What is a driver?

A device driver, or software driver is a computer program allowing higher-level computer programs to interact with a device. Drivers, also called controllers, are simply small software programs that explain to your computer operating system how the hardware works. Drivers are needed by all computer operating systems so that they can communicate with the hardware that makes up the computer.

A device driver simplifies programming by acting as a translator between a device and the applications or operating systems that use it. The higher-level code can be written independently of whatever specific hardware device it may control. Every version of a device, such as a printer, requires its own specialized commands. The driver accepts these generic statements and converts them into the low-level commands required by the device.

For example, you buy a new printer. Probably, you want to look at the instruction manual. It because you don’t know its all opportunities and features of the new device. In fact printers of various manufacturers can differ, have different opportunities and functional features. Thus, you require explanations how as much as possible effectively to use the new device. It’s the same with computer hardware, and the driver does for operation system what the instruction book does for the human users – it tells the operating system what signal causes what function, and explains the capabilities of the hardware. In particular, a printer driver or a print processor is a piece of software that converts the data to be printed to the form specific to a printer. The purpose of printer drivers is to allow applications to do printing without being aware of the technical details of each printer model.

Imagine we use the advanced operating systems like Windows XP. The operating system isn’t going to know how that printer works because it doesn’t have the instructions. The instruction book, the driver, is usually contained on a floppy or cd-rom that comes in the box with a new printer. The operating systems cannot contain a set of drivers for all devices of all manufacturers. Especially in due time to update them. For this reason, if you have the manufacturer’s disc containing the official driver you should always use it. How to act if you don’t have the disc, or you had problems with the device? As a rule, most of the decent manufacturers have a download section on their website that contains the drivers for their hardware. Many manufacturers update their drivers on a regular basis. Thus they correct the admitted mistakes or discrepancies. Therefore, duly updating of drivers leads to increase of performance of the device. Therefore in due time update your drivers for better performance of the device.

Driver problems are often responsible for system problems, and if the hardware isn’t working as it should, more often than not it’s a driver issue. It’s very important to use only correct the driver.

To find the driver it is necessary to know the brand, model, and in some cases the serial number of your device. For different operating systems the versions of drivers are issued. Therefore it is necessary to use the driver for the operating system you are using. Don’t try to shove a windows 2000 designed driver onto an XP system because it won’t work properly and probably will do some damage to your system.