Jul 04

Drivers are the software that enables your hardware to communicate with your computer, and vice versa. Without the appropriate drivers, you won’t be able to scan, print, download pictures from your digital camera, communicate with your web cam, or even use your wireless mouse. When you get a new computer and install your peripherals, you also install their drivers. Usually, Windows XP knows what drivers to install and does so automatically, but sometimes you have to install the driver from a disk that came with the hardware.

When particular hardware is not on Microsoft’s Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), its drivers are not “signed.” Signed drivers have been thoroughly tested by Microsoft and have proven to work properly with Windows XP. If a driver is not signed, you’ll likely have difficulties related to it. The computer may “blue screen,” a situation where the computer completely crashes and all you see is a blue screen with some gibberish written on it, the hardware may not work properly, or the computer may simply “act up.” Many times, these problems occur even when you are not using the device. When this happens, it’s extremely difficult to locate the problem.

The solution to such problems is to always keep your drivers updated and keep an eye out for problems (and when they happen). Make sure allof your hardware is on Microsoft’s HCL too. Staying updated may entail downloading driver updates from the Windows Update web site, obtaining them from the manufacturer, or even purchasing them. Updated drivers keep your computer in the best shape possible, not only by helping the hardware and computer communicate effectively, but by also offering more security, improved features, and enhanced performance. When problems occur with drivers, use Event Viewer to search for answers.