Driver Updates and Why They Matter

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Driver Updates: What They Are and Why They Matter

You may often hear words like 'Hardware Driver' or 'Driver Update' in the PC and Computer industry and wonder exactly what drivers are, and why you would need to update them. I hope that after reading this you will have a better idea of what device driver software is, and why you certainly should keep it up-to-date.

Hardware Device Drivers

assorted HDDs

If you every add a new piece of hardware to your computer or PC, such as a new keyboard or flash storage drive, you may be prompted to install the appropriate driver software for the newly added hardware device. The driver software is essentially the link or interface between your computer and the new hardware device.

Driver software can define how a hardware device can behave as well as define how other software can interact with it, including the Operating System(OS). Almost every piece of hardware in your PC or computer system has it's own driver software, from the CPU and GPU, to the storage and memory controllers.

System Updates and Compatibility

Over time, your Operating System and other software will be updated. This process not only adds features and functionality, but allows for bug fixes, security enhancements and performance improvements to be deployed. These updates can change the way the OS or other software interact with hardware components, and break the interface or functionality provided by the device driver software. These types of potential compatibility issues create a need for driver and hardware vendors to support and update driver software on a regular basis.

Updating driver software not only ensures that we are getting the latest functionality that the hardware supports, but also helps to make sure that there are no broken links between the driver and whatever software might be interfacing with it.

Security Patches

In the modern digital world, vendors and researchers alike are in constant game of cat and mouse with cyber criminals and hackers. New vulnerabilities are discovered, while others are patched everyday. Not only may security updates for your operating system and other software break driver functionality, but devices may have a newly discovered security vulnerability that needs patching.

If a hacker or cyber-criminal comes across your vulnerable device before you update the drivers with the proper patches, they may hijack or infect your device and use to further attack and infect other devices and networks.

Conclusion

Computer device drivers are software that provide a link or interface to hardware so that the Operating System or other software can interact with it. Driver software often defines how a device behaves and how you can interact with it.

System and other software updates can break some of the features provided by driver software, and also cause seemingly unrelated compatibility issues. Insecure devices and device drivers can leave your system open to infection and attack by hackers and cyber-criminals.

We make sure drivers are up-to-date as part of our tune-up service. If you would to schedule a tune-up or otherwise need help, please create a support ticket, and we will work to get you taken care of as quickly as possible.

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