How to properly Update Your Hardware Drivers

File-It-Under: Hardware fixings!~

We've all been conditioned to make sure your anit-virus signature is updated and your operating system get it's weekly dosage of security patches.Not doing these means bad things will happen to your computer,this have been drilled into our heads since the upstart of personal computing.However have anyone thought to update the device drivers to your computer system? the answer would more than likely will be no.Even I'm guilty at times of not checking websites for the updated hardware drivers,its just something we all haven't been condition to do.In fact not updating your hardware drivers can result in a misbehaved system or worst,system crashing.In this latest entry of "Tekspecz" I will show you how to properly install device drivers,where to look for the drivers,and how updating drivers can be an easy task.

What are hardware drivers
Device drivers (or hardware drivers) are basically written computer programs which allows the hardware to communicate with the operating system,these drivers are written by the hardware vendors.Without the device drivers you will have an inoperable hardware that simple.Take a look at the diagram picture above and you'll see how hardware drivers communicate with the operating system.

This a corrupted audio driver that needs to be either re installed or updated to the latest,newest driver,see the yellow warning circle (SoundMax Integrated Digital HD Audio) this an clear indication that something is wrong with the audio hardware

How can I tell if my hardware drivers need to be updated
Usually there is no definitive signs that your hardware drivers need to be updated.Sometimes your computer can behave itself for several months without ever updating the device drivers,often,there are times your computer can experience all kinds of issues that might not be attributed to a corrupted hardware drivers,you might just need a hardware replacement altogether.If you are having issues with a certain component within your system then all likely you might need to update your device drivers to stabalize your hardware.Network Ethernet drivers and embedded audio chipsets for an example are notoriously known to behave badly when you have a outdated or even,worst a corrupted drivers.

Where do I find device drivers
Microsoft has a slew of drivers stored on its database,but even though Microsoft provide these drivers they can be outdated.For nice clean updated drivers,I almost always recommend going on manufacturers website.The hardware manufacture will provide the newest and  latest updated drivers.Case in point,graphic card manufactures do a great job posting the latest driver updates to their videocards every several months.It is also important to check the dates of these drivers,there are dates attached to the manufacture name of the driver.I must forewarn you though to stay away from drivers that are still in the "Beta" testing phase,installing may cause hardware instability.

Is updating hardware drivers necessary
For the casual computer owner you might feel if ain't broke why fix it,your computer might be behaving in a positive manner,so doing a driver update might not seem necessary.There are several major benefits to doing periodic updates to your device drivers.For one,driver updates sometimes will come with added software or features that might prove beneficial to your hardware.Almost always though,updating device drivers improves performance in your hardware,case in point,the WiFi chip that's embedded in your computer.Downloading the latest WiFi driver can improve signal strength,updating drivers to your webcam might enhance HD feature to the cam.Either way,when you update drivers to your hardware,it serves a needed purpose.

This is an example of a driver going through the installation process

How do I update the drivers
Updating hardware drivers is a simple process,probably the hardest task is searching for the driver. Downloading drivers is pretty much like installing software onto a computer,just click on the file or driver,then the installation process takes place.

A Software Alternative Made Easy
There is a software alternative that makes it very simple for you to install drivers to every working hardware in  your computer,that software is called Driver Agent,which is what I'm currently using on all my machines.How this software works is simple,first you download the software (of course) then you click on the scan button,which will scan every working hardware within your computer,from webcams to motherboard chipsets.Once done,Driver Agent will tell you which hardware drivers are up-to-date,or which driver is old and needs updating.This software basically saves you time and headache trying to scour the web looking for drivers.Often times Driver Agent will route you right onto the manufacturers website.There are other software alternatives,but my favorite is Driver Agent.