How to update audio driver on Windows 11

If your computer is having audio problems, updating the driver may fix the problem, and here's how on Windows 11.

Windows 11 audio driver update
Windows 11 audio driver update / Image: Mauro Huculak
  • To update the audio driver on Windows 11, open Settings > Windows Update > Advanced options > Optional updates, choose the Realtek or your brand sound card driver, and click “Download & install.”
  • Alternatively, open Device Manager, right-click the sound device, choose the “Update driver” option, select “Browse my computer from drivers,” and choose the location with the audio driver.

On Windows 11, if you are experiencing audio problems after a system update, after installing an app, or something just happened out of the blue, the computer could have an outdated version of the audio driver.

If this is the case, whether the computer includes a Realtek sound card or you have a device from Asus, Dell, HP, or any other brand, updating the sound card driver to the latest version can fix and even improve the sound quality. Luckily, on Windows 11, you can use the “Windows Update” settings and “Device Manager” to install the driver for the sound adapter.

In this guide, I will teach you two ways to install the latest driver for your computer’s audio adapter on Windows 11.

Update audio driver on Windows 11

To update the audio driver on Windows 11 from the Settings app, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on Windows Update.

  3. Click the Advanced options page.

  4. Click the Optional updates setting under the “Additional options” section.

    Windows 11 download audio driver

  5. Select the sound card driver to update.

  6. Click the “Download and install” button.

Once you complete the steps, the audio driver update will be installed on your computer.

If the page doesn’t include an option to download updates, the service doesn’t have any newer version of the driver at the moment. If that’s the case, you may need to install the driver manually with the steps below.

You can check if the driver was updated properly by checking the version on Settings > System > Sound > Properties (of the speaker).

Update audio driver from Device Manager

Before using these instructions, download the driver package from your manufacturer support website, such as Realtek. You can also download these drivers from Intel. If you have a Dell computer, use this download page

Usually, manufacturers provide a self-installer package to install a device driver, meaning double-clicking the file will launch and update the driver. If the support website only offers a zip file, extract its content and continue with the steps below.

To update the audio driver through Device Manager on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Expand the “Sound, video and game controllers” branch.

  4. Right-click the audio adapter and select the “Update driver” option.

    Device Manager update driver

  5. Click the “Browse my computer for drivers” option.

    Browse my computer for drivers

  6. Click the Browse button.

    Device Manager driver location

  7. Select the location of the audio driver.

  8. Click the OK button.

  9. Check the Include subfolders option.

  10. Click the Next button.

  11. Continue with the on-screen directions (if applicable).

After you complete the steps, the device audio driver update will install on Windows 11.

If you want to check the version of the driver, from Device Manager, right-click the sound device, choose the “Properties” option, and then from the “Driver” tab, confirm the driver version.

Update February 23, 2024: This guide has been updated to ensure accuracy and reflect changes to the process.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].