Intel motherboards are used in the majority of PCs and notebooks sold in recent years, and they contain a surprising amount of technology. It’s common to find HD audio, graphics, networking, and disk controllers on the motherboard.
Whether you’re using the original PC manufacturer image or a clean install of Windows, chances are one or more of those drivers are out of date. Tracking down updates manually is confusing, to say the least. Fortunately, Intel has now automated the process with a web-based scanner that inventories your current drivers and offers to install the most recent updates.
To start, open Internet Explorer and visit the Intel Driver Update Utility page. (This page also works with Firefox and Chrome, but I recommend those options only if you already have Java installed on your PC and are confortable downloading and installing a Java applet. On my computers, I avoid anything that requires Java.) Click the button labeled "Check your system for the latest updates."
In Internet Explorer, the Intel Driver Update Utility uses an ActiveX component called SysReqLab.cab (System Requirements Lab) from Husdawg, LLC. This is a safe, well-known add-in that I have used for years with PCs. If this is the first time you’ve used this tool, you’ll need to approve its installation, after which it scans your system and produces a display like the one shown below.
As you can see, this system needs an update to its chipset software (which tells Windows about the specific capabilities of the motherboard) and its wired network adapter. Click the plus sign to the left of the heading to see details for any of the components, including the version number of the currently installed driver and any available updates.
In this example, I was using the generic chipset software included with Windows. Updating that information with the official Intel release makes it possible for Windows to identify my system’s capabilities more accurately.
If you have an Intel-based motherboard, I recommend this tool highly.
Update: If your desktop PC has an Intel motherboard that uses an i3 or i5 CPU and you want audio delivered over the HDMI connection, you need to install the Intel Management Engine Interface (MEI) driver. This driver is a separate download, available on Intel’s Download Center:
The "5 series" to which this link refers is the first digit of the number in the chipset name, in this case DH55 or DH57.