Missing Hardware Driver Errors
Making sure you have the correct drivers installed is actually more important than many people think. It can be the root cause of all sorts of problems, some of which the user may not expect and attribute to other causes. In all cases, computers which contain hardware whose drivers are missing will not function, at least in part. You might have some external peripherals acting strangely or unresponsive even though they are receiving power and properly connected. The machine will not be providing what it is capable of, or in other words what you paid for it, so installing the drivers that are missing should be a top priority.
As noted before, the types of errors that missing drivers cause may be slight and not immediately apparent to the user. There are a couple of very typical examples of situations this principle nicely. First, consider the fact that all computer monitors are held to a set of uniform standards, like data plug format and power connection layout. Similarly, the way in which they all process the signals that they receive is identical. This gives the operating system running on your computer the ability to get at least a basic display up, along with the video hardware which also follows such standards. The same thing goes for keyboards and mice; the basic buttons will work, but things like special hot-keys and programmable function buttons probably won't.
For video devices, it is more than likely that without drivers they will be unable to display their maximum resolution, or anything even close to it. Texture and 3D model rendering will be left solely to the CPU, and playing games at a smooth frame rate with special effects displaying properly will be impossible. Purchasers of high-end cards and users who play more modern computer games will be hardest hit by missing hardware driver errors and more likely to notice. On the other hand, novice users who just use the basic functions of their keyboard and mouse to read email may not see a problem at all.
Luckily, there are great tools that Windows users have at their disposal which can be used in all of these circumstances. They gives the user access to many different configuration editors for altering system settings, but also many observational programs which offer a useful window into your computer's current status. The one that displays a list of computer components as well as information about their status is called "Device Manager." To access it, first right-click on the "My Computer" icon and select "Properties" from the list that appears. A new window will appear which has many tabs for different sections. Select the "Hardware" tab and look down towards the bottom of the window. You should see a button labeled "Device Manager." Click on it to launch the program.
Checking to see whether or not a component is missing drivers is even easier than launching the program itself! Luckily for us, the Windows developers were smart enough to make their OS capable of recognizing a device even should it not have any driver installed. It will still show up on the Device Manager list either way, and should it need a driver its icon will be clearly marked with a yellow bubble containing an exclamation mark. To install the software needed, the best thing to do is visit the official website for the manufacturer and search for or choose the hardware marked as missing drivers. If the file you're given is an installer, simply launch the executable and follow the steps listed. On the other hand, you may be given the driver files themselves packaged in a ".zip" or similar compressed archive. In this case, you'll need to use the device manager to point the hardware that needs them in the right direction. You can do this by clicking on the component's entry and making the appropriate selection.