Where to Download Dell System Drivers?
There are 2 sources of official Dell Drivers:
The recommended by Dell source is Dell Drivers and Downloads but I prefer the Dell FTP Website as the later consists of direct download links and is hence usually more reliable.
Note on the FTP Website all drivers for all OS are listed and you must select the ones which apply to you (WB64a = Windows 8.1 64 Bit, W1064a = Windows 10 64 Bit).
Note in all of Dells official services the drivers are listed alphabetically by category with applications before drivers.
This is not the install order and the system likely won’t function optimally if the drivers are installed in the order listed by Dell…
We have asked Dell via IdeaStorm to list the drivers in the correct install order.
When downloading all the system drivers I recommend saving each driver in an appropriately labelled folder and adding a numeric prefix to the folder. This will ensure that you install the drivers in the recommended order.
Dell Official Support
- Dell Computer Support for the Windows 10 Upgrade SLN297954
- Dell Computer Support for Windows 8 Upgrade and Windows 8.1 Update Article ID: 575111
- Microsoft Windows 7 Compatible Dell Systems and System Requirements Article ID: 273634
If Dell don’t support Windows 10 but support Windows 7/Windows 8.1 in most cases the drivers required will be inbuilt or obtained via Windows 10 Update. Otherwise use the Windows 7 driver versions where instructed.
For even older systems that are capable I had listed an assortment of Unofficial Drivers for Windows 7 which covered most systems shipped with Windows Vista or Late Windows XP systems. Most of the drivers in these unofficial driver sets will be inbuilt into Windows 10 or automatically obtained via Windows 10 Update.
Installation Order of Dell System Drivers
If upgrading your OS from an older version of Windows to a newer one it is recommended to have the latest Dell BIOS firmware which may have enhancements which make the system run more reliable under the new version of Windows. Care should be taken when updating the BIOS as a failed BIOS update means a dead motherboard see Updating the BIOS for details.
You should only update your BIOS from your old Windows install if its stable and not infested with Spyware/Malware!
You may also have firmware updates for separate components such as hard drives or solid state drives. Firmware updates may also have enhancements which make the system run more reliable under the new version of Window. Care should be taken when updating the firmware as a failed firmware update can lead to a non-functional drive see Updating the Firmware of a Solid State Drive or Hard Drive for Details.
There are also firmware update for optical drives (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray) and the instructions for updating the firmware of these components are similar to the Hard Drive and Solid State Drives. Care should be taken when updating the firmware as a failed firmware update can lead to a non-functional optical drive.
Storage Conroller “F6FLPY” SATA Preinstallation Drivers
These are drivers (labelled F6FLPY Drivers for historical reasons) which need to be loaded before the Windows Installation completes in order to access the storage controller to install Windows on the HDD/SSD.
As Windows 10 Installation Media is likely going to be kept up to date this step is not necessary for the bulk of Windows 10 Installations so ignore this step.
- Windows 10 TH1 – August 2015
- Windows 10 TH2 – November 2015
If you have tried installing Windows and cannot see any hard drive(s) listed then follow the steps in Downloading and Preparing SATA Drivers on a USB Flash Drive and Loading them During Windows Installation.
Dell System (Notebook/Desktop) Software – Under System Utilities
Dell System Software is not needed for Windows 10 in the bulk of cases however I recommend installing it if you are using a system shipped with Windows 7 that has a Docking Station use the latest Windows 7 version here that will work with Windows 10.
Chipset Drivers – Under Chipset
Your system will have either an Intel (most Dell systems) or AMD chipset… Right click the Start Button and select System. Under processor you will be told whether or not you have an Intel or AMD chipset.
Install the Intel Chipset Installation Utility/Intel Chipset Device Software (or AMD equivalent) before any of the other drivers only if Dell list a Windows 10 version for your model. Otherwise it will be inbuilt to Windows 10 or automatically obtained via Windows Update.
Next the Intel Management Engine Interface Driver (also known as Intel AMT/HECI) If using an Intel system right click the start button and select Device Manager. Under system Devices look for an entry called Intel Management Engine Interface. Look at the driver version:
- If it is driver version 22.214.171.1243 note that it has a serious flaw which results in a black screen that can’t be exited without forcing a shutdown after the system goes into standby. Install version 126.96.36.1993 unless Dell list a newer version. You can check the driver version by looking in the Device Manager after installation. This driver gives me version 188.8.131.522 on my XPS 8300 and Latitude 7350 and version 184.108.40.2063 on my Inspiron 7347.
- If the driver version is much older than version 11 then install the Windows 7 Driver.
Next install Intel Thermal Framework and Intel Virtual Buttons if listed for your system. You may install the Windows 7/8.1 version of these drivers if Windows 10 drivers aren’t listed.
The USB 3.0 drivers should be inbuilt into Windows 10 and can be ignored.
There may also be a card reader driver e.g. Realtek, Ricoh, O2 Micro. The card reader may also be found separately under a Removable Storage category.
Free Fall Sensor – Under System Utilities
This is mainly just present for newer laptops. The free fall sensor is designed to help prevent data loss from the hard drives which may be caused by dropping of the unit or autorotation of touchscreens.
Sometimes Dell will also list the Free Fall sensor under the Chipset category.
Intel Matrix Storage Manager/Intel Rapid Storage Technology Applications – Under SATA Drives and/or CPU
Install these applications only if Dell list them as Windows 10 compatible. Windows 10 will handle the storage controllers better natively than via the use of drivers designed for Windows 7 or 8.1.
Video Driver – Under Video
There are in general variants of video cards present in Dell systems. If you are unsure identify it using the hardware IDs see Checking Hardware IDs in the Device Manager in Windows 10 by doing this you should determine if a driver is installed for the video controllers. Microsoft are working with the big 3 vendors Intel/AMD/nVidia and most the drivers for the video cards will be applied automatically via Windows Update.
If the Display Adapter isn’t labelled “Microsoft Basic Display Adapter” then Windows 10 has likely obtained the driver automatically via Windows Update so I would advise not attempting to install drivers unless Dell have listed Windows 10 compatible drivers.
If you have a 2012 or newer system and Dell provide Windows 10 drivers your laptop may have switchable graphics and require the Intel driver to be installed first then the corresponding nVIDIA/ATI video driver for full performance. There may be a few variants of graphics cards for a laptop and you must select the correct ones.
If you have a Windows Vista/Late Windows XP system upgraded to Windows 10 and the display adapter is labelled “Microsoft Basic Display Adapter” you may need to install the Windows Vista driver via the device manager in the few cases where Windows Update doesn’t get the driver.
Touchpad – Under Input
This is for laptops only. There are 4 main brands of Touchpads used in Dell systems Synaptics, Alps, Cyprus and Elan. If Dell list a Windows 10 driver install it. Otherwise see my notes in Dell Touchpad Drivers where I have attempted to list Dells compliment of drivers, and compatible systems at the bottom tested by end users. Forcing installation of a newer driver via the Device Manager often works better than inbuilt Windows 10 support or installation of a Windows 7/8.1 driver.
Audio – Under Audio
Windows 10 supports many legacy devices natively or obtains the driver automatically via Windows Update. I recommend only installing the Dell driver if Dell list it as Windows 8.1/10 compatible or installing the Windows 7/8.1 driver only if you experience audio problems.
Ensure you install any audio drivers before audio applications and only install audio applications if Dell list them as Windows 10 compatible.
Network Ethernet Driver – Under Network
This usually mentions Ethernet/LAN/Broadcom/Realtek in the description. Sometimes Intel, Atheros but the latter two can also be the wireless card. Many newer laptops are being sold without an Ethernet port to save space and rely on the wireless cards only.
Microsoft are working with these main vendors to ensure that these drivers are inbuilt to Windows 10. In most cases you won’t need to install any drivers unless Dell list a Windows 10 compatible driver.
Wireless/Bluetooth Card – Under Network
Microsoft are working with these main vendors to ensure that these drivers are inbuilt to Windows 10. In most cases you won’t need to install any drivers unless Dell list a Windows 10 compatible driver. For >2012 systems the Wireless/Bluetooth are usually the same card. For <2012 systems they were 2 separate cards and Bluetooth was optional. For <2010 Desktops in most cases there was no wireless card.
There are generally several variants of Wireless Cards and should you will need to pick the correct one. If you are unsure identify it using the hardware IDs see Checking Hardware IDs in the Device Manager in Windows 10. See Dell Wireless Cards as I have listed most of the hardware IDs and latest drivers for the Dell Wireless Cards.
With Windows 10 there are many issues with Wireless Cards:
- Broadcom Wireless Cards continuously disconnect saying the connection is limited – this is likely a driver issue and I hope Broadcom/Microsoft release a newer driver via Windows Update. In my personal systems I have replaced all Broadcom Wireless cards with Intel Wireless cards.
- Very old Intel Wireless Cards continuously disconnect and this can be fixed by disabling the power management setting of the card in the device manager.
Keyboard/Mouse Drivers – Under Input
There may be additional input drivers if you purchased a non-standard keyboard for a desktop e.g. a wireless or Bluetooth keyboard. If using a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse install the keyboard/mouse drivers after the Bluetooth driver. If your keyboard/mouse is Logitech branded you should install the latest version of Logitech Setpoint.
TV Tuners/Other Video (If applicable) – Under Video
Many systems don’t have these and are only added via customisation. With the loss of Media Centre in Windows 10 these will be pretty useless.
Dell Quickset or Dell ControlPoint or On Screen Display – Under Applications
Dell Quickset is for the power settings and Fn keys. In some systems this is called Controlpoint (some Vostros/Latitudes/Precisions) or On Screen Display (some Alienwares/Inspirons). Install the Windows 10 application if Dell list one otherwise install the Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 application i.e. install the latest application available. If your system shipped with Windows Vista see Unofficial Driver Sets.
For some newer Latitude (E Series)/Mobile Precision Workstations Dell Quickset was replaced by Dell ControlPoint but its not always listed under Driver and Downloads or these models. If you cannot locate Dell ControlPoint System manager which should control the volume meters on these models then use the following ones here:
- R312259 A21. Version 1.7.10000 Update Package Windows 7 64 bit
- R312260 A21, Version 1.7.10000 Update Package Windows 7 32 bit
Webcam Driver – Under Input
Webcam drivers will be natively included in Windows 10. Application wise Windows 10 has a Camera App and as a consequence Dell Webcam Central does not support Windows 10.
Like Dell Webcam central the Camera App is limited. If you want a nice screen recording and webcam recording Application I advise using the free version (ensure you click get it free) of Debut Video Capture. The free installer is called debutsetup.exe and the pro installer is called debutpsetup.exe.
Mobile Broadband Drivers – under Communications
Most users don’t have these but the drivers are there for the users that do.
These are the main drivers and I have tried to give a basic guide to cover all systems. There will of course be some other variants from model to model and customisations within the same model such as mobile broadband cards, TV tuners and other drivers depending on your systems configuration.
There may also be security drivers for the business Latitude and Optiplex series.
The check for any missing drivers is via the hardware IDs see Checking Hardware IDs in the Device Manager in Windows 10. You can post your model number and version of Windows e.g. Windows 10 64 Bit aswell as the hardware IDs on the Windows 10 forum if you need help.
Dell Backup and Recovery
After all the system drivers are installed and Windows is up to date restart your computer.
At present I do not recommend installing Dell Backup and Recovery until we see how it works with Windows 10 major updates such as Threshold 2. If a proper clean installation has been carried out with the drives wiped before Windows Installation Dell Backup and Recovery can be installed and will create a new recovery partition from the clean installation: