What is a Device Driver?

When you purchase a new hardware or peripheral device for your computer from the tech store, you get a CD/DVD along with it. If you ask the store personnel about the contents of it, they will tell you that it contains the ‘device drivers’ for the device. What is a device driver?

Device drivers are sets of instructions that introduce your computer to a newly installed hardware device or peripheral device. Your computer recognizes the new devices using these instructions and communicates with those devices. These instructions tell the computer what the new devices are supposed to do. Thus without the device drivers, the computer would not be able to differentiate a scanner from a printer, and a mouse from a keyboard. As a result of this, most devices would not work without drivers at all, no matter how expensive those are.

Device drivers vary according to the operating system loaded in the computer, where the devices are installed. So, if you have installed a new graphics card to play games on a computer that runs Microsoft Windows® operating system, then you have to install a device driver that works with Windows®. On the other hand, if the computer is running Linux operating system, you would have to load a different device driver for the same graphics card.

Another thing that you should remember is that you should always load the latest device drivers for your hardware and peripheral devices into your computer. Latest drivers contain more fine-tuned instructions that allow all your devices and peripherals to run better. You can download latest drivers for your devices from the manufacturer’s website via the internet. Alternatively, you can call up a system engineer and ask him to take care of it for you.

There is one final thing that you should always keep in mind. Before loading any device driver in your computer, make sure that you know what you are doing. If you accidentally load a wrong device driver in your computer, it could damage your new devices or your computer, or in worst cases, both of those. If you have any doubts regarding installation of any drivers, call for help. Either ring up the helpline of the manufacturer of the device, or simply call up a system engineer to take care of it. You may have to spend a little extra cash, but at least you will rest assured that your new hardware or peripheral is going to work properly.

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