Windows Device Drivers and Updates

By: Tammy


Drivers

The job of drivers is to translate Window's generic instructions into specific commands that make the hardware work the way it needs to. A confusing fact lies with the tons of drivers that come with Windows. When you install Windows, or when you add new hardware to your computer, Windows will frequently just notice the change and automatically install the appropriate drivers.

Unfortunately, not all possible drivers are included with Windows. That's when you get that "please insert the CD" message. When you have hardware whose drivers are not supplied with Windows, the manufacturer must provide them, typically on a CD accompanying the device.

When to Update

You don’t need to update a driver simply for the sake of updating a driver. The only time you would really need to think about updating is when:
You are experiencing a problem: Hardware problems usually mean that a driver update could help.
You need a feature: Many times you experience a situation where the particular device is not supported by the Windows-supplied driver.
The driver or related software’s notification of availability of an update: Many devices now include software that periodically checks for updates.
Security issues: Sometimes you may encounter situations where a particular driver has a potential security issue.

Risks of Updating

It has been quite an issue that Microsoft releases software that is not ready. This is mainly because of the dependence on drivers provided by hardware vendors. As you might expect, there are vendors that have a very good reputation for producing quality software, and others that do not. But driver problems often manifest to users as "Windows problems".
Unfortunately driver problems resulting from an upgrade are not unheard of, and the symptoms don't have to be as dramatic as the blue screen of death. Driver updates shouldn’t really be all the hassle.

How to Update

There is not a single way on updating drivers. The best way to update drivers is by:

Checking Windows Updates: In particular, when visiting the Windows Update website, be sure to look at "optional updates", which is often where driver updates will show up. Then just use the Windows Update mechanism to download and install the software.

Visiting the computer's manufacturer website: Look at the manufacturer’s website to lead to latest drivers for hardware.

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Tammy Harris is a Computer Technician. He would like to give his tips on computer repair, virus removal and drivers update for Windows XP/Vista/7/8.

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