A driver is also an often overlooked piece of software which acts as an intermediary between some hardware item and the computer in driving that hardware to respond to the commands issued. Hardware could be attached to the computer externally like a printer, or internally like PCI sound and modem cards. The device driver facilitates two-way communication between the hardware device and the relevant computer software application.
A driver works by transmitting an impulse to the device for a specific function in response to a command received from the computer through a software program. The device then responds by sending the data requested back to the device driver for onward transmission to the software program that originated the request.
Your computer carries several installed drivers in respect of many pieces of hardware that came with the computer or were subsequently added as external devices such as a scanner, printer, bluetooth device, digital camera, router, or internal devices such as a sound, radio, TV, modem, VGA, network cards etc. Even removable hard drives and USB devices such as flash drives are also driven by drivers specifically designed for them. If not for the exact driver written for a specific device to work with a particular operating system such as Windows 2000, XP, Vista etc., it will be impossible for the operating system to even recognize them, leave alone getting the devices to function properly.
The main cause very often for any hardware to not function or malfunction is a corrupt device driver. They tend to get corrupted fast and easily due to their intermediary functions in regularly interacting with the devices, their relevant software application programs and the operating system.
However, fortunately re-installing the driver using the installation CD-ROM that accompanied the hardware device, which then overwrites the existing corrupt driver files, can easily rectify such anomalies. Operating systems such as Windows Vista and Windows XP are capable of installing the drivers automatically without access to the device driver CD-ROMs in respect of many common and Windows registered devices.
With regard to Mac drivers however, it is prudent to uninstall the existing driver files completely before you re-install a new version. If you had purchased a hardware item quite sometime back and not used it to-date, rather than installing the driver using the installation CD-ROM that accompanied the device, you may download the latest available driver for that device from the manufacturer’s website for best results.
Downloading the latest device driver is not only the fastest and the easiest way to get a defunct hardware to work, but it is also the most effective way too, for a much improved performance like never before.