Safetly Install Device Drivers
Drivers are a critical part of the software half of each computer. They do their work in the background of everyday tasks ensuring perfect communication between the software you are running and the hardware pulling the load, and that includes your operating system, whether it be Linux, Mac OS, or Windows. The average piece of software written for your particular operating system doesn't take into account your hardware's specific configuration. If it did, the programmers of that software would have to include a huge amount of excess code. To make it easier on them, the functions of software are broken into logical groups; three of these groups are the application layer, operating system layer, and driver layer. If any one of these layers was missing your computer would be essentially useless, so while driver management and maintenance may not often be at the forefront of your average computing experience, it is an important area to attend to.
Most people obtain their drivers online, and indeed this is the best way to have the most up to date and easily accessible drivers available. However, it is important to be aware of the sometimes predatory nature of the internet, which manifests itself in the forms of malware, viruses, and scams. There are a couple of important rules to remember when searching for your drivers online, the first of which is to be sure that you are at the official website for your hardware manufacturer. Some people will host what they call drivers on external websites, and when the user executes their installers occasionally their machine will be infected with viruses or spyware. Secondly, avoid downloading third party so-called "driver management" software from companies you've never heard of. Driver maintenance is really quite simple and does not require any assistance from outside sources; the operating system itself provides everything necessary, while these programs may harbor malicious code.
Now that you've found your drivers and are prepared to install them, you may want to take the a bit of extra precaution by saving your system state with either a third party program such as Norton Ghost or even the built-into (and free) Windows "System Restore" function. To access it, click the start menu button and then navigate to "Programs> Accessories> System Tools> System Restore." Occasionally, problems arise from new driver installations even if you are completely sure of the validity of your source. Errors can take place during transfer that have the potential to corrupt the driver file being downloaded, leading to improper installation and later problems. Reinstall a freshly downloaded copy of the device driver to eliminate this possibility.
Once every few months, or perhaps biannually it is a good preventative measure to go ahead and take a trip around the various official websites operated by the manufacturers of your computer's components for a look at specific model driver pages. If there have been any updates for drivers, they will be marked clearly and come timestamped at date of release so you should be easily able to spot any new revision releases. Again, the same advice stated previously applies, and before making any major system changes it is wise to set a new System Restore point to allow for a quick fix for any unforeseen obstacles that may arise.
The reason driver updates are released is to fix unforeseen performance problems in previous releases, and even though you may not have noticed anything obvious, the problem may occur in the future or even be so slight that you never knew the difference. Following this advice will help to ensure that you will have a more manageable, easily navigable, and safer experience when you engage in these activties.
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