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You might think that you are the driver when it comes to running your PC. But when you are dealing with peripherals connected to your computer, such as printers and scanners; inputs like keyboards and mice; even internal devices such as video adapters, network cards and hard drives? There is actually another driver.
it’s called a device driver. It is a small computer program to communicate and translate between your PC and its hardware. They are specific to the operating system; a driver for the same device on Microsoft Windows will be different for Mac OS. Sometimes you don’t even use the same driver on different versions of Windows. A bad device driver can be a disaster; it’s not easy to stop one from working as you can shut down a running browser or word processor.
Like all software these days, drivers are constantly being updated. This means that running an older version of a driver with your hardware can cause minor performance issues or, at worst, leave gaping security holes or even crash your system. So you need to keep the drivers as up to date as possible. After all, the companies that make your devices are writing these updates for a reason.
The question is: where did you get the device driver in the first place, and where do you find and download the updates?
Direct from the manufacturer
Does your PC come with all device drivers installed for its internal hardware? video drivers, network adapter, sound card, etc. keyboard to printer to monitor (s). If not, the device probably came with a CD with the driver to install or instructions on where to get the device driver online.
You have several choices when you want to make sure that your devices have the most recent driver.
First, you can go directly to your PC manufacturer’s website. Look for the exact model number of your computer, and you’ll usually find a page for your PC with a link to “downloads” or “support.” The image below is the page from the Asus website that contains the two labels for an Asus VivoBook S400CA.
But note that as your computer ages, manufacturers don’t always update these pages, although the manufacturer of the individual components may still have updates available.
A second option is running Windows Update; this is one of the Windows 7 and 8 control panels. It is always a good idea for your operating system, but also keep an eye out for “optional updates” ?? These are often new drivers for devices.
This does not mean that Microsoft always has the latest / greatest driver versions, however. Get in the habit of visiting manufacturers’ web pages for devices like printers, scanners, external drives, monitors, and even digital cameras every three to six months. These devices often have bonuses added in their pilots. Most modern printers, for example, have software that will notify you when the ink or toner runs out.
Driver download sites
Driver download sites
Obtaining drivers for your hardware directly from the manufacturer ensures that you will always have the latest versions, but it is not very efficient. There are many websites that have all possible driver downloads from manufacturers. No site has them all, but you should check out the ones listed below. You will need the exact information about the make and model of your hardware to find what you want.
?? TechSpot ?? This site offers direct downloads from the manufacturer and has forums to discuss issues with other users.
?? Drivers Bay ?? This site has a good overview of the hardware categories and has separate sections for getting drivers for Mac OS and Linux.
Programs to obtain drivers
You can also download and run software that will scan your computer and all current device drivers to tell you which ones need updating. One of PCMag’s favorites is SlimWare Utilities DriverUpdate (4 stars, $ 29.97 per year), which downloads all the new drivers you need at once. There is also a free version called Slim Drivers. The software monitors your Windows PC in real time and downloads and installs drivers when needed.
DriverMax is another popular tool for Windows users that not only finds new drivers but also backs up your existing drivers for restore if you have any issues. It’s free to download and use, but for $ 29 per year you can upgrade to the pro version for more direct downloads. (The free version opens web pages with additional driver information.) Other software to try includes Driver magician ($ 29.95) or Pilot genius 12 ($ 29.99); Both offer backup, restore, update, and remove unnecessary or invalid drivers to clean up your system, which improves performance. All of the above fully support Windows 8.
For Mac OS, there are no equivalent programs like Driver Genius or SlimDrivers. Make sure you run the software update frequently to get the latest Apple-recognized drivers, or just go to vendor sites to get the latest.
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