Tech Tips

What Are Drivers In Your Computer And When should You Update Them?

There are multitudes of us out there that depend on computers for communication and even work, but have very little knowledge of how they work. Many users go along doing just fine until something goes wrong and then are lost unless they have husbands, children, wives or computer repair services to turn to for help. Many do not know the parts of a computer or how they work together to make the magic that is computers happen. So, what is a driver? Why would you want to update drivers? How often do drivers need to be updated? The whole subject of drivers can be pretty confusing to the novice computer operator. If one owns and uses a computer, there are some things they should know about managing their computer drivers and when to update them.

Just what is a computer driver? First, it is not like a man driving a car. A computer driver is a computer program, or software, that makes other computer programs work. For instance, when you purchase a new printer to go with your computer, it will have a manufacturer’s website listed for you to go to, to download the driver to make the printer work with your computer. Windows has generic drivers that have the minimum you need to make a program work. This is great for basic programs and printers. Many programs, game programs, and so on come with their own drivers. New computers often are set up so Windows installs a generic version of a driver when you first plug them in. This gives you basic functionality immediately, but you may want drivers with extra features later.

Once you understand what drivers do, then you can decide how often to update them or install new drivers. One rule of thumb is to use caution when updating drivers. If everything is working fine, leave well enough alone. If your functions start having problems like slow downloads, the printer not working right, games slowing down, or your Ethernet connection dropping more often than you like, you may need to take action. Caution is needed in choosing driver updates because sometimes different driver versions can cause stability problems. It is important to keep drivers updated enough to ensure security and stability. When software and operating systems are updated, the affected drivers need to be updated also. Most computers have constant messages about updates being automatically installed, or updates being available. The computer user must decide which ones are needed. Remember drivers software and programs they run must be in sync with one another to work they best.

Bill Gordon

Bill Gordon has been writing on tech and malware subjects for 6 years and has been working in the internet and tech industry for over 15 years. He currently lives in Southern California.

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