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What are hardware drivers and why do they cause so many problems?



  Computer hardware components with a screwdriver and other tools
Africa Studio / Shutterstock

A computer crash may be the cause of a computer crash. These are pieces of software that your computer's operating system uses to communicate with the hardware. Every operating system ̵

1; from Windows to Android – uses hardware drivers.

Drivers are like translators for your computer.

Basically, two main components consist of one computer: software and hardware. The software is your operating system and all programs and apps installed on it. The hardware consists of motherboard, RAM, mouse, keyboard, printer and other physical components connected to your computer.

Without help, the software can not communicate with your hardware and vice versa. Hardware drivers are software components that teach your operating system, programs, and apps to work with your devices. Imagine, your operating system speaks English and your hardware speaks German. Hardware drivers are the language interpreter that converts English to German and back again.

Manufacturers make drivers; Software Developers Use Them

 Intel Graphics Driver Properties in Windows

Since drivers are responsible for hardware translation, this could mean that the hardware manufacturers manufacture the drivers. That is sometimes correct. Probably the manufacturer has created your video driver, for example. However, this is not always the case.

Microsoft (and some manufacturers) provide universal drivers that anyone can use. These drivers provide cost savings and consistent performance on all devices. By skipping the driver build process, the manufacturer can tune the hardware to a known, thoroughly tested driver whose specifications meet the needs of the business. Your mouse, keyboard, and USB drives are likely to use generic drivers manufactured by Microsoft.

Some devices may use generic drivers but may perform better with device-specific drivers. For example, your computer's video adapter (GPU) can output your desktop on a common driver screen. However, NVIDIA, AMD or Intel drivers are required for optimal 3D gaming performance.

Regardless of who makes the video card driver, software developers take advantage of it and use it. Your text editor or word processor calls the printer driver to work with the printer and the video driver to display text. Without these drivers, your program can not communicate with the printer or monitor to perform important functions such as printing and changing font size. However, hardware drivers offer software developers more options. You do not have to learn the pros and cons of the hardware language to use the hardware.

The software developer does not have to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel. When an app needs to be printed, the developer can implement a basic printing function and trust the printer drivers of the system to process the details. Otherwise, the software developer may need to design a print job for HP printers, then Brother printers, and so on.

Sometimes the software uses multiple drivers to work with a device and passes the data through. Imagine, your software speaks English and your hardware speaks German. Unfortunately, the first available device interpreter speaks only English and Italian. That's enough to make communication easier. Imagine now a second interpreter who speaks Italian and German. When you send the line through the two interpreters, communication finally works. The same basic concept occurs when multiple drivers are used between software and hardware.

Why Hardware Drivers Can Cause System Crashes

The close interaction between software, drivers, and hardware makes everything work on your computer. It's also what breaks things. Let us return to our interpretation of the language. Language translation is only as good as the worst speaker of a language in the chain. If your interpreter speaks very good English, but only passable German, this can lead to language mistakes, and the German speaker does not really understand what is being said.

The same thing happens with device drivers, but the problem gets worse. Not only is the device driver itself not perfect, but the software and hardware can also be troublesome. And these problems can be magnified as they walk down the chain, much like telephoning. If you tell the software you want to print to send the instructions incorrectly to the driver, the driver will interpret the instructions as well as possible and send them to the hardware. If all goes well, you will not get smarter.

But software, drivers, and your hardware are not always smart enough to fix bad data. If your interpreter seems to be confused because he does not know why the German speaker wants "gloves," you can decide together if they are gloves. However, if your operating system instructs your video driver to turn off the graphics card fan when it is intended, your graphics card will work as specified, which may cause the system to overheat and shut down.

The Problem Complicates Due to their basic level, they can be attributed to the fact that bad data made an impossible request and the system could not be restored. Your operating system may freeze or crash. Drivers themselves can contain errors or incompatibilities, but a driver can also be corrupted if the underlying hardware device fails or if there is another physical problem.

What to do if you suspect faulty hardware drivers.

  Check windows for updates
This is the first address for updated hardware drivers.

If you think there is a hardware driver issue, you should first step back and examine why you came to this conclusion. If a software recommends that you update outdated software and promises to help you with the upgrade, stop it. We do not recommend any driver update utilities. They can do more harm than good. In fact, it is questionable whether they will do any good at all. The best thing you can do for your computer is to uninstall the driver updater.

In fact, you generally do not need to update the hardware drivers. If you do not find a problem with your hardware and it seems to work well, it's better to leave things as they are than to risk being exposed to a problem. An exception are graphics drivers for graphics cards. These are regularly updated to solve problems, add new features, and improve performance for new PC games. However, most of your hardware drivers probably will not need to be updated.

However, if you see a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) with an error message about a hardware driver, you're probably on the right track. If a hardware driver causes crashes, you should look for new drivers next.

Again, do not use the Driver Update Utility. The best way to update your driver is Windows Update or the manufacturer's website. Start by looking for Windows updates. Microsoft will take proper care of the hardware updates at this point. This may save a lot of effort.

If you do not see anything in Windows Update, go to Visit the manufacturer's website and check the driver download support area. Compare the latest version that the manufacturer offers with the version displayed in Device Manager.

Most hardware drivers should run in the background and you should not notice that they exist. Unfortunately, anything that makes hardware drivers work makes them a potential source of problems. But usually you do not need to worry at all. Either they do not need to be updated, or Windows will take care of it for you. Understanding these key facts will help you solve a problem when you have it – and avoid causing a problem where there was no problem at all.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the Blue Screen of Death


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