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Getting Started With Drivers

A driver is a computer program that operates or controls a particular type of device attached to a computer.

Have you ever seen a notification for a missing driver on your computer? If you’ve been baffled by these warnings, you’re definitely not alone. A lot of people don’t know what a driver is, and many are even less aware that drivers are a part of their everyday computer operations.

So what are drivers, and what do they do? A driver is a computer program that controls your computer’s interaction with an external device that it is connected to. They are both hardware-dependent, as well as unique for every operating system.

Your computer does not know what kind of devices you plan to plug into it (for example, in your USB port or optical drive), and it would be impossible to store a driver for every possible device on your hard drive. So many devices come with a driver disc or auto-download driver that will allow you to use the hardware properly.

Drivers need to be updated, and often times it’s an outdated driver that causes issues. Your device may not work as it once did, and drivers need to be replaced with the latest version in order to properly communicate with your system.

In order to stay up-to-date with your drivers, make sure to use a utility that manages your drivers and automatically manages updates and downloads!

External Devices That Use Drivers:

  • Printers
  • Video adapters
  • Network cards
  • Sound cards
  • Local buses
  • Low-bandwidth I/O buses
  • Computer storage devices such as hard disk, CD-ROM, and floppy disk buses
  • File system support
  • Image scanners
  • Digital cameras