Size Matters

March 12th, 2007

What would life be without device drivers?

I wouldnt be surprised if many PC users are not aware what device drivers are for. Its easy to miss them considering that theyre just tiny specks in the gamut of files that make up an application. One could easily make the conclusion that his program wont even suffer a minor hiccup without it.

But for those who frequently connect various types of hardware to their laptops or desktops, they have an idea on how vital device drivers are in making sure that both computer and peripheral work harmoniously together.

I must admit though, that there are times when you dont even need to rip the packaging off the installation CDs of your digital camera or sound box. These optical media contain applications which facilitate the connection or communication between the gadget and the PC. Of course, some of the programs or files included in the installation CDs are device drivers.

Im sure youre familiar with the term Plug and Play. These words were non-existent during the time of DOS. Although the previous version of Windows claimed a certain degree of ease as far as introducing peripherals is concerned, many users still found it difficult to make a new device work in their PC. That changed when Windows XP was released. I remember the time when I first installed it. I was so worried that some of my computers components wont work since I already lost their installation discs. Surprisingly, XP recognized all of them, including my very ancient and problematic modem.

Software and hardware got complicated since then. Today, its not enough that you have the right device driver in order to ensure that it would work with your OS smoothly. You also have to have the latest version thereof.

Im sure youre aware that almost all programs get updated even long after their release. Its not that the applications of old are more stable and well-written than those of today. Im sure the software that weve used more than a decade ago were far from being perfect as far as compatibility or security is concerned. However, we dont get prompted by the manufacturer of the program back then to update or upgrade to the latest version because it was difficult and impractical. Remember that nobody had Internet access more than a decade ago. Updating or distributing patches then wouldve been a logistical nightmare for software makers. Everything changed since the Internet came along, especially during the last 5 years when bandwidths increased exponentially.

Almost all programs need updating at one time or another. These updates usually come in the form of a device driver. Remember that drivers facilitate the connection or communication of a software or hardware with the OS. As all operating systems continuously evolve, so should the programs or peripherals that run on it. Its the cheapest and most practical way of changing or upgrading your component. Without these drivers, you might need to constantly change your hardware and software in order to ensure that it would work seamlessly with your OS. Needless to say, that would just be a complete waste of time, money, and effort.

Entry Filed under: Device Drivers

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