"Windows Device Driver: What is Drivers and Why Every Hardware Device Need It?"

What is Windows device driver?

Device drivers are basically instructions that tell your computer how to use its hardware. Each hardware device in your computer has a driver. Another definitionÂ…

The Windows device driver is the translator between your PC's brain and the hardware device attached to it. Windows requires a driver for anything you might attach to, or install inside, your computer.

Some, like drivers for a keyboard, mouse, monitor, CD/DVD drive, hard drive or floppy drive are built into the Windows / operating system itself. Other devices (not all models), like sound card, scanner, printers, network cards, and more need to install the driver before you can use the hardware device.

Without the correct driver software installed, the corresponding piece of device doesn't work at all. So, when you purchase a new hardware device, you must get the device driver that normally in a CD format.

Fortunately, Windows XP comes with drivers for over 12,000 components, saving you the trouble of scavenging for them on a disk or on the Internet. This gigantic library is the heart of Microsoft's heavily advertised Plug and Play feature, which lets you connect a new device to your PC without even thinking about the driver software.

A newer operating system like Windows Vista has more build-in device drivers that can automatically install the drivers during the Windows installation process or you can search for the drivers online.

If you're having trouble with a particular hardware device, chances are that an updated driver may solve your problem. These can be found at the website for the company that made your equipment.

In case you can't find the driver on the manufacturer website, here are two good sources to help you locate updated drivers:

  • www.windrivers.com
  • www.driverguide.com

How to check the Windows device driver?

If you just finish installing a clean Windows, most of the times you need to install certain device drivers depending on your system. Some time, a particular driver may also get corrupted so you also need to reinstall the driver.

To check which device needs the driver (Win XP)

  • Right-click My Computer on the Windows desktop and click Properties from the pop up menu.
  • From the System Properties dialog box displayed, click on the Hardware tab.
  • Click the Device Manager button and you will see the following screen.
  • Windowx XP device manager

  • As you can see from the screen, there are four devices that required drivers as the Windows unable to find a suitable driver for them.
  • You need to insert the driver CD and install the drivers properly.
  • The completed device manager will look like this.
  • Windowx XP device manager

  • As you can see, all the yellow color exclamation marks are missing if you installed the drivers properly.
  • Most of the time, for a desktop computer, you need to installs the following Windows device driver:

  • Display adapters - display driver
    Network adapters - LAN and wireless drivers
    Sound, video and game controllers - sound card driver
    Universal Serial Bus controllers - USB driver

Well, how many Windows device driver that you need to install will be depending on the Windows versions as well as the types of motherboard chipsets used.

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