By Dervish / Last update January 13, 2022

Windows' Device Manager, still the very important default program for managing hardware and drivers or troubleshooting on your PC, now has some small improvements on Windows 11. If you have a problem with your driver, or if the computer manufacturer wants you to install the driver from their website, there is a way to load the driver manually.

To do this, you can use Device Manager and navigate to the computer memory path where the driver is available, instead of using the OEM-supplied installer package. This is necessary in some cases, and the user can manually load the driver by clicking the "Driver" tab in the properties window, and then clicking the "Update Driver" button.

To manually replace the driver, we need to pick the package from the "List of available drivers on my computer". This can be accessed through a dialog via the "Have Disk" button in the lower right corner of the Device Manager. In Windows 10 or earlier, when you browse menus such as "Have Disk", the default location for Device Manager was set to A:\.


The picture shows the driver installation dialog box of Windows 10. Note that the icon above still has a floppy disk at this time.

According to a 2014 blog post for Windows Vista, A and B are usually reserved for floppy drives. If your computer doesn't have a floppy drive, it doesn't make sense for Device Manager to use the A: location.

It took Microsoft a while to figure out that the A:/ assignment is now meaningless because the days of floppy drives are long gone. This has been improved a bit in Windows 11 Build 22000 (stable). Starting with Windows 11, Device Manager no longer defaults to A:\, i.e. it won't ask you for the driver for the floppy (even the icon has been replaced).

Device Manager can now automatically detect the operating system's drive, so if you unzip the downloaded zip file to a folder on the system drive, you can easily find the driver package.

In Windows 11, the floppy disk and the A:\ path are gone.

As some users have pointed out, Windows 11 still supports ancient floppy disks, including 5.25-inch floppy disks. If you have an ancient floppy disk, you can still connect it to your Windows 11 device and it will still be recognized by the operating system.

Additionally, Device Manager now allows you to view drivers next to your device, listed with new "Devices by Driver", "Drivers by Type" and "Drivers by Device" rules, so you can easily Let users view, install and remove drivers.

There's also a new "Add Driver" button to add and install new drivers on all supported devices. These changes should make the management of drives easier and more intuitive.