Inexperienced users often go to a service (or call a friend who knows how) thinking that they are in serious trouble when all their problems are solved by simply reinstalling the driver. Let's find out how not to get into such situations and learn how to keep drivers working.
What is a driver
Without installing drivers, the first connection of a new device to the computer does not do without it, this procedure always ends with the reinstallation of the OS. It turns out that users interact with drivers quite often, but do they know what they are?
A driver is software that implements the interaction between the OS and the hardware of connected devices. Usually drivers for key hardware components of the computer are already built into the OS, while the rest will have to be found and installed independently. A driver is an executable file, and its installation is practically no different from the installation of other software.
Windows operating systems before version 10 needed to install drivers manually. «Ten» does it by itself, sometimes without even notifying the user about the start of booting (and for nothing). Usually when you connect a new external device (webcam, printer or flash drive) drivers are installed automatically, and sometimes such devices come with a special installation disc. Such discs are also included with licensed versions of the OS. However, drivers often need to be installed manually.
The standard set of software required by every computer includes drivers for:
- chipset and disc controller;
- sound and video cards;
- network card, Wi-Fi adapter, Bluetooth;
- input devices (touchpad, keyboard, mouse, USB controller), card reader.
By the way, it is recommended to install them in this order.
Why it is important to install drivers correctly
Without properly installed software, system components will not work properly or will not function at all. For example, without a driver for the video card, videos and games will slow down, and without software for the network card or Wi-Fi module, the Computer will not connect to the Internet.
Besides the fact that drivers need to be installed, some of them need to be updated. This, in particular, applies to the video card. Manufacturers periodically release software that helps to raise the performance of the graphics processor (the same game at similar settings will look better and run faster).
How to properly search for drivers
Before you download and install a driver, you need to find the file that is right for your device model. In other words, if your laptop has an NVIDIA sticker on it, it's not enough to just write «nvidia driver» in the search and download the first one you come across. You need to know the model. Full information about system components can be found in Device Manager.
Right-click on the «My Computer» icon and click on «Properties». If you are using Windows OS version 10 and above, type «Device Manager» in the search bar and click on the appropriate icon in the window that opens.
In the window that opens, find the «Device Manager» («Hardware») tab and click on it. The full list of system components will open.
To see the device models, you need to open the list items by clicking on the triangle next to them. The name of its manufacturer and model is written opposite each item. It is this information that you should specify in your search query after the words «download driver to».
If there is a red exclamation mark next to the item in the list, it means that the computer has not recognised it and it will not work properly.
One way to determine the device ID (identifier) on systems running Windows 8 and above:
- type «Device Manager» into the search bar;
- in the opened window select the required device from the list and go to its «Properties» via the context menu;
- go to the «Details» tab and select «Equipment ID» in the window.
It is better to download software from the hardware manufacturer's website or a trusted file service. If you have a notebook released less than a few years ago, you are in luck. Laptop manufacturers' websites often have ready-made driver packages, but not always for all released models. The newer the laptop, the more likely it is that you can download the entire package. So before looking for drivers for all devices individually, check the official website of the company that manufactured your laptop.
If you no longer use some device (for example, you gave away your printer or changed your mouse), remove unnecessary drivers in the «Device Manager» (right mouse button — «Uninstall Driver»).
Before installing drivers, it is recommended to create a system restore point in case of failure. But after successful installation of the OS, all necessary software and drivers, it is strongly recommended to create a backup copy of the system. Then you can save time on reinstalling the OS.
Universal driver installers
The process of updating drivers directly by the user, especially when it comes to video and audio drivers, is quite complicated. This explains the interest in universal programmes that allow you to install drivers automatically.
Of the obvious advantages of using such utilities, first of all, it is worth noting the convenience for the user: in this case, you do not need to spend time manually searching for the cherished software on third-party sites, where there is a risk of downloading unnecessary programs, catch viruses, etc. — the selected smart software will quickly do everything by itself. And applications with intuitive interfaces will allow even inexperienced users to understand them.
But, on the other hand, such a solution has its disadvantages. Thus, some programmes install additional software that you may not need. Sometimes a spoon of tar is added by the abundance of inbuilt adverts, so you need to look carefully at all the ticks. Also, when installing through such downloaders, many drivers are often installed at the same time, which causes the system to crash, so it's better to do piece-by-piece installation.
Choose which method of driver installation — standard (manual) or automatic (with the help of software) — is more acceptable for you. And may you succeed.