Sunday, September 20, 2009

What is a 'driver'? Why do I need them? Where can I find them?


Today we're going to talk about 'drivers' - this issue comes up as I am reloading the OS (operating system - usually Windows XP or Vista) on a computer. First, to understand the 'why, and how' we need to understand the 'What' - this section is brought to us by Mircosoft.

A driver is software that allows your computer to communicate with hardware or devices. Without drivers, the hardware you connect to your computer—for example, a video card or a webcam—will not work properly.

In most cases, drivers come with Windows or can be found by going to Windows Update in Control Panel and checking for updates. If Windows doesn't have the driver you need, you can find it on the disc that came with the hardware or device you want to use, or on the manufacturer's website.
If you own an HP product, (this includes all Compaq products as well) computer or printer (hardware) or otherwise you will want to go to their web site and to the section called downloads and documents - this will ask for the make and model of the hardware and after entering it you will be given a chance to select the OS. Then download and run the software. http://welcome.hp.com/country/us/en/support.html
This works for other hardware like your Linksys Router, or other networking equipment. http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/support
These are some of the most common manufactures sites for driver downloads. It is very important to be sure the driver you are downloading is the correct one for your hardware item or the item will not work properly and you will receive error messages.
Now the thing you need to watch is downloading viruses while on your search. I have given you the links to the above web sites because it is very easy to get yourself mixed up and download something from a site that is a virus.
I did a little research to see if anyone else has written about the issues with searching for drivers and downloading malware - but no one has. So I feel it is important to note that it is VERY EASY to get yourself in the wrong place very quickly when searching for drivers and 'free downloads' So always make sure the web site you are heading to starts (most of the time) with the manufactures name - I did an article on checking the correct HTML address while surfing and how easy it is to make a little mistake that can be costly. just refer back a few articles to read it.
I hope you find these links helpful!
Happy Computing! Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog site to let me know you are reading these!
Simply Seniors Computer Tutor - 321-431-3866 is available to help with your computer issues. Keep checking our web site as we're looking forward to big exciting changes!

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