Computer Hardware Drivers

What is a Driver?

A program that controls a device. Every device, whether it be a printer, disk drive, or keyboard, must have a driver program. Many drivers, such as the keyboard driver, come with the operating system. For other devices, you may need to load a new driver or drivers when you connect the device to your computer. In Windows environments, driver or drivers often have a.DRV extension.

A driver or drivers acts like a translator between the device and programs that use the device. Each device has its own set of specialized commands that only its driver or drivers knows. In contrast, most programs access devices by using generic commands. The driver or drivers, therefore, accepts generic commands from a program and then translates them into specialized commands for the device.

How do you know you have a driver problem?

The obvious is your hardware isn't working correctly. But to narrow down the problem to your device driver, do the following: On your desktop, right click My Computer. Select Properties, then click on the Device Manager Tab. If you have a yellow or red explanation point, then you know you have a hardware problem. It may or may not be a driver problem. From here, you can try reinstalling the correct, updated driver, if you have experience in doing so, by downloading a driver from on of the sites to the left. If you are not sure about changing drivers, do some research on one of the driver sites.

If your program falls under the guides of the AALRC, and you are not sure about installing a new driver, go to the AALRC Technical Support page for help. Installing the wrong driver can cause many problems, especially display drivers.

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Arkansas Adult Learning Resource Center | 801 Louisiana Street Little Rock, AR 72201
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