Hardware drivers and how they work


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We have all heard of drivers. But what are these drivers and how do they work? Well, in computing, a device driver (also be called a software driver) is a computer program that allows higher-level computer programs and applications to interact with a hardware device (like your mouse, keyboard, monitor, video board, and so on).

The first question to ask is, "How does a driver communicate with the device?" The driver typically communicates with the device through the computer bus. It can also go through the communications subsystem to which the hardware is connected. When any program or application invokes a “routine” in the driver, the driver simply sends some commands to the device (the commands differ from device to device and even from driver to driver). After the device receives the commands, it often sends data back to the driver. Having this data, the driver can call routines in the original program or application. Please note that drivers depend on the hardware and are specific to the operating system.

So, as you can see, drivers are a vital part of the system. Without drivers, none of the above hardware will work. You will say that a mouse works without any driver. Of course it does – because Windows already has default drivers for some common hardware. But it surely does not have drivers for everything. And, besides that, many hardware features are unavailable if no proper driver is installed. It is always recommended to install the latest drivers for your hardware to enjoy maximum performance. Choosing and installing the correct device drivers for given hardware is often a key component of computer system configuration

Also, make sure you have ALL the drivers. Missing drivers can cause hardware failures and it is often hard to find the problem. Signs that your drivers are not working properly include:

I forgot to install my network adapter driver once, and the poor Windows did not even detect it physically. To avoid these situations, search for updates online. You will find the latest drivers on the hardware’s manufacturer website. It is easy to download and completely free! Keep in mind: NEVER download drivers from unsafe sources. They may contain spyware, viruses, or some kind of malicious software. Please note that the manufacturer upgrades the drivers once every few months.