your PC, so what can you do about them? This example shows how to replace the flawed HP Synaptics touchpad driver on HP laptops.

A problem with the driver for the Synaptics touchpad used in a large number of HP laptops has been discovered. Apparently there is a setting in the driver that allows everything you type to be recorded, which is an obvious security flaw.

It could be quite serious if it was capturing usernames and passwords you use to log in to online services. According to HP, this bug has not allowed either HP or Synaptics to actually access any data and administrator privileges would be required on the computer, but once security flaws become public knowledge, someone could try to exploit them.

This bug has been known for a while, so if you have not yet updated the Synaptics touchpad driver on your PC, you could be at risk. It is a small risk, but nevertheless, it should be fixed.

So how do you fix a buggy or flawed driver?

Use Device Manager

Device Manager is a utility that lists all the hardware components in the computer and you can update the drivers for them. This is the first place to look for new drivers.

Right click the Start button and select Device Manager or open it in the Control Panel. In this example the Synaptics touchpad driver will be updated, but the same method is used for all drivers.

Expand a section in Device Manager, such as Mice and pointing devices.

Right click a component, such as Synaptics SMBus ClickPad, and select Update driver on the menu.

Use Device Manager in Windows to update drivers for the PC

In the next window that appears, click Search automatically for updated driver software. If a driver is found, it will be installed.

An alternative method is to right click the component and select Uninstall device. This removes the current driver and when Windows is restarted, the component is detected as a new device and a new driver is installed.

Device Manager does not always find the latest driver, but it does find the most stable and reliable.

Use Windows Update

Windows Update is a source of drivers and if Device Manager did not find an update, open the Settings app in Windows 10 and click Update & Security. In Windows 7 open the Control Panel and then Windows Update.

Windows Update in the Settings app in Windows 10

Click Check for updates. This will find Windows updates of course, but it may also find drivers too. As with Device Manager, they are generally the safest and most reliable ones rather than the most recent.

Check the manufacturer’s website

Computer manufacturers often provide driver updates and it is worth checking to see if there are any for your computer. You may need to search for the model of computer to find the drivers because they are different for each one.

In the case of HP and the flawed Synaptics touchpad driver, there is a support page and this provides an updated driver for a very long list of computers. Go to this HP Support page and find your HP laptop model. There is a link to download the updated driver.

HP Touchpad driver for Windows PCs
The list is very long indeed. This is just the top bit.

If you are not sure what model of computer you have, press Windows+I in Windows 10 to open the Settings app and click System. Select About at the bottom of the items on the left.

Use a driver update utility

There are several utilities that are able to scan the computer, identify all the drivers, then report whether there are updates available. Click a single button and all the old drivers on the PC are replaced with new ones.

I use this as a last report rather than the first place to go because it is not always a good idea to update all the drivers on the computer in one go.

New drivers are sometimes incompatible with old hardware, so in some cases you are better off sticking with the drivers you already have, even though they are old.

If you use a driver updater, ignore the option to update every driver and disable any automatic update options. Scan the computer for drivers and in the list of updates that are found, update just the one driver that is causing problems. For example, update Synaptics ClickPad driver.

IObit Driver Booster Free finds and updates the drivers in Windows PCs

A couple of useful free driver updaters are IObit Driver Booster Free and Wise Driver Care. Pay attention during installation of these two and opt out of any extras.

 


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