Drive(r) That Computer Home

By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO

In my last article about computer troubleshooting, I mentioned downloading the latest drivers for Windows computers.  I glossed over the details of this important step in loading a new operating system on a computer.  The correct drivers will optimize and stabilize the Windows computer system.

In this example, I will focus on Dell Computer’s support website, but the same principles can be applied to any manufacturer of computers.

Dell has long been a leader in offering among the best support of their computer systems.  They have employed a Service Tag system to identify the components in the system and even offer a tiered system of drivers for Windows from the most Urgent to Optional.

As previously mentioned, I don’t have a new computer for my daily work.  I have an old Dell Optiplex 7010 that was manufactured in 2012.  Of course, I replaced the original 500GB hard drive with a smaller 240GB ADATA SU635 Solid State Drive and upgraded the memory to 12GB RAM.  It runs Linux Mint marvelously, and has survived many upgrades and experiments over time.  When I look at the top of the computer the Dell Service Tag code is plainly displayed:

It’s a little dusty down there.

Using the code, I use my Chromium Internet Browser to enter the Dell Support Website and enter the code to find my exact computer model:

I am sad to see that my computer support status has expired.  Not unusual, support for most computers is around three years, but the hardware can last for many years after.

From there, I choose the Drivers and Downloads menu and select the Windows 10, 64 bit drivers (my system is not eligible to be upgraded to Windows 11 due to Microsoft’s stringent requirements):

I see that I have two urgent drivers to download and several recommended drivers to download and install.  The release dates of these drivers are clearly noted.  I will update the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) and Intel Management driver first followed by the Graphics driver since they are newer than the support expiration date.  Then I will install the rest of the recommended drivers in order on the screen.  Optional drivers are not necessary unless some system hardware is not working properly.

Most of these will be executable files that I can double click on to start the installation.  After a driver is installed, I will probably be asked to reboot the system.  When all the updates are installed my Windows system should be working optimally.  Checking the Windows Device Manager, I look for any drivers that are not applied properly:

No driver errors in this computer.

On older systems in Linux Mint, I don’t worry about drivers as much as I do in Windows.  The correct drivers are automatically applied during installation of the OS.  Linux Mint does have a Driver Manager, but this is mostly for applying NVIDIA display drivers for those systems with expensive video cards.  Intel video chipsets hardly ever need additional drivers.

There you have it, optimizing and stabilizing Windows computers is pretty easy with the correct and up-to-date drivers.