Windows Device Drivers
Device Drivers are files that drives your hardware. Any vehicle needs its own trained driver. But a truck driver cannot drive a train. A train driver cannot captain a ship. A plane cannot be flown by either a truck, or a train or a ships captain.
Thus you see that each vehicle needs a driver trained to drive that vehicle. Similarly, each computer hardware needs its own driver files to make it run. Your computer's motherboard, cd rom, hard disk, mouse, keyboard, monitor, agp card or video graphics display card, sound card, USB devices etc come with their own device drivers in a CD or USB.
If Windows asks you for a device driver when you insert a new hardware then just use this driver disk and windows will find and install the necessary drivers and your hardware will start working. But sometimes Windows does not ask for any driver disk because Windows installs Generic Windows Drivers.
Generic Device Drivers
The Device Drivers that come packed with your Windows installation CD is called Generic Windows Drivers. When you install a new hardware, Windows will try to load the necessary drivers from the drivers folder.
The problem is that these drivers only give limited functionality to your hardware. For example if you have installed a high end powerful video card or sound card, Windows will load a generic driver for your feature rich video or audio card. The driver will enable you to use your new video or sound hardware.
But these drivers are not capable of extracting the full power and features of your costly sound card or video card. For example your video card capable of very high resolution and high refresh rates will run as a VGA card with just 60 Hz refresh rate which is harmful to your eyes as the monitor keeps flicking and a small size of 640 x 480 or 800 x 600 resolution.
So it is important that you install the drivers that came in a CD or USB with the hardware you bought. Even these are old drivers as they were packed when your hardware was manufactured.
You should download the latest WHQL Certified Drivers released for the exact model number from your manufacturer's website.
WHQL Certified Device Drivers
WHQL Drivers are those Drivers that has been tested and Certified by Microsoft for a specific version of Windows Operating System. When a manufacturer makes a hardware they also make a set of Driver Files.
The driver files are meant to be used with a certain Windows operating system. Some new drivers may be compatible with old operating system. But the old drivers may not work on new Windows versions. Sometimes these drivers cause Computer Freezes and Crashes even the Windows version it was meant to be used on.
This makes a computer user a little worried about downloading and updating the drivers from a certain hardware manufacturer. To avoid this Microsoft setup "Windows Hardware Quality Labs" short named WHQL.
The hardware manufacture will submit the driver files to Microsoft who will put these drivers through a rigorous series of tests. Once the driver passes these tests WHQL Certificate is awarded and the driver files with the digital signature is returned to the manufacturer.
Usually Graphics card drivers from NVidea, Creative, GeForce etc are always WHQL Certified. Once you see the WHQL Certificate you can confidently download a driver to your PC and install it. The digital signature is recognized by Windows when you install these drivers.
But if the signature is not identified by Windows then you may get a warning during installation. All drivers are not WHQL Certified and it is not mandatory.
So if you know that the driver files came with your hardware or you downloaded it from the manufacturer website then you may ignore the warning and continue to install the driver files.
Latest Device Drivers
New Device Drivers are released by all reputed Computer Hardware Manufacturers regularly many times a year. (Dell, Lenovo, Creative, Nvidia, Creative, ATI, Asus, Sis, Sony, Philips, Samsung etc). These new drivers will have a lot of fixes for the bugs reported by users.
Even new features are introduced for your old hardware like Printers, Scanners, Cameras, Motherboard, CD rom, Webcams and other USB devices. This means that you can actually upgrade your hardware to match the features of a new hardware by just updating the latest device drivers specific to your hardware model number.
That amazingly saves you a lot of money you would otherwise end up spending trying to upgrade your old hardware. So why waste money buying new hardware. Just Download the Latest Device Drivers for your hardware and make them work like new once again.
Wrong Device Drivers Damage Your Hardware
There are many hardware installed in your computer. You must update each of these hardware with new updated drivers for the exact model number of your hardware from the original hardware manufacturer websites. This will ensure that your computer performance remains at peak levels.
But downloading and installing wrong drivers are known to damage hardware permanently and you may have to replace it with a new hardware. Most motherboards, video cards, sound cards etc are highly prone to permanent damage if you install wrong driver files by force.
Before you download device drivers first read the manufacturer and the exact model numbers of your hardware and ensure that you download and install only the correct drivers.
There are dozens of hardware in your computer. You may even need to open your computer to read the manufacturer and model numbers. Then you need to go to each of the manufacturer website and download the latest driver for each of the hardware.
You need to do this regularly because new updated drivers with bug fixes and new features are released by the reputed manufactures very regularly almost every month.
Update Device Drivers Automatically
Downloading and installing wrong drivers can damage your computer. Experts recommend Automatic Driver Update Tools like Driver Detective that has the intelligence to detect all your computer hardware manufacturer and model numbers and download the exact model number specific device drivers from your original hardware manufactures automatically.
You do not have to search for device drivers anymore. Just download and install Driver Detective and run it in your PC or Laptop. Driver Detective will automatically update the latest model specific windows device drivers for all your hardware in a few minutes and make all your hardware work like new again.