A few decades ago, data for computers was stored externally in floppy drives (diskette). For those who never saw one, it was a small plastic storage device, and the more recent ones were just a little larger and thicker than a credit card. They were the standard back then for storing drivers and media.
Then came the Compact Disk. This was initially developed for sound/music storage but later adapted to store software and drivers too.
For many years since their invention, optical disks were the ideal way to store data. Computers and parts manufacturers shipped their products with CDs having all the essential drivers and utilities stored for various components including the motherboard.
However, as expected, the flow of time wasn’t too kind to CD drives either. With the high speed internet and its widespread availability, CD drives have too became obsolete on PCs now, particularly on laptops.
So this brings us to the question in hand, how to install motherboard drivers without CD Drive?
Basically, to install the drivers for a motherboard without a CD Drive, you will need an internet connection. With an active internet connection, either via WiFi or Wired LAN, you can access some methods that can allow you to download drivers.
The CD Drive – Almost Obsolete
CD drives, aka optical drives, have almost gone completely obsolete. Just as the Floppy Drive once became a part of digital museum, so is the PC optical drive on its way.
The high speed internet has made it possible to access all kinds of software and drivers online without having to rely on something physical.
Therefore, it makes complete sense why someone would want to learn how to install motherboard drivers without CD Drive.
Fortunately, there are many utilities within the operating systems themselves that have made downloading and updating the motherboard and system drivers fairly easy.
How to Install Motherboard Drivers without CD Drive
There are few ways to install the drivers in case if your PC lacks a CD drive.
Installing from Within the OS – Need Internet Connection
If you have an internet connection and if your computer manages boot-up then install/update the drives from within the OS iteself.
1. Using Windows Updater
For Windows users, this utility lets you do more than just update your OS. You can get new driver updates and also learn when was the last update performed.
For this Navigate to “Windows Update” utility.
- On Windows 10 go to “Start”
- Go to “Settings”,
- Click on “Updates and Security”
- Then go to “Windows Update” tab.
- From there, click on the “Check for Updates” button.
If drivers are available for your system, you will find them here. You can then go ahead and install them. The utility should take care of downloading and installing the drivers automatically for you.
Again, for this to work, you will need to have an internet connection.
You can also access this utility by simply typing “Windows Update” on the Windows Search Bar by pressing the Start button.
2. Download the Drivers from the Website
This is not the easiest method in the lot, but it ensures great results when properly done.
To do this, you need to go to your motherboard’s manufacturer’s website using any browser. All major motherboard manufacturer’s including ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock, Biostar etc offer drivers for their motherboards online.
Simply search up the motherboard by typing its make and model on Google.
Access the relevant page and visit its “Support” section.
The driver that you are particularly looking for is the “Chipset” Driver. This driver directly relates to the motherboard itself.
But often, you will find a list of drivers for other sub-component of the motherboard including Audio, LAN, USB, SATA etc.
Make sure you are on the relevant motherboard page since most motherboard from the same manufacturer have VERY identical names.
Once the file is downloaded on your computer, go ahead and install the program. Make sure you install one driver at a time.
Bear in mind that you may have to restart your PC after each driver completes its installation.
This method is not a quick fix for all scenarios. If your computer currently doesn’t have any network drivers for Ethernet or Wi-Fi, you will not be able to connect to the internet in the first place.
Can’t Connect to Internet? – How To Install Motherboard Drivers Without CD Drive and Internet Connection?
The methods mentioned above work under the assumption that you can connect to the internet.
In case if you have neither a CD drive nor an internet connection, well that puts you in an uncanny predicament.
However, fret not, it is still quite possible to install motherboard drivers on your PC using the same principle as mentioned in the methods above.
Copy the Drivers to an External Hard Disk or USB Flash Drive from a Secondary PC
If you have a flash drive or an external hard disk, you can use a second computer that is operating normally to download and copy all the drivers on to it.
You may have to call up your friend or anyone to help you out with this.
Hooking Up the Internal Hard Disk to a Second PC – In Case of NO USB PORTS
In extreme cases where you do not have a CD Drive, no Internet Connection AND NO working USB ports to put a flash drive in to, you can try out this extreme method.
For this you would need some novice technical skills as you will have to open up your PC.
Also, you will need another working PC for this method to work.
- Unscrew, and open up your primary computer (the one that requires driver installation) and take out its hard disk – make sure it is disconnected from the power supply
- Unscrew and open up your secondary computer that is working and can connect to the internet – again make sure it is disconnected from the power supply
- Plug the hard disk of your primary computer into an extra SATA slot available on your secondary computer.
- Power up and boot up your secondary computer, once booted, you will now see a separate partition for the newly installed hard disk.
- Now on your secondary computer, download all the primary motherboard’s drivers.
- Put all the downloaded drivers in a separate folder on the newly created partition.
- Shut down your secondary computer and unplug it from the power supply.
- Take out the primary computer’s hard disk and plug it back into the primary computer’s motherboard.
- Boot up your primary computer, locate the downloaded drivers and install them.
Your computer may restart several times when installing drivers, but this should essentially solve your problems.
Also Read: How to Reset Motherboard BIOS?
Should You Use Third Party Driver Installer Programs?
There are many third party software out there that scan your PC for any missing or outdated software and install them automatically – they do require an internet connection though.
However, given that you already have a utility like Windows Updater, I personally do not think that there is any use of such third party softwares.
Plus, it is always recommended to download and install drivers from the official websites. With third party software, it is hard to tell which sources the software is fetching the drivers from.
There are some recognized third party driver installers, such as IObit Driver Booster that have been reviewed on PCmag and Cnet to be safe and credible, but since they tend to charge a license fee it makes them a waste in my opinion since the Windows Update Utility is free of cost and performs more or less the same function.
Also Read: Why Motherboard is Called Motherboard?
Finding Your Motherboard Drivers in Device Manager
Device Manager is an excellent utility that let you identify if you have any drivers missing for any of the systems on them motherboard i.e LAN adapter, soundcard, USB ports etc
In the Device Manager, the motherboard does not have a distinct section of its own.
Instead, most of the systems found on it such as ACPI, the systems, PCIe root complex and and their corresponding driver information is found under the “System Devices”
Device Manager can be accessed through control panel by right clicking “This PC” -> “Properties” ->. It is crucial in finding out which drivers you are missing.
If there are any issues with the detection of a particular driver i.e say a driver for LAN card is missing, it will highlight it as missing with a Yellow caution mark.
Also Read: Where is Motherboard in Device Manager?
Drivers Successfully Installed
If your drivers are successfully installed, you will see no “missing device” issues or caution signs on your Device Manager.
You can also double click on any of the driver to check the status of the driver. If all is good, the Driver Status will read” The Device is Working Properly”
Also Read: How to Tell if Motherboard is Bad or Dead?
Here we talked about how to install motherboard drivers without CD Drive. Basically, if you need to install motherboard drivers and don’t have a CD drive, don’t despair.
You still have some good options. In many cases if you cannot access the Internet either, then you will need a second working PC to download all the required drivers.