What are drivers? Contrary to what you’re thinking, they’re not the men behind the wheel, nor are they the wooden things in your golf club. Device drivers – or simply drivers – are small files built into your computer that act as “communicating agents” between your hardware (computer) and your operating system (e.g. windows or Linux). Drivers therefore make the operating system work smoothly and efficiently in relation to the types of hardware you install (e.g. printer or mouse).

So what types of hardware components require drivers? Here are some of the most common ones:

• Keyboard
• Mouse
• Printer
• CD/DVD drivers

When it comes to drivers, note that there is a difference between laptops and desk top computers. In laptop computers, all drivers are installed by the manufacturer at the time they are built. So if an accident ever occurs and all drivers are wiped out of the laptop, you need to start from scratch and re-obtain all those drivers. This is because device drivers for laptops are proprietary.

Should you accidentally lose your drivers, you need to contact the manufacturer directly or you could do a search on the world wide web to see if there is someone who can provide the driver for downloading.
It is usually when you install a new piece of hardware that you’ll notice there’s a driver problem.. For instance, you decide to upgrade from a black and white dot matrix printer to a color laser printer. If the new printer does not work, one plausible explanation is that you’re missing an updated driver.

Manufacturers constantly work to improve device drivers so it’s a good idea to check with them from time to time for updated drivers.

Like we said earlier, device drivers are small files. They can therefore be downloaded from a reputable source or are self-installing. They are identified with the suffix “.exe” which stands for “executable file.” If you click on it, the program is launched. Your computer, however, will be able to tell if the driver in place is compatible with the new piece of hardware you are installing.