Device drivers are software programs that help a hardware device interact with the software on your computer. Every time you connect a new hardware device to your computer you will have to install a corresponding driver for it to function properly.
Drivers play an important part in the performance of your device and your computer system. Incompatible, outdated and obsolete drivers can slow down your system and even cause damage to your system and hardware devices. Therefore, it is advisable that you regularly update your device drivers.
You can find updates for your drivers on the hardware manufacturer’s site or on operating system developer’s site. When downloading updates, your drivers remember that all device drivers are operating system specific. For instance, USB drivers or Ethernet Drivers for the Windows Vista operating system are different from that of Linux operating system drivers. Therefore, while you are downloading make sure that you download drivers that are specifically developed for the operating system that is installed on your PC.
It is also essential to ensure that your driver is compatible with the version of the operating system on your computer. For example, the drivers for Windows XP are different from drivers for Windows Vista. People are also known to face problems when they don’t have the supported service pack installed on their computer. This is the reason why, you need to be extra vigilant while downloading, installing and updating device drivers.
One way of updating your driver is to do it manually with help of the Windows Device Manager Utility. To open the device manager go to Start, Control Panel, and double click on System icon to open the System Properties window. Then go to the Hardware tab, and click the Device Manager Button. In the Device Manger window you will see a list of different categories of hardware on your PC. Identify the hardware which needs to be updated, and then double-click on it to open the device properties dialog box.
In this dialog box, you will see various device details such as device driver version, manufacturers’ name, device model number and so on. Options such as Update Driver or Rollback Driver are also available to enable you to perform various PC maintenance tasks.
When you click the Update Driver button on the driver tab of the properties dialog box, the Hardware Update wizard will display. You can use this wizard to update your driver. To update the driver the wizard will ask you for the location from which you want to install the update from. To do this, it is a good practice to download the driver update from a reliable source and save it on your hard disk before you start the update process. In case you find that the updates you installed are generating errors then you can use the Rollback option to go back to the previous version of the driver.
Updating drivers by using the Device Manager is quite tedious and the chances of getting an incorrect driver are quite high. This is the reason why it is a good idea to use third-party driver update tools such as Driver Finder to perform the task for you. These update tools automatically scan your computer system for any outdated drivers and then suggest the best and most reliable updates available. The tools also help you in installing these updates.