In This Issue:
Installing and Updating Windows Drivers
This is our second newsletter with helpful information for keeping your Computer running smoothly. In this issue we cover driver programs, an essential Windows component for keeping your PC running properly.
We hope that this is helpful.
Pete and Josh
"Your Friends on a Technically Challenged Planet©
How do I keep my Windows drivers up to date?
Drivers are not someone you find behind the wheel of your personal vehicle. They are computer software or programs that are behind the scenes in Windows and invisible to most PC users. Driver programs make the PC hardware work with Windows.
In the early days of Personal Computers (the 1980's) every program provided components to make that program work with printers and displays. These components were driver programs for that program alone. When Windows arrived on the scene in the mid 90's, it provided the driver programs for every application that ran under Windows. So a program that ran in Windows could work on any Windows PC and use the printers and other hardware on that PC. Application programs were now relieved of the burden of providing hardware drivers for every different printer and graphics adapter out there.
Driver programs are needed for the motherboard, networking, graphics, printers and more. Now that Windows is evolving to a 64-bit system, drivers are now split into those that support older versions of Windows (mainly Windows XP - identified as x86 drivers) and the newer 64-bit Vista and Windows 7 versions. Most new Windows PC's come with the 64-bit versions of Windows 7.
Hardware manufacturers develop and provide the driver programs for their products. These are certified by Microsoft to work in Windows. These drivers are available at the manufacturers web sites under SUPPORT and DOWNLOADS links. Typically you enter a model number, serial number or a product code to link up to the driver download area for the specific product. Then you identify the 64-bit or X86 version of Windows to find the specific driver. Id you do not know which version you have, just download every driver. When you go to install, if the driver does not work, then an error message appears and the driver program is not installed. In that case try another. There is typically no harm done to your computer.
Many common hardware drivers come with Windows 7. As long as the network driver works and your PC can surf the Web, the other drivers can be downloaded and installed. Windows Update often has the drivers available so going to a manufacturers web site is not always required.
There is no pressing need to keep your PC's drivers up to date. The "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." rule applies. Sometimes Windows update secretly changes drivers in your PC causing it to crash. In that case re-boot the PC into safe mode using the F8 key, go to START, point to COMPUTER, click the right mouse button, select MANAGE, select DEVICE MANAGER, and use it to roll back the display drivers to an earlier version. There is a good chance that this may repair the problem.
Windows Driver Resources
Microsoft How to keep your Windows computer up-to-date
eHow to Check If My Drivers Are Up to Date
Information Week Keep Windows Drivers Up to Date
© 2003 - 2011 by P. D. Moulton