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How do I Update all my Computer Device Drivers?

    Updating Device Drivers

    Computers need several basic things in order to function including power, an operating system, hardware, and software. In order for all of the operating systems to know what’s installed in the machine and how to work with it, device drivers are required.

    Each piece of hardware from keyboards to processors has device drivers which tell the operating system, “Here I am. This is what I can do. Here’s how to use me.”

    But what if a device driver suddenly disappears?

    The operating system won’t know what to do. The device itself may be physically perfect but its means of communicating has been broken. Many computer users mistakenly think that the hardware is damaged and must be replaced. This isn’t always necessary. Instead, you can download device drivers to repair the communication problem and fix the hardware issue.

    For example, if your sound card suddenly stops working, you may think you need to buy a new one. Sure, buying a new one could solve your problems but it’s the more expensive option. Before going to the expense and hassles of getting a new sound card, download device drivers first.

    Manufacturers of hardware regularly release updated drivers for their products. They do this as they discover problems. For instance, a particular sound card may conflict with a certain brand of the graphics card. When the manufacturer learns of this conflict, they then correct it and issue a new device driver. So, if you upgrade your graphics card to the one that has known issues with your sound card, you’ll find yourself with a malfunctioning sound card. By downloading the updated driver, you will solve your problem!

    Now, think of this same scenario. What if you had downloaded the updated device driver long before upgrading your graphics card? You would have solved the problem before it ever had a chance to occur. For this reason, it’s smart to download device drivers as part of your regular computer maintenance routine. Not only can you repair existing problems, but you can also prevent future ones.

    Where can you find device drivers?

    There are several ways to go about getting updated device drivers. One of the easiest ways is if your computer manufacturer has a portal for your particular model. Many manufacturers such as Toshiba and HP let you go to their website, select your computer model and operating system, and download device drivers specific to your system. With this option, you don’t have to know the individual hardware brands and models.

    Another option is to go to the hardware device manufacturer’s website and search for updated device drivers for your device. This is tricky because you need to know exact details about your device including its current version information.

    Microsoft’s website is also loaded with device drivers for various devices. If you’re not finding what you’re looking for on the manufacturer’s website, try Microsoft.

    Whenever you download device drivers, you must also make sure to download the version designed for your operating system. With so many operating systems out there, a single device could have dozens of different options to choose from. For example, in Windows Vista alone, you may a choice of drivers for the 32-bit version of Vista or the 64-bit version. Downloading the driver for the 32-bit version of Vista Home Premium when you have the 64-bit version of Vista Home Premium could make matters worse.

    Several third-party software companies make utilities that automate finding and updating device drivers for you. These work by scanning your hardware and identifying your devices. Once discovered, they refer back to their vast databases of updated device drivers. If the software finds an updated device driver, it will give you an option to update it. For a simple way to manage your device driver downloads, these utilities are a big help.

    You can also do the same thing manually using Device Manager which comes built into Windows. Be warned that doing so is time-consuming and tedious. Device Manager has its place for the occasional update but for regular updates on all devices, this isn’t the most efficient option.

    If you want to get the most out of your computer, plan to download device drivers for all of your devices periodically. You’ll solve current problems and prevent future ones.

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