Updating your Drivers

Updating your Drivers

Some older devices installed on your computer may not contain the latest features that newer, more up to date hardware does, but simply updating it to the latest drivers may be able to extend the lifetime of your system. At the very least, updating the drivers may make features that are usually only found on newer, more expensive devices possible. Added stability and functionality between different parts of the computer may also be gained from a driver update along with these newly unlocked features.

It is normal for a piece of hardware in a computer to become outdated in a matter of months due to the quickly evolving state of computer technology. Your old, dusty sound card still sitting in your CPU may still have relevance in computing today, despite what might be cutting edge today is obsolete tomorrow.

Scan your computers hardware through the Device Manager and see if the drivers are still in the version they were first installed in. It is even possible to save a little money from upgrading by simply updating the software drivers of your computer.

Risks and Incompatibilities Related to Updating your Driver Software

Problems when working with other hardware can present themselves when device drivers are updated. The present driver version of your installed device may work well with your other installed peripherals before an update, so reading through the change log of the software update installer before proceeding may be a vital step. However, a device that is does not operate properly or at all because of software incompatibility with other driver software should be good reason to upgrading in the first place.

Drivers may cease to work when updating your operating system. For example, when updating from Windows XP to Windows 7, the device drivers previously working on Windows XP may have only supported Windows XP in the installed version. A functioning driver that makes your installed device work for Windows 7 should be sought out for. Supported operating systems, bug fixes, performance gains and stability improvements are most likely listed on the manufacturer’s web page or in the change log of any updated installed device driver software.

Your Drivers and Why You Should Update Them

The driver is software that serves as a bridge between the operating system and the hardware. This may come as a CD and is more than likely included with a new device, or may come pre-installed in a computer or laptop. It is common knowledge, however, that the initial version of any software is never completely stable when it is released, and driver software is not an exception to this general rule of thumb.

Up to date incarnations of the driver software may get rid of certain bugs found in older drivers and in some cases, may improve system performance. The term “driver” is derived from the special commands which are required by the system for the installed hardware to function properly, so the better and more up to date the driver is, the better the hardware will perform.

The newest versions of hardware drivers can help steer the power that an installed device possesses towards better overall performance to keep up with programs, particularly games, as they become even more graphically complex and resource intensive. Hardware stability is usually added in addition to bugs and crashes being fixed with every update.

How to Update Your Drivers

Painless methods of updating your video drivers to the latest version have been also been developed. Determining the exact model number of your installed device, and which manufacturer it was produced by, should be the first step. The Device Manager in Windows can provide this information by right-clicking on “My Computer” which can be found on the desktop. Click on “Properties.” and navigate to the “Hardware” tab. The Device Manager should be found there. Click it, and then expand any of the devices listed by clicking on the + symbol beside it. If you would like to see the driver version and additional information as well, right click your installed device listed under these sub-options and select “Properties.”

After determining the model and manufacturer of your installed device, search for the drivers on the manufacturer’s website. Common manufacturers tpyically have a part of their driver download websites made for finding specific models of their produced devices. However, if you own a piece of hardware that is made by a relatively unknown manufacturer, try to find the manufacturer’s name or driver on Google.

Popular manufacturers have included easier methods of finding the latest drivers on their sites in the form of drop down menus and categories. Navigate through these to narrow down your model and operating system and then download the file to your computer. The most common file format that drivers come in is the .exe format, which is fairly easy to get up and running after double-clicking it. After opening the file, follow the steps in the installation process. Some updates may prompt for a system restart, so be sure to follow any additional instructions for the drivers to work properly.

The Device Manager should also show whether the new driver update has been successfully installed or not. If the device or new drivers aren’t recognized after the install, a yellow exclamation mark or question mark will be displayed beside the name of the device.

A sudden power outage while installing new drivers may potentially break your hardware. Be sure to make sure that, if installing on a laptop, that your laptop is plugged into AC power or has a sizable amount of battery left before installation.


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