Update Device Drivers for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7
When you connect a hardware device to your computer, you need a device driver that will control the interaction between your device and your computer. It does not matter whether it is a wireless mouse from Hewlett-Packard or an inkjet printer from Epson that you are connecting to your computer. You need a device driver to facilitate good communication between the two machines.
Sometimes, the drivers for certain devices, such as a built-in Creative webcam or a USB flash drive for a Toshiba laptop are located within the computer’s operating system. Other devices, however, need to have their drivers downloaded from the manufacturers’ websites or provided by the manufacturers themselves.
There are three kinds of device drivers:
1. Generic Drivers
A generic device driver can be used for a variety of devices. You do not need to look for a generic driver on the Web and download it to your computer. It is normally already found within the operating system. Having a generic driver installed in your computer is usually enough to run a certain hardware that you have attached. However, some unique features of the hardware may not be recognized by the driver, especially when both driver and hardware did not come from one manufacturer.
2. Specific Drivers
A specific device driver allows you to make full use of the hardware’s features and take advantage of all its benefits. A single device, such as a printer, scanner, keyboard, or webcam has its own specific driver so that the operating system can recognize all of its functions. However, there are some specific drivers that can be used for a variety of drivers. These are mostly for devices made by a single manufacturer.
3. Beta Drivers
A beta device driver is best left alone for those who are well-versed when it comes to navigating the ins and outs of their computer’s system and the hardware they use. It is usually a test driver that does yet provide a support system for its users. Although a beta driver is recognized by operating systems, it is not certified. You should only use a beta driver if you are sure about what you are doing.
Any device you attach to your computer will function normally as long as you have installed the proper device driver into the system. Other times, you have to install the driver after you have installed the device. Aside from input devices, device drivers also include processors, disk drives, and motherboard chipsets.
When a device fails to function properly, it is likely that you are having problems with the related device driver. For example, if the driver is of a different version or when the hardware has a different operating system, the two will definitely be able to work together. Newer hardware models may not be compatible with the drivers that you have already installed into your computer.
The best way to make sure that all your devices are working properly is to ensure that you have the latest driver versions installed. To locate your drivers, search for your setup.exe files at the prompt. A Windows-based computer lists drivers as .DRV files.
Here is a tool that will help you locate the latest device drivers you need and install them into your computer, as well as update all other outdated drivers in your system.