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					Drivers


A device driver or a software driver is a specific type of computer
software typically developed to allow interaction with hardware devices
such as a mouse or a printer. This software causes an interface for
communicating with the device through the specific computer “bus” or
communication subsystem that the hardware is connected to. The software
provides commands to and receives data from the device and, on the other
end, the requisite interfaces to the operating system and software
applications.

In plain English, a device driver is a program that allows various
hardware to work on your system. The driver will allow your hardware to
communicate with your operating system making the devices operable in the
proper way. The user installs the driver and then the program allows the
hardware to operate transparently without user input.

Computers and their operating systems cannot be expected to know how to
control every device both now and in the future. To solve this problem,
operating systems basically dictate how every type of device should be
controlled. The device driver then translates these operating system
mandated function cells into device specific calls. In theory, a new
device which is controlled in a new manner should function correctly is a
suitable driver is available. This new driver will insure that the
device appears to operate as usual from the operating system’s point of
view.

Depending on the specific computer architecture, drivers can be 8-bit,
16-bit, 32-bit and more recently 64-bit. This corresponds directly to
the way the operating system is set up for which those drivers were
developed. For example, in 16-bit Windows 3.11, most drivers were 16-
bits which most drivers for 32-bit Windows XP are 32-bit.

New computers will often have device drivers already loaded into the
system to make it easier for the user to just open the box and use their
new system. But if you should happen to buy a separate component for
your system such as a joystick, you will most likely need to install a
device driver. The driver will come with the system, usually on a
storage device like a CD-ROM. They will give you instructions on how to
install the software and it is really quite easy if you follow the
directions.

You cannot operate your computer system with separate components like a
mouse without a device driver for that mouse. If you find that any part
of your computer is not running properly, you may need to update your
device drivers. Simply go to the website of the manufacturer of your
hardware and they will usually have updated drivers available free for
download.

				
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