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HP PCs - Obtaining Software and Drivers

This document identifies resources to find software and drivers for HP and Compaq computers. If you have a printer or other type of HP product, please search the HP Customer Care site using the model number for that product.

HP constantly strives to improve its products and periodically provides updates for software, drivers and firmware. To keep your HP or Compaq computer running smoothly, update software on a regular basis. Keep your computer up-to-date with the methods described below.

NOTE: If you are looking for printer drivers for Windows 7 or Windows 8, see the HP support document, How Do I Find the Best Driver for my HP Printer in Windows 7 or Windows 8?

View a video about finding drivers

Video: Five Ways to Find Software and Drivers

Finding software and drivers

Finding software and drivers can be difficult because they can be found in different places. Use the following sections to quickly find the software or drivers that you need.

Click the heading or accompanying plus (+) sign to expand the information.

Hardware drivers

Some drivers can be downloaded from HP, others are downloaded from Microsoft using Windows Update, while some can be found only at the hardware manufacturer's Web site. The best way to find all of the driver updates available for your computer is to check all three locations, in this order:

NOTE: If you are looking for network (Ethernet , LAN ), sound (audio ), or video (graphics ) drivers and cannot find them on the HP Software & Drivers Download page, you may download the chipset driver. The chipset can drive many of the onboard components such as network, sound, and video.

The chipset driver can be found on the HP Software & Drivers Download page for many computer models. If the driver is not available from HP, you can find the name and manufacturer of the chipset on the product specifications for your computer model. Search for your computer model plus the word specifications at the top of this page. For example, if you have an HP TouchSmart 300-1025 Desktop computer, search for 300-1025 specifications . Then, check the chipset manufacturer's Web site for the driver.

  1. Use HP Update or HP Support Assistant to find updates automatically .

    If HP Update or HP Support Assistant does not find the driver you want, download software and drivers from HP .

  2. If HP does not have the driver you want, download software and drivers from Microsoft using Windows Update .

  3. Most available drivers can be downloaded from HP or Microsoft. If you still have not found the driver, check the product manufacturer's Web site .

Software program updates

Software program updates can be provided by HP or by the software manufacturer. Check for software updates in this order:

  1. Use HP Update or HP Support Assistant to find updates automatically .

  2. If HP Update or HP Support Assistant does not find the update you want, download software and drivers from HP .

  3. If you still have not found an update, check the software manufacturer's Web site .

BIOS updates

For instructions on updating your computer's BIOS version, please refer to one of the following HP support documents:

Firmware updates

Firmware is most commonly used with CD/DVD drives. Network adapters, modems and video cards can also use firmware. Firmware updates can be provided by HP or by the hardware manufacturer. Check for firmware updates in this order:

  1. Use HP Update or HP Support Assistant to find updates automatically .

  2. If HP Update or HP Support Assistant does not find the update you want, download software and drivers from HP .

  3. If you still have not found an update, check the hardware manufacturer's Web site .

Restore or reinstall original software and drivers

Use the HP recovery process to install the original drivers and software that came with your computer. Recovery Manager (Windows 7 and Vista) and Application Recovery (Windows XP and earlier) enable you to choose specific hardware or drivers to reinstall. For more information about how to use these HP software applications, see one of the following support documents:

NOTE: If you have upgraded or downgraded the operating system on your computer, the HP application recovery process might not work. Also, if your computer was configured to order, you need to reinstall certain software programs using their installation discs.

Windows operating system and Microsoft software updates

You can use Windows Update to download operating system updates (such as Service Packs and security updates) and Microsoft software updates (such as the latest version of Internet Explorer). For more detailed information about using Windows Update to get updates for the operating system and Windows software, see the HP support document for your operating system: .

Reinstall the original operating system

To reinstall the original operating system, you need to perform a system recovery. A system recovery erases all data on the hard drive and restores the computer to its original factory shipped state. For more information on performing a system recovery, see the document that applies to your computer:

Desktop computers:

Notebook computers:

Software for my printer, scanner, or camera

If you have an HP printer, scanner, or camera, HP posts software and drivers on the support site for each particular product. These software and drivers are not included on the computer support pages. That is, you will not find a printer driver from the software and driver download page that belongs to your HP computer. Go to the HP Software & Driver Downloads page and enter the model name of your HP printer, scanner, or camera to find the software or driver you are looking for.

If you have a printer, scanner, camera, or other device that was not provided by HP, you must look for software from the manufacturer of the device.

Linux (or FreeDOS) drivers

Linux and FreeDOS are developed in the open source community and drivers can usually be found from postings on community sites. For more information about FreeDOS and Linux and how these operating systems apply to HP and Compaq computers, please refer to one of the following HP support documents:

Use the HP Software Update tool or HP Support Assistant to find updates automatically

Some HP computers come with HP Software Update (or HP Update) and HP Support Assistant installed.

HP Update and HP Support Assistant both scan the HP software, drivers, firmware and BIOS installed on your computer. These tools then automatically find the latest updates for your computer and give you the choice of which to install.

If you cannot find HP Update or HP Support Assistant on your computer, you can download software and drivers from HP .

Click the heading or accompanying plus (+) sign to expand the information.

Using HP Update

Follow these steps to open HP Update and check for software and driver downloads:

For Windows 8, see Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update (Windows 8) .

For other versions of Windows:

  1. Click Start , All Programs , HP , and then click HP Update .

  2. In the Welcome to HP Update window, click Next .

    HP Update now checks for the latest updates from the Internet.

  3. If new updates are available, make sure the check box next to each update is selected and click Next to begin downloading and installing the updates.

    If no updates are available, click Finish .

    For more information about HP Update, please refer to one of the following HP support documents:

Using HP Support Assistant

Follow these steps to open HP Support Assistant and check for software and driver downloads.

Windows 8 Desktop HP Desktop PCs - Using HP Support Assistant

Windows 8 Notebook HP Notebook PCs - Using HP Support Assistant

NOTE: If you have installed a different version of Windows 7 or Vista, or if you want to update to the latest version of HP Support Assistant, go to the HP Support Assistant page and download the correct version for your computer.
  1. Click Start , All Programs , HP , and then click HP Support Assistant .

  2. In HP Support Assistant, click the Maintain button.

  3. Click Refresh .

    HP Support Assistant now checks for the latest updates from the HP servers.

  4. If new updates are available, make sure the check box next to each update is selected and click Apply to begin downloading and installing the updates.

    If no updates are available, click Finish .

    For more information about using and configuring HP Support Assistant, please refer to one of the following HP support documents:

Download software and drivers

Use the following steps to download drivers, software, and updates from HP or from Microsoft using Windows Update.

Click the heading or accompanying plus (+) sign to expand the information.

Download software and drivers from HP

HP provides many free software and driver downloads. Use the steps below to download updates and drivers from HP:

  1. Go to the HP Software & Driver Downloads page.

  2. If the Software & Driver Downloads page opens and asks for your operating system, go to step 3 .

    If the HP Customer Care page opens, asking for your product number, follow these steps:

    Figure 1: Enter your product number

    Enter your product number
    1. Enter the product number, and then click Next .

    2. If necessary, select your product from the list.

    3. On the page for your computer model, click Software & Driver Downloads .

      Figure 2: Software & Driver Downloads

      Software & Driver Downloads
    4. Proceed to step 3.

  3. If you have a notebook computer and would like to install all out-of-date and missing drivers and software, click Check Now under Let HP recommend and then follow the on-screen instructions to install all updates.

    Figure 3: Let HP recommend (notebook computers)

    Let HP recommend drivers and software for notebook computers

    If you have a desktop computer , or if you have a notebook computer and want to install only selected updates, select the operating system (such as Microsoft Windows 7 (64-bit)) that is being used on your computer, and then click Next .

    Figure 4: Select your operating system

    Select your operating system

    The Web page lists the available software and driver categories.

    NOTE: If the operating system that you need is not listed, software and driver downloads are not available from HP at this time. You can check the manufacturer's Web site for software and drivers.
  4. Click the plus (+) sign next to a category or double-click the category name to open it.

    Figure 5: Select a download

    Select a download

    IMPORTANT: If you see more than one download available for a component (such as several DVD firmware updates), you need to identify which component is installed in your computer and download the appropriate file. To find the name of a component, go to Device Manager and click the plus sign (+ ) next to the category (for example, DVD/CD ROM drives ). The component’s original manufacturer name is listed within the category. Use this information to identify the download needed for your product.

    NOTE: If a specific software or driver update is not listed on the Web page, the original software that is already on the computer might be the latest version available.
  5. Click the title of the download to get more information about the download.

  6. Read the instructions on the download page, and then click Download .

    Figure 6: Download options and information

    Download options and information
  7. Depending on your browser, use one of the following methods to download and install:

    • In Internet Explorer, a Security Warning displays asking if you want to run or save the file. If you select Run , it will automatically download and start the installation. If you select Save , it will download the file to your computer and you can open the file at a later time. It is important to remember where you save the file so that you can open it later.

    • In Mozilla Firefox, click Save File . The file downloads and a Downloads window opens. When the download is complete, double-click the file in the Downloads window.

  8. Follow the instructions to install the software or driver.

Download software and drivers from Microsoft

Most HP and Compaq computers come with full versions of Microsoft Windows preinstalled. Microsoft has an extensive library of software, drivers, and updates available for free download. HP and many of its partners work with Microsoft to provide drivers through Windows Update. Use the following steps to download drivers, software, and updates by using Windows Update:

NOTE: Use Windows Update regularly to install critical updates that help protect your computer against viruses and malicious attacks.
  1. Connect to the Internet and see http://www.update.microsoft.com Non-HP site (in English).

  2. Follow the directions in the Windows Update page to set up Windows Update and install the software updates.

  3. Use the following Windows update tips:

    • Install all critical updates first to help keep your Internet connection secure.

    • If you are looking for drivers, they can be found as optional updates from the list of available updates.

    • Due to file sizes, number of updates, and download time, use Windows Update when the computer is not being used for other activities.

For more detailed information about using Windows Update to install drivers and get updates for Windows software, see the HP support document: .
NOTE: Another great way to quickly get updated drivers from Microsoft is to open Device Manager, right-click the name of the device, and select Update Driver Software .

Figure 7: Updating a driver from Device Manager

Updating a driver from Device Manager

Use HP System Recovery to restore original drivers or software

You can use HP System Recovery to reinstall the original version of a driver or software application, or you can use it to clear all information on the hard drive and reinstall the entire original system image.

Reinstall one driver or software program

Use the HP recovery process to install the original drivers and software that came with your computer. Recovery Manager (Windows 7 and Vista) and Application Recovery (Windows XP and earlier) enable you to choose specific hardware or drivers to reinstall. For more information about how to use these HP software applications, see one of the following support documents:

NOTE: If you have upgraded or downgraded the operating system on your computer, the HP application recovery process might not work. Also, if your computer was configured to order, you need to reinstall certain software programs using their installation discs.

Restore all original drivers and software

If you want to restore all software and drivers, back up the files you want to keep and use the HP system recovery process. This process restores the software configuration to the original factory configuration.

You can recover the system from the hard drive or discs. For more information on performing a system recovery, see the document that applies to your computer:

Desktop computers:

Notebook computers:

NOTE: If you are trying to find recovery discs, read Looking for Recovery Discs? (in English for North America and most of Asia Pacific).

Getting updates from the maker of the software or hardware

Many companies provide free software and driver updates for their products. HP and Compaq computers come with a wide variety of hardware components and software titles provided by HP partners. If you are having an issue with a software title or hardware device driver and you cannot find an update from HP, try looking at the product manufacturer's Web site.

CAUTION: Only install BIOS updates from HP! Do not install BIOS updates from the motherboard manufacturer's Web site! Doing so might prevent the computer from accepting an HP System Recovery.

Product manufacturer's Web sites

The following product manufacturers provide technologies used on many HP and Compaq computers. Click the appropriate links to find software or driver updates for your computer components.

NOTE: You can find the manufacturer of many software applications by opening the software program, clicking Help in the toolbar, then clicking About . You can find information about the hardware originally installed on your computer on the product specifications for your computer model. Search for your computer model plus the word specifications at the top of this page. For example, if you have an HP TouchSmart 300-1025 Desktop computer, search for 300-1025 specifications .

Also, many software applications include a feature that checks for updates. Connect to the Internet, open the software, and click Update , Check for Updates , or similar. A good example of this type of feature is Live Update in Symantec Antivirus software products.

Frequently asked questions about software and drivers

Click the heading or accompanying plus (+) sign to expand the information.

I installed a different version of Windows on my computer and cannot find drivers. What do I do?

Download drivers from the hardware manufacturer

CAUTION: Unless otherwise specified, HP does not support software that did not originally come with the computer because the product is changed to a configuration that HP did not design. See your warranty for details. Also, do not upgrade or downgrade an operating system without first finding compatible drivers for all the components on your computer. If you must change the operating system, burn a recovery disc set to restore the computer if compatibility problems occur.
  1. First, find the names of the various hardware components on your computer. The most important component is the chipset because it can drive many of the onboard components such as network, sound, and even video. You can find the name and manufacturer of many components on the product specifications for your computer model. Search for your computer model plus the word specifications at the top of this page. For example, if you have an HP TouchSmart 300-1025 Desktop computer, search for 300-1025 specifications . Then, check the manufacturer's Web site for the driver.

  2. Second, find and install the latest chipset driver package for the new operating system. The chipset contains core driver functionality for onboard components (such as sound and networking). If your computer does not have an Internet connection, download the chipset from another computer and save it to a CD or USB storage device to transfer it to your computer. For more help on where to find chipsets and other downloads, see the preceding section, Getting updates from the maker of the software or hardware .

  3. Last, after you have found and installed the chipset, download and install the latest drivers for any components that are not functioning. For example, if you do not hear any sound from your computer and it uses Realtek high-definition audio, download and install a new high-definition sound driver from either Microsoft or Realtek's Web site.

    If drivers are unavailable and the hardware component is not working, you might need to replace the component. For example, if you changed your operating system from Windows Vista to Linux and a Linux sound driver is not available, install a sound card and driver that is compatible with Linux.

I am looking for a network (LAN or ethernet) driver, sound (audio) driver, or video (graphics) driver but cannot find it on the HP Software & Drivers Download page. Where is the driver?

You need to download and install the chipset driver

If you are looking for network (Ethernet , LAN ), sound (audio ), or video (graphics ) drivers and cannot find them on the HP Software & Driver Downloads page, you need to download the chipset driver. The chipset can drive many of the onboard components such as network, sound, and video.

The chipset driver can be found on the HP Software & Driver Downloads page for many computer models. If the driver is not available from HP, you can find the name and manufacturer of the chipset on the product specifications for your computer model. Search for your computer model plus the word specifications at the top of this page. For example, if you have an HP TouchSmart 300-1025 Desktop computer, search for 300-1025 specifications . Then, check the chipset manufacturer's Web site for the driver.

Where can I find software or drivers for my printer, scanner, or camera?

From the manufacturer's support site

If you have an HP printer, scanner, or camera, HP posts software and drivers on the support site for each particular product. These software and drivers are not included on the computer support pages. That is, you will not find a printer driver from the software and driver download page that belongs to your HP computer. Go to the HP Software & Driver Downloads page and enter the model name of your HP printer, scanner, or camera to find the software or driver you are looking for.

If you have a printer, scanner, camera, or other device that was not provided by HP, you must look for software from the manufacturer of the device.

Why can't I find a driver that fixes my computer problem?

You might need to troubleshoot the problem using a different method

If your computer is experiencing a problem, a driver update might be available to fix the problem. However, many problems cannot be solved by installing software or driver updates. Instead, try searching HP's Web site for the computer problem or error message.

The following list shows common types of drivers and associated problems that might be resolved by updating the driver:

  • Audio: Loss of sound, audio device not found errors, and quality problems such as popping noises.

  • BIOS: Problems with sleep, suspend, hibernate, startup, shutdown, or meeting the minimum requirements for an operating system upgrade. BIOS updates should not be performed unless you know that the update addresses the problem.

  • CD/DVD Drive Firmware: The recognition of new brands of discs, burn speed, and burn quality.

  • Keyboard: Extra buttons and special keys stop working.

  • TV Tuner: TV playback performance, poor sound quality when watching TV, and video capturing quality.

  • Video: Unsupported display resolutions, movie playback performance, and problems that occur in 3D games.

If an updated driver does not fix your computer problem, then try searching HP's Web site or the Internet for a troubleshooting solution (not a driver).

How do I download a driver to install on another computer?

Save the driver to external media, such as a USB flash drive or CD/DVD

Follow the instructions in the Download software and drivers from HP section. After clicking Download , save the driver to external media, such as a flash drive, memory card, CD/DVD, or external hard drive. Then move the external media to the other computer and install the driver.

Why can't I find drivers for my CD/DVD drive?

CD/DVD drives use drivers built into the operating system. They do not require updates.

Drivers for CD/DVD drives are part of the operating system and not provided by HP. However, CD/DVD drives use firmware to control their operations and HP provides firmware updates for these drives.

To find firmware for a CD/DVD drive, follow the instructions in the Download software and drivers from HP section. On the Software & Driver Downloads page, expand the Firmware section.

Figure 8: Example of Firmware update options

Example of Firmware update options

Where can I find a driver that upgrades the USB standard? (from USB 1/1.1 to 2, 1 to 3, or 2 to 3)

You cannot upgrade a USB port using a driver upgrade

The port hardware must be capable of supporting the 2.0 or 3.0 standard before the speed of 2.0 or 3.0 can be achieved. However, if the computer displays messages about connecting a USB 2.0 or 3.0 device into a higher speed USB port and you know a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port is on the computer, the USB controller drivers might need to be upgraded. To get any available updates for Windows 98SE or Windows ME, use Windows Update . To get any available updates for Windows 7, Vista or XP, use the following steps:

  1. Connect to the Internet if the computer is not already connected.

  2. Open Device Manager.

    • In Windows 8, place the mouse cursor in the lower left corner of the screen and right-click. Click Device Manager from the menu.

      Figure 9: Menu

      Device Manager selected
    • In Windows 7 and Vista, click Start , and enter device manager into the Start Search field.

      Click Device Manager from the search results.

    • In Windows XP, click Start , Run , and enter devmgmt.msc into the open field. Click OK .

  3. In Device Manager, click the plus sign (+ ) next to Other devices . If Other devices is not listed, Windows was able to identify and set up all plug and play hardware on the computer.

  4. If there are any references to USB, such as USB Host Controller, right-click the name and select Update Driver Software .

    Follow the on-screen instructions to download and install any available updates.

    The name in Other devices should be removed and added to the proper category (Universal Serial BUS Controllers).

  5. Test the USB device again. If the message still appears, continue using these steps. If the message no longer opens, you are done.

  6. If there are no more references to USB in the Other devices category, click the plus sign (+ ) next to Universal Serial Bus Controllers .

  7. Right-click the name of one of the Universal Host controllers and select Update Driver software .

  8. If any downloads were installed, test the USB device to see if the message continues to appear.

Where can I find Linux (or FreeDOS) drivers?

From the open source community

Linux and FreeDOS are developed in the open source community and drivers can usually be found from postings on community sites. For more information about FreeDOS and Linux and how these operating systems apply to HP and Compaq computers, please refer to one of the following HP support documents:

I tried everything and I am still having trouble finding a driver for network, video, bus controller, a dll file, USB, or other computer component. What do I do?

Some drivers must be updated using Device Manager

If you are looking for a driver because an error message is opening, try searching HP or the Internet using the exact error message text. HP and its partners provide many support documents that provide known fixes for error messages.

If you are looking for a device driver because you have updated Windows, you might not need a driver. Windows can find and install drivers through the plug and play process or through the Windows Update process. If Windows cannot fully recognize the name of the device, Windows shows the device as an "Other device" in Device Manager. If this is the case, do the following.

NOTE: Hardware devices (video, sound, network cards, and similar) that were not designed for plug and play might not work in a computer that is upgraded to a newer version of Windows. If this is the case, you should probably replace the hardware device with one that is compatible with your upgraded operating system.
  1. Connect to the Internet if the computer is not already connected.

  2. Open Device Manager.

    • In Windows 8, place the mouse cursor in the lower left corner of the screen and right-click. Click Device Manager from the menu.

      Figure 10: Menu

      Device Manager selected
    • In Windows 7 and Vista, click Start , and enter device manager into the Start Search field.

      Click Device Manager from the search results.

    • In Windows XP, click Start , Run , and enter devmgmt.msc into the open field. Click OK .

  3. Click the plus sign (+ ) next to Other devices . If Other devices is not listed, Windows was able to identify and set up all plug and play hardware on the computer.

  4. Right-click a name of one of the unknown devices and select Update Driver Software .

  5. Follow the directions on the pages that open to install any available driver updates through Windows.

    The name should be removed from Other devices and added to the proper category. For example, a previously unknown network card appears in the network adapters category.

  6. If any downloads were installed, test the device to see if it is now functioning properly.

What is the difference between software, driver, and firmware?

Software is instruction used by your computer, a driver is software for hardware connected to your PC, and firmware is instruction used on hardware devices

Software instructs your computer how to do something, such as playing a game or movie, word processing, and home finance.

A driver is a specific type of software used by the operating system (Windows) that allows a hardware device, such as a printer, sound card, or keyboard, to work.

Firmware is instructions stored on chips attached to hardware devices. Examples of devices that use firmware are CD/DVD drives and hard drives.

What is the difference between a software update and a software upgrade ?

An update modifies software and an upgrade replaces a version of software.

It is important to know the difference between a "software update" and a "software upgrade."

  • A software update modifies the version of software that is on your computer - usually fixing bugs, or adding minor enhancements or features. Software that is currently version 3.1.1, for example, updates to 3.1.2. Updates are usually free. The HP software and driver download pages provide only updates, not upgrades.

  • A software upgrade provides a newer full version of the same software title (for example, software that is currently version 3.0 upgrades to version 4.0) and generally can be purchased from the software provider.

NOTE: One or more of the links above will take you outside the Hewlett-Packard Web site. HP does not control and is not responsible for information outside the HP Web site.

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