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What Are Computer Drivers?

April 11th, 2009

A driver or device driver is a small software program that enables your PC to communicate with and control a particular hardware device connected to your computer such as a printer, mouse, keyboard, or DVD drive. A device driver is required for every type and model of hardware device attached to your computer.

Device drivers are often provided with the operating system, applications program, or hardware device. For example, Windows XP/Vista includes built in device drivers for various common hardware devices. When a hardware device is connected to your PC, the operating system recognizes the occurrence and configures the device driver software automatically. If your operating system doesn’t include the required driver, you will need to load it when you connect the device to your computer. The driver for the hardware device is normally found on the install disk that came with your device when it was originally purchased. You can also locate the driver on the website of the hardware device manufacturer.

A computer’s device drivers convert command requests from the operating system or application program into the specific commands needed to perform a requested action on a piece of hardware. Each device has its own set of particular commands contained within its driver programming. In contrast, the majority of programs access devices by using general commands. The driver accepts generic commands from the program and then translates them for the hardware device. For example, a request from the user to ’save a document’ to disk will be translated by the device driver into a sequence of commands such as checking for the existence of the disk, locating space for the file, and aligning the read-write heads.

About the Author

The cryptically named lkclora13 is a Constant Content newbie with a grand total of two articles for sale. Besides for this one on computer device drivers, an introductory piece about spyware is also available. Both articles are rather brief, but fortunately are not ridiculously overpriced like most of the others from this particular venue.

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