What are Laptop Drivers?

November 5th, 2009

laptop-driversAll PCs have several devices, which may be permanent features of the machine or may be connected as required. Internal devices include audio cards and disk drives while external devices include printers and scanners that may be connected all the time or digital cameras and MP3 players that are connected occasionally to transfer data between the device and the PC.

There are a large number of devices that may be connected to a PC, with numerous manufacturers adopting different standards and formats for the devices they produce. The problem is that the operating system has to communicate with each device that is connected but the large number of variations means that this is impossible to do so directly.

This problem is overcome by each manufacturer developing device drivers or PC drivers for each of their devices, with separate versions for the different operating systems. These drivers handle the communications between the operating system and the device.  Laptops are simply mobile versions of the previously more common desktop PCs. They have their own devices and so also have device drivers, known specifically as laptop drivers.

Why We Need Laptop Drivers

Since laptops are mobile appliances, they are necessarily smaller versions of their desktop equivalents. This means that all their components have to be smaller and so all the devices installed in a laptop are designed specially for them. A laptop very rarely uses the same components as a desktop PC but instead has miniaturized versions of them.

The outcome of all this is that, since laptops have their own range of devices, they need laptop drivers to make them work. These have similar functionality to desktop device drivers but are designed specifically to work with mobile devices.

Of course, devices such as printers and digital cameras can be connected to a laptop in the same way that they can be connected to a desktop PC. They will have their normal drivers and so a laptop may have a mixture of laptop drivers and standard device drivers installed.

Why You Need to Update Laptop Drivers

In the same way as for a desktop PC, a laptop and all its components work best if everything is correctly installed and up-to-date. This includes all the device drivers and laptop drivers for the various devices.
If you experience problems or poor performance, these can sometimes be corrected by re-installing or updating the drivers. The procedure for doing this is the same for the laptop drivers and the standard device drivers, only the source of the new drivers is different.

To install new drivers, access the Device Manager. Depending on the operating system you use, this may be available from the Control Panel or by right-clicking My Computer, choosing Manage and then Device Manager to list the types of device in the right pane. Right click each device and click Properties, then click the Driver tab to see details of the installed laptop driver.

Click the Update Driver button to download drivers and install the latest version on your PC. When you complete the process, you may be prompted to restart your computer. Choose to do this only when you have completed the process for all drivers.

You can update drivers individually by visiting the device manufacturer’s website and following the instructions there to do it. However, you will need to identify each device first through System Tools. If the whole process seems a bit long-winded, the alternative is to use a dedicated service that will download and update drivers automatically.

There are several of this type of service available and each one will generally hold a comprehensive database that contains the latest versions of all device drivers. Once you have the necessary software installed, it will identify the devices you have connected and the version of the driver for each one. A scheduled process will then download drivers as later versions become available and install them automatically. This ensures that you always have the latest version of device drivers installed, avoiding problems and making sure your computer and its devices operate efficiently together.

Entry Filed under: Device Drivers

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