How to install device drivers for your computer

Modern computers consist of many different types of gizmos and gadgets, collectively called hardware. You use these electronic masterpieces through programs, games and applications, which are called software. These days, no software can access devices directly, they to this through Windows or other operating system. The operating system, in turn, must know exactly which devices you have. For this to work, each device must have its own device driver, which helps different parts of computer communicate to each other and you, the user.

Depending on computer type, there are different ways of finding right drivers for its hardware.

Brandname computers

(both desktops and laptops)

Brand-name computers are made by mega corporations like IBM, HP, Dell, and Sony. Since drivers are often updated, these companies usually don’t provide driver CD-s with their computers. Instead they preinstall Windows and all necessary drivers along with updating software, so the computer is ready to go right out of the box. But sometimes it’s necessary to reinstall Windows – for example if you have newer version, or want to switch from 32-bit to 64-bit (or back). If this happens, you are advised to go online to find appropriate drivers. The big deal of most brand-name computers is – you only have to know its brand and model number, without knowing exactly which devices are inside. To get newest drivers, do the following:

  1. Find and write down your computer’s model number. If it is desktop computer, look for it on side panels or back panel. Notebook model numbers are usually found on their bottom panels.
  2. Go to the manufacturer’s website.
  3. Most of these sites usually have a search box in the top-right portion of the screen. Type your model number there.
  4. Driver download page for your model should be one of top search results.

The only problem is, that most companies do not provide drivers as single package. They offer to download and install each driver separately.

To save your time, here’s a tip: essentially download and install any chipset, motherboard, and network card drivers. It is also recommended to install video card driver to get better picture quality. For all other drivers (like sound, webcam, card reader, etc), you can omit driver installation, unless you surely know that you will use these devices.

Locally assembled computers

In many states and regions, there are local computer companies. They use locally-manufactured parts where possible, making overall prices lower than of brand-names. But these companies can’t afford mega web portals like big guys on the market. So you will be happy to get driver CD with new computer, otherwise you have to find drivers yourself.

It is very helpful if full list of computer’s hardware is attached to your bill or invoice. Having this list handy, you can hunt down manufacturer websites and download your drivers there. To save time and effort, it is recommended to use some driver updating software like Driver genius. These programs usually find devices by their electronic signatures, so you don’t have to know exact model numbers.

Self-assembled computers

This section is useless, we added it for joke. If you know how to buy hardware and piece it together into your very own computer, you should already know each device’s model number and where to find its drivers. Needless to say that hardware manufacturers ship driver CD-s with boxed versions of their devices. =)