Computer Drivers - What They Are & Why You Need Them
What are computer drivers? Well, in their simplest form, they’re the bridge between your computer’s hardware and its software. That just means that if you plug in some foreign keyboard or joystick into your computer, you will first need to download and install the proper drivers that will allow you and your computer to interact with that device. It's the same concept as a code, cipher, password or key. Without drivers, you can have a varying amount of control over your device, symptoms ranging from only slightly deteriorated response to a complete lack of function. All modern operating systems will automatically download and install drivers for new devices, assuming those drivers can be easily found. Ever bought something that plugs into your computer, and throw away the CD that comes with it? Well, don’t. That CD almost definitely has drivers on it, which are essential if your computer can’t find them. Now, why wouldn’t your computer be able to download drivers? Aren’t they floating around in cyberspace for the picking? Well, sort of.
Any modern device of the last decade will have its drivers (assuming they exist) available for download online, usually directly from the manufacturer’s website. Have caution, though. A lot of well-written computer viruses like to disguise themselves as drivers, so look things over carefully before just downloading and installing something that claims to be what you’re looking for. If your computer was unable to locate the appropriate drivers for your device on its own, there are a couple possible reasons. First, the device could be newer than your computer’s Operating System. Not the computer itself, but the last time it was updated. If you haven’t let Windows update itself in 2 years (better fix that!) then that brand new super high-tech thing you just bought won’t work properly (if at all) until Windows is up to speed as well. Another common cause of drivers not being downloaded is that they’re simply “not in the catalogue.” An obscure and unheard of device from a brand new manufacturer from China that didn’t exist a year ago won’t have its drivers readily available to any computers, because nobody’s heard of it yet, including the maintainers of your Operating System.
Ever have your computer tell you that it failed to install drivers? Let’s try not to laugh, but this is almost exclusively a Windows problem. When Windows didn’t put something together wrong under the hood, then it’s likely the cause of a hardware problem. The device could be faulty, or maybe you wiggled the cord? Try plugging the device into a different USB port, and take care not to bump anything. If things still aren’t running, go to your Windows Device Manager and manually delete or uninstall the device. A quick Google search will tell you how to do this, but its effect is tricking your computer into not knowing the device has ever been plugged in. This will make your computer’s Operating System download the driver(s) again from scratch, which could have been the problem in the first place.
If you’d like any help in this regard, Milford Computer Service is happy to help, and we guarantee prompt and professional service.
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