Device drivers are a set of instructions that are required by the operating system to communicate with and use hardware devices installed or connected to your PC. An incompatible or out of date driver can cause unwanted errors and hardware malfunction. Hardware components like sound/video cards, USBs, Printers, Scanners, and Motherboards all require specific drivers to run them. This means that without a driver you cannot access a particular device. For example, you may not be able to save to or copy from your pen drive if USB drivers are not installed on your computer.
You need compatible and updated drivers for your hardware components in order to keep them running properly. Your system’s performance is greatly dependent on its hardware drivers.
Just like many other software programs, device drivers also become corrupt and outdated. Therefore, it becomes essential to regularly update your device drivers. A current and updated driver helps in maintaining the performance of your computer system.
The easiest and safest way of updating your driver is to download the updated version from the manufacturer’s website and then install it. You need to visit the manufacturer’s website regularly and check to see if any updates are available.
Download and save the driver update at a convenient location on your hard disk to ensure that it is easily accessible when required. If a setup option is available, you can directly install the updates by double-clicking on the setup file. If the option is not there, to install the updates you must perform the following steps:
- To update a driver, the first thing you need to do is to open the Windows Device Manager. To do this go to Start – Control Panel, then double click on the System icon. When the System Properties dialog box opens, go to the Hardware tab and then click on the Device Manager button.
- In the Device Manager, identify the device for which you wish to install the updates and then right-click on the device and select Properties.
- In the properties dialog box, go to the Driver tab and then select the Update Driver button.
- Now a Hardware Update Wizard will open. All you need to do now is to browse to the location where you have saved the downloaded driver update, select it and then click OK.
This will start the update process. To complete the whole process and also to avoid errors, you need to reboot your system. This is required because installing updates requires some changes to be made in the Windows registry. So, to see if the newly installed driver has the desired effect you should reboot the system. In case the driver update fails to give the desired result, you can use the Roll-Back option in the Device Manager to uninstall the update and go back to the previous version.
Another method of updating your device driver is to use third-party driver controller software such as a Driver Finder. This tool automatically scans your system for devices that require updates and then recommends the most compatible driver updates for these devices. The tool also downloads and installs the best updates on your computer to ensure that your drivers are always up-to-date.