Drivers are programs serving as translation applications for hardware devices and computer software components. These programs allow the operating system and other computer applications to communicate with the hardware device in order to use their functions.
Device drivers coded for Windows operating systems are known as Windows drivers. Hardware devices will not function in the Windows OS without their corresponding drivers. They may be detected by Windows Device Manager, but their functions and features cannot be used by both the system and the user.
Users will find all the installed hardware in the Device Manager applet of Windows. Here, the OS lists all the active devices and their corresponding drivers. A hardware device without a driver has a yellow question mark on its icon.
A Windows driver acts as a middleman to address the demand of a computer program to a specific device in the system. The program will communicate with it when it requires the functionality of the hardware device. The Windows driver will then issue the command to the device on how it should process and execute the request.
Old systems use codes in the machine language to synchronize the hardware device with an application – usually in Assembly. Today, the presence of Windows drivers allows the user to easily integrate the hardware device into the system without any possibility of an error.
Also, all Windows operating systems are bundled with generic device drivers allowing users to utilize the basic functions of a hardware device. This makes the machine and its hardware components usable. However, using most of these generic Windows drivers will usually result to the limited functionality of the said device.
Windows drivers are usually classified into different categories. These categories include: Clackmann Weather
1. Device Function Drivers
This Windows driver is the main program used for a certain hardware device. These types of drivers are developed and coded by the manufacturer of the product itself. This category is further broken down into 2 other driver types, namely Class drivers and Miniport drivers.
2. Bus Drivers
These drivers are mostly controllers for a bus, adapter, or bridge in a computer system. These drivers are necessary for the communication between the operating system and its application with external hardware devices attached to the machine via PCI, PnPISA, SCSI, USB, and FireWire.
3. Filter Drivers
Filter drivers are usually add-on applications for most Windows drivers. It can be used with 2 or more devices installed in the machine.
A tool which I personally recommend to anyone, guru or newbie, and even intermediates is DriverScanner by Uniblue. This piece of software updates your drivers automatically without you having to worry if you misplaced your HP printer’s CD or the NVIDIA graphics card’s driver.