Driver Articles

What Does a Device Driver Do?

Those who are new to the world of computers are likely to discover there is more to installation than just making sure the hardware is plugged into the computer correctly. You may think once you install the operating system and any office software you need to use you are ready to go. Unfortunately, there is much more involved in setting up a computer for the first time. Businesses have it a little easier because they usually have an IT Department or at least an IT expert who does all of that for them. Home users either have to do it themselves or ask a friend or relative who is good with setting up computer systems.

Unless you buy a computer and build it yourself, the tower will already include the necessary cards you need to operator any hardware devices including the printer, audio and video devices, sound card and even the hard drive and RAM. What you will need are device drivers to operate those hardware devices. A device driver is software that allows hardware devices to operate the way they should. For example, a printer driver tells the printer what to do and how to do it. It confirms the connection between the device and the computer itself that allows the computer user to do those things he expects the device to do.

Every hardware device connected to your computer has a driver. Without the device drivers none of your hardware would be able to operate. However, it's important to remember device drivers are like any other software - they can become corrupt or be damaged by viruses, Trojans, worms or other malicious infections. For this reason, it is important to make sure your device drivers are up to date and store on a CD in a safe place. You can put the latest drivers on your desktop, but if you should become infected with a virus that forces you to reformat your hard drive, you will lose those drivers. You can download them again provided the network drivers are not affected because without your network drivers you are not going to be able to download anything - or even access the Internet.

Device drivers are essential components of any hardware device. As such you need to make sure you routinely update them and store them in a safe place in case you need them again. Each time you download new drivers you can overwrite the older ones since there will no need for you to use those again. In most cases if a device does not work it is usually due to a problem with the driver rather than the device itself - especially when it comes to hardware that is stored on cards within your computer tower. With so much relying on device drivers you should program your computer for automatic updates to include device drivers. At the same time, you also want to make sure you back up those updates onto a CD or jump drive.