A device driver is a software package lets your operating system t communicate with a specific hardware device. Before your operating system can use new hardware, a device driver for your hardware must be installed on your computer. The way that Plug and Play works is that your operating system has a store of drivers for a large number of devices. If the driver for your device is in the driver store then the driver get automatically installed when you plug your PnP device into your computer. However, you might still need to install updated drivers in the future as they are released so even if you only use PnP devices it is still useful to be familiar with how to manually install drivers. If your device is not Plug and Play, you will need to install the driver for your device manually. This can take the form of a DVD/CD that came with your device or you can usually download the drivers from the manufacturers website.
Now we will talk about how Windows users can use Device manager to install and update drivers, change the hardware settings and troubleshoot problems with their devices.
You can get into Device Manager in a few ways. One way is to right click on Computer or My Computer depending which version of Windows you are using. Click Manage. Then Click Device Manager.
Device Manager is used to view device status and details, to view power and bandwidth settings and to view information about the device driver. To view information about your device, first open the sub-heading your device belongs to. For example, if your device is a keyboard, double click on the keyboards heading. You will then be able to see your keyboard. Right click the device you want to inspect and click Properties. In the General tab you will see whether the device is working properly. If your device is working properly, this means your device has a driver installed and Windows can talk to the device.
If you need to manually install a driver, right click on your computer name at the top of your list in device manager. Then click Add Legacy Hardware or Add Hardware depending on which version of Windows you are using. This will start the Add Hardware wizard. Make sure your hardware is plugged in and turned on before running the Add Hardware wizard. The wizard gives you two options: It will either scan for uninstalled hardware or ask you to select what hardware you wish to install from a list of devices that comes with the operating system. If you have the driver in a folder, on a disc, or on a removable drive, select the Have Disk option. You then specify the location of the driver, which is normally a .inf file. When a driver has been chosen, the wizard will hopefully install your driver and you are good to go.
It is a good thing to keep in mind that you will occasionally get driver conflicts between devices and you will need to roll back to a previous driver. To do this, follow the earlier steps to get into the Driver details of your device and click Roll Back Driver. This should fix the issue. Sometimes Windows Update will automatically install new drivers that may cause conflicts. You can change the operating system settings so that this does not happen…..but more on Windows Update coming up soon. Nerd Out.