How to identify hardware driver problems
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Your computer (your operating system in fact) features support for hundreds, and even thousands of hardware accessories (also called devices). These devices include but are not limited to printers, network adapters, digital cameras, and keyboards. These hardware accessories extend what your computer can do. But how does Windows manage to provide this level of flexibility? Simple – by using software called device drivers.
These drivers are the ones doing all the hard work so you don’t have to. They communicate with the hardware. There is one hardware driver for each hardware device you can connect to your computer. But, as developers and software creators find new tweaks and improve the software, the driver is updated. These updates are meant to improve the performance, security, or to correct a problem of the hardware device.
In most cases, hardware accessories can be connected and used without any problem. However, occasionally, your computer might stumble upon a problem or give throw an error when using a new piece of hardware. The computer can also develop a problem after using the hardware for some time. The device could have even worked correctly until the problem. When this happens, the computer will throw an error message and the hardware will be totally or partially unusable. Be aware that the problem can be generated by your hardware. If it is not the hardware, then it is the driver! Don’t get too scared, device drivers can be upgraded to newer versions, rolled back to older versions, or even reinstalled.
But how do you find out if it is a driver that is causing all the errors? Simply go through the steps below:
- Take a moment to remember if you recently upgraded the device driver or any other software that is related to your hardware. If you did that, simply roll back the driver to its previous version and everything should work just fine.
- If you are experiencing occasional problems or if your hardware is not compatible with your Windows version, you must upgrade the device driver. This is a fairly easy process and doesn’t take more than 5 minutes.
- If your hardware suddenly stopped working, you must upgrade the device driver at once. If, after the upgrade, the problem is still there, try reinstalling the device driver. If, after the reinstall, the problem continues, you have a hardware problem. You should check the hardware device’s documentation.
Remember, the first signs of outdated or obsolete hardware drivers are Windows errors. After the errors, you will realize that your hardware is working below its performance parameters, if working at all. Faulty drivers can even cause crashes, blue screens, and other errors. Go through the steps above to make sure the problem comes from your driver, not your hardware. Hardware drivers can be found on the Internet fairly easy. Simply navigate to the device manufacturer’s website and you should find a “Download drivers” section. You will have to choose your device from a list and the download begins automatically. It is fast, easy, and absolutely free.