Update Your Device Drivers
Device drivers are software packages that keep many parts of your computer system running and working together smoothly. As you change the hardware and software components of your system, the device drivers on it may become obsolete. It's important to keep your device drivers up to date. Here's how...
How to Keep Your Device Drivers Automatically Updated
Things that depend upon device drivers include not only physical hardware devices attached to your computer, such as disk drives or printers, but also software components such as the networking component of your operating system or application software. Upgrading hardware, operating system, or application software can cause problems with device drivers. So can changes made to things that aren't even on your computer, but are "out there" on the Internet! Device drivers are the essential glue that holds the entire computing/networking environment together.
Errors in normal operations like printing, faxing, accessing a network drive, or connecting to a wireless network are one type of symptom that a device driver may be obsolete or corrupted. If a device just won't work, check its device driver. With Vista or Windows 7, just click on Start and enter "device manager" in the search window. On Windows XP:
- Click Start and then open Control Panel
- Click on Performance and Maintenance
- Click the System icon
- Click the Hardware tab, then the Device Manager button
Take note of any devices that have an exclamation mark next to them, as this means there is a problem with that device. Double-click on any device that you want to examine. On the General tab, what you hope to see is a "This device is working properly" message.
If You Need a New Device Driver...
If instead you see something like "This device is not working properly" or "The drivers for this device are not installed", then click the Driver tab, and then click the Update Driver button to search for an updated driver to download and/or install. If that doesn't work, then try the Uninstall button to remove the device driver and effectively uninstall the device from your system. Of course, then you have to re-install the device and its driver.
Restarting your computer with the device physically plugged in should cause Windows' Plug and Play to detect the "new" hardware device and search its files for an appropriate driver. If you have the driver on a CD-ROM disc, insert it into the drive and tell Windows to look there instead of in its own driver library. If a matching driver is found, Windows will install it automatically and tell you the device is now installed. Often, re-installing the device driver does the trick. But if it doesn't, you may have to go online for a new driver.
Virtually every manufacturer of computer hardware has an online library where you can download device drivers for their products. Often, these drivers are updated but the manufacturer doesn't notify everyone who owns the device. You can search the website of a device manufacturer for drivers, but I don't recommend that you download a new driver unless you're having trouble with a piece of hardware, or unless the vendor recommends that you do so.
Do you have something to say about device drivers? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Feb 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Update Your Device Drivers (Posted: 15 Feb 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved