Does Ubuntu install your PC drivers automatically? And does it need to be updated like Windows Update?


4 Answers 4


There is quite possibility that some of your drivers might be missing while Ubuntu installs most of them.

You can go to 'System Settings' and under 'Hardware' section click on 'Additional Drivers'. It will automatically search for drivers and it will ask if you want to install those drivers.

You can search for System Settings by hitting the start button (also called super key) and typing in "System Settings"

System Settings -> 'Hardware' section -> Additional Drivers

And yes you need to update your drivers over a period of time which may vary from driver to driver.

Update: On Ubuntu 18.04 you find Additional Drivers under Software & Updates.


The linux kernal loads most of your drivers automatically when it starts up but sometimes you might find that you have hardware that doesn't have a driver in that version of the kernal. This is becoming less of a problem over time as more and more drivers are encorporated into the Linux Kernal.

Sometimes hardware such as some broadcom wireless adapters have proprietary drivers meaning that the manufacturer has released linux drivers for these products but they are not open source. This means that you need to enable them in Ubuntu and often have to agree to some smallprint. More information about proprietary drivers can be found here:


As for updates, Ubuntu has a Software Update Centre which is similar to Windows Update in that it updates software on your PC. It's important to stay up-to-date with the latest security updates at least as this will help keep you safe whilst using your PC.

The Software Update Centre often notifies you when it has updates available or you can open the program to see whether any updates are available.


Linux unlike Windows has a different approach on handling hardware, drivers, and software. Hardware drivers are incorporated into the Linux Kernel, software will have to be installed in addition to that.


  • "Essential" packages (i.e. software) will always be installed to have a running system.
  • Several software packages are installed with your distribution. These will automatically be installed on your computer.
  • Additional custom software installed by the user later.

Software Updates

All software including our individual software packages will automatically update for bug fixes and security issues if we had installed them from the official software repositories. Only very rarely we will encounter software not available there. Only then we have to manually take care of updates.


Same holds true for hardware drivers. It is our goal to not have to install any hardware drivers to the kernel but to have a fully functional system in the first place.

This goal is achieved for the majority of hardware but sadly not for all because some manufacturers make a big secret out of their drivers ("proprietary"). And occasionally the free and Open Source drivers will not support all hardware features.

Many manufacturers provide their drivers in a Linux compatible version. These drivers are Closed Source, and therefore we do not install them by default (we believe Open Source is much better). Such drivers can still be installed, maintained, and updated from within Ubuntu:

Manually installed drivers

Only very rarely we may have hardware which is not yet or not fully supported by Ubuntu. Then we may have to manually install drivers from somewhere else. This always bears a great risk of introducing instabilities as these drivers are not tested to work with Ubuntu. It is therefore not recommended to do so when you start to learn the Ubuntu way of getting your work done.

Automatic updates

Software updates, kernel updates, and driver updates can be downloaded and installed in the background. It is us the users who decide in our settings how much we want to get involved by this or how often we automatically want to check for updates. But in any case there is no need to restart our system or interrupt our work for any update. Few updates however will only be activated after the next reboot (e.g. kernels).


I am using the below command and it's doing fine for me for Ubuntu >= 18.04

sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall

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