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What are device drivers?

    Device drivers are to computers what behind-the-scenes staff is to performance. They get little to no public

    Device Drivers

    recognition but are absolutely vital to success.

    If you want your computer to operate properly, it is critical you keep your drivers updated.

    Basics of Device Drivers

    Most people have heard the term “device driver” floating around when casually speaking to friends, family, and colleagues about computers. They have maybe even heard about them when eavesdropping on a nerd-to-nerd conversation at the local computer shop. It is one of those pervasive terms that float about even though you really have no clue what they mean, like car transmissions or global warming.

    No one dares admit they are clueless about the subject. They just keep talking and nodding their heads in agreement.

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    Have no fear. After reading this you’ll be completely prepared to discuss device drivers the next time you’re at a family get-together or water cooler meeting. In fact, you may even be able to help someone out of their own device driver troubles.

    Introduction to device drivers

    In reality, device drivers are fairly simple to understand. Device drivers are simply programs that help control parts of your computer. These parts are, yes, you guessed it, devices that connect to your computer. A device sometimes referred to as a peripheral can be a mouse, a keyboard, a printer, or any other component that adds functionality to your computer.

    Your computer and its operating system, like Windows XP or Linux, knows how to handle itself. When you add extra items to your machine, however, it needs instructions for handling its new-found partner.

    Your computer’s operating system already contains drivers for many basic items like mice and keyboards, but for more exotic devices like scanners, printers, or anything else that was developed after your operating system was released, more than likely a new driver will need to be installed.

    Types of device drivers

    Most new drivers are installed via an included driver disk or download. These drivers will get you going initially. Unfortunately, device drivers are seldom perfect the first time they are developed. The programmers who write them often discover bugs in their initial driver releases. In-house testing and customer feedback often reveal problems the programmers did not manage to catch the first time. As a result, they release newer versions of their device drivers to make your devices operate more efficiently and error-free.

    To make a long story short, the fact that programmers are human and often release imperfect device drivers is the reason why, if you want to maintain an efficient and bug-free computer, you should keep your drivers up-to-date.

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