Keeping Your Device Drivers Up To Date

In matters related to technology, it is often seen that anything that is outdated can be a potential source of problem. It can not only create problems for concerned software or hardware, but also create conflicts with other programs present on the system and hamper overall productivity.

Therefore, whether it is operating system, software applications like anti-virus and device drivers, it is very important for all of them to be up-to-date. Updated versions are more likely to be more stable and less prone to issues. Unfortunately, while many computer users are well informed about the importance of updating Windows and other programs which they use regularly, most of them are ignorant about need for updating drivers. In fact, most of the users have no idea of such a thing as device driver, until they come across them in an error message displayed on their computer screen.

Let us begin by understanding what device drivers are and what tasks they help our system accomplish.

A device driver is a software program that facilitates communication between peripheral hardware devices and the computer. It ensures that a device follows the instructions of a computer correctly. All hardware devices need a driver to perform their functions. Each type of device has a particular type of driver that is driving it. For example, the functions of sound cards are governed by sound drivers or audio drivers.

When you purchase a computer, your operating system comes equipped with most common device drivers. However, since different versions of Windows use different drivers, you may have to upgrade the drivers when you change the operating system. In any case, whenever you are installing a new device, it is always recommended that you use the CD/DVD accompanying it, since it s most likely to have the latest version of device drivers.

Driver manufacturers release regular updates that patch up any vulnerabilities in the existing drivers and incorporate new features. It is essential to install these updates because failure to do so may result in performance and incompatibility issues. The following are two methods that you can use for the same:

  1. Device Manager: This is a good utility that comes with your Windows operating system. This utility enables you to troubleshoot problems and issues on your own. To launch Device Manager, right-click My Computer and then select Properties. On the Hardware tab in System Properties dialog box, select Device Manager.Here, you can identify the problem device easily because it will be highlighted by a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark inside it. You right-click on this device, and choose Properties. On the Driver tab of the device properties dialog box that is displayed, click the Update Driver button to start the process of updating the device driver.
  2. Third-Party Device Manager: If you find Device manager difficult or confusing, you can opt for any popular third-party device managers such as Driver Finder. These tools can automatically detect driver problems and install updates for you. These programs are quite user-friendly and simplify the whole driver update process.