Drivers : What Are They and What Do You Do With Them?

Drivers are a mystery. Let us unravel that mystery and see what we can do with a greater understanding. Computers are made up of hardware and software. Drivers are considered firmware, or “permanent software stored in read-only memory” which is a special kind of software. In general, the term firmware applies to BIOS and drivers.  BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System and allows your computer to boot an operating system using the most basic drivers. Drivers can be thought of as your computer’s personal series of manuals on how to operate the individual pieces of hardware such as motherboard, hard drive, keyboard, monitor, etc. When you press the power button on your computer, the BIOS uses basic drivers to tell your computer to boot an available operating system like Windows 10. But, what do drivers have to do with the computer once it’s running? Speed. The speed of your computer comes down to the quality of hardware and how efficiently the operating system uses that hardware. In general, the better the drivers the faster your machine can run. So, do you need to do anything with drivers or BIOS or firmware? Yes and no. The computer generally runs better if these things are either left alone or maintained by a computer repair technician. One piece of advice is all you really need to focus on: Software that claims to do anything for drivers such as speed them up or make them better is a farce. That’s it. If you remember that one piece of advice, you’ll be ahead of the crowd. Software with the word “drivers” in the name is 99% junk, malware and viruses. Your computer will be much better off in the long run without these snake-oil programs. Drivers and BIOS have to be updated manually and if not, you will likely get viruses trying to download an all-in-one piece of software to do the job for you. Can you update these drivers and BIOS by yourself? Is there any secret sauce that you need to make it all work? The key is to not try these all-in-one programs, because they are too good to be true. Go to a computer professional if you are not sure how to update the firmware on your computer, printer, wireless router, home camera system, etc. Let’s end with an analogy : computers need a tune-up every so often just like cars need a tune-up  every so often; when in doubt, trust a local computer professional to update your computer for you. We recommend taking your machine in for these tune-ups 1 to 2 times a year.

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