When your Windows PC acts up, restarting it is always a good, quick fix, to a random problem. The same trick works for most every other device. If you can’t connect to your WiFi network, restart your WiFi router. If your phone is unresponsive, restart it. Sometimes, restarting your PC doesn’t do the trick if a particular component isn’t working. For example, if the sound stops working, restarting your PC may or may not work. In such a case, you can try restarting the driver that’s causing problems. Here’s how you can restart a driver on Windows 10.
SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down and watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.
While you can restart a driver on Windows 10 easily enough, you should first run any and all troubleshooting options that Windows 10 gives you. As part of the troubleshooting process, the driver may automatically be restarted.
If the troubleshooter doesn’t work, feel free to manually restart the relevant driver.
Before you can restart a driver, you need to identify which one it is that is causing problems. For example, if you’re having trouble with games, possibly with low FPS, you want to restart your GPU driver and not the display driver. If you’re having trouble with Bluetooth devices, you need to know which is the Bluetooth driver for Windows 10, and which is the device specific driver.
Restart A Driver
Open Device Manager with administrative rights. You can search for it via Windows search, right-click it, and select ‘Run as administrator’ from the context menu.
Look for the device type that you want to restart a driver for. For example, for a Bluetooth driver, expand the Bluetooth devices. This is a good example of identifying the correct driver.
You will see a long list of device drivers that have been installed and somewhere in this list is your Bluetooth driver. You can try uninstalling the device and that might work but that isn’t how you restart the driver. The driver, the one that enables Bluetooth on your system, is Intel(R) Wireless Bluetooth(R).
Right-click it and select ‘Disable device’. You will get an alert telling you that disabling a device will cause it to stop working. That’s a given so just accept the alert and the device will be disabled. Next, restart your PC.
Return to the Device Manger and enable the driver again. Open Device Manager, expand the list of devices, look for the driver you disabled, and right-click it. Select Enable Device to start the driver again.
If this doesn’t solve whatever problem it is you’re having, and the device in question is a plug & play device, you can uninstall it, unplug the device, and connect it again. Windows 10 will install the driver again when it detects the device and that may solve whatever problems you’re having.
Alternatively, if restarting a driver, and reinstalling the device isn’t working, check to see if there is a driver update available or if the driver has been updated which caused the device to stop working. In that case, you should roll back the driver, and stop Windows 10 from updating drivers.