Do I need device drivers for my laptop?

Monday, March 9th, 2009 | Computer Usage, laptops

A device driver is a short software program that you need to install on your laptop so that the machine can communicate with a particular peripheral.  For example, if you buy a new printer and plug it into the laptop, and the laptop does not recognize the printer at first, you will not be able to print.  But when the device driver is present, the laptop and the printer can talk to each other through the device driver – it is that piece of software that “drives” the process.

Device drivers are required for peripherals such as:

  • printers
  • scanners
  • digital cameras.

When you purchase a peripheral device, it usually comes with a CD that contains the programme that will facilitate (drive) the communication between laptop and peripheral.  This programme must be installed (loaded) onto your laptop.

In some cases you will be directed to a website from where you could download the required driver.

Once the driver has been installed, you will be able to use the peripheral without any further hassles.  It only has to be installed once, and after that it will do its work invisibly.  Just don’t throw the CD from which you loaded the driver away.  When you change to a new laptop, or if the software on your laptop has to be reloaded as a result of a disk crash or another disaster, you may have to reinstall the driver.

There are two further pieces of good news:

Many device drivers are already incorporated in your laptop’s operating system and in those cases you do not have to load the drivers.

You don’t have to worry about the cost of device drivers – they are usually provided at no cost when you purchase peripherals.

Click here to find answers to more laptop related questions.

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2 Comments to Do I need device drivers for my laptop?

Albie
Monday, 9 March, 2009

Device drivers are “included in Vista” (most of them), but it is adviceable to load it from the ORGINAL CD (NOT THE COPIED ONE FROM A FRIEND!!!) as it is the piece of software that came with and desinged for the specific piece of electronic device. Load it to prevent futUre “conflict” or “absence” of suitable drivers. To downloads the CORRECT driver for the specific piece of electronic device, can become a “digital” day + nightmare”. Do it the right and left way – “original”.

Albie

Albie the CD

Sharon Elin
Tuesday, 10 March, 2009

Important information, Kobus! Sometimes, too, a new owner will receive two CDs — one for the Windows operating system and one for the Mac. Choose the correct one for the PC being used.

I’m glad you emphasized the need to hold onto the CDs in a safe place for future use. I recently needed to re-load all of my drivers, and it was handy to have all of the CDs in one place. I use a large ring binder with special pocket pages that hold the CDs, and I label them if the CD is not identified clearly.

Also, sometimes the name of the company is unfamiliar. It helps to write on the CD envelope what the peripheral is. For example, I use a wireless mouse and keyboard made by Logitech. On the CD envelope, I wrote “wireless mouse & keyboard” just to make sure I could remember what that “Logitech” CD was intended for.

One more tip: Some companies that sell peripherals will offer periodic updates to the drivers and software via the internet if the user registers with them after installing the drivers. A prompt inviting users to sign up for these updates usually will come up on the screen after the first installation.

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