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Benefits of Updated Windows Drivers

June 16th, 2011 No comments

Have you ever had trouble with any of the hardware attached to your PC? Maybe it’s a printer that won’t get recognized, a USB drive that can’t get read, or maybe even a video graphics card that won’t display at certain resolutions and settings. More often than not, troubles like these originate, not in the physical hardware itself, but from the software that dictates its interaction with your operating system: the drivers.

The Truth About Drivers

Without the correct set of device drivers, there is absolutely no way that any gadget or peripheral can be recognized, much less used by your PC. Drivers are part of the package you pay for whenever you purchase a piece of computer hardware, which is why they often come bundled with a CD that contains the driver along with some bonus software. However, the software provided by the manufacturer only makes up one part of the equation that makes your hardware run smoothly. Windows has to do its part, too.

Even on its own, Microsoft Windows contains a library of generic drivers that are made to run with as wide a variety of devices as possible. This is the secret behind so-called ‘Plug and Play’ devices that claim to require no drivers. The truth is that the drivers they needed were already installed in the OS to begin with.

However, this only applies to relatively simple and common devices such as flash drives and keyboards. More complex devices require not just the correct driver from the manufacturer, but also the proper amount of native support from your version Windows. This is why certain programs and devices require that a certain Service Packs be installed before you can install them.

Why The Updates?

No piece of software is ever truly perfect when it comes out, and this is especially true for programs as complex as an operating system. This means that bugs get ironed out, security gets beefed up, and overall performance and functionality is improved as these updates are released over an operating system’s lifetime. Updates can even keep old operating systems competitive past its life expectancy, as Windows XP demonstrates, holding onto a significant chunk of the market even after 10 years.

But one often overlooked benefit of updates is the fact that it not only brings the software up to speed, but upgrades the hardware that the operating system can support. Certain devices need the upgraded pre-installed drivers from certain service packs and updates to work, and not even the latest version of the driver from the manufacturer may be able to help.

So Where Do I Get the Updates?

The simplest way of getting updates is to let your operating system do it for you automatically via Windows Update. You can have this utility download and install all updates automatically, or just have it download certain updates that are marked critical. You can also opt to have it just inform you when an update becomes available, or turn it off completely.

Another option is to go and select just the updates you need to get your hardware working. This saves you loads more time, and allows you to retain features that other updates might have removed or disabled. You can get all the Windows drivers you need at this webpage. Or, use our helpful tool for the best results in updating and scanning for new drivers.