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How to Update Device Drivers in Windows Vista

How to Update Device Drivers in Windows Vista

Without the appropriate driver software working, any computer hardware part is useless. Ergo its essential that drivers be updated regularly. In this article, you will find guidelines on updating device drivers in Windows Vista and ensure smooth working of every hardware component.
Omkar Phatak
When you have problems with any installed piece of computer hardware, it is most likely that the root lies in a driver software anomaly. Every function that you carry out on a computer involves the use of a driver software which needs to be updated regularly. When you run a complete operating system reinstallation, you format the hard drive before, which erases all the installed programs including drivers. Therefore you need to reinstall drivers again after a reinstallation. to have your hardware functioning properly. Even if you don't go through a reinstallation, you still need to update the drivers.

What are Device Drivers?

For those of you who are new to computing terminology, it would be useful to know what exactly are device drivers and why is it necessary that they be updated regularly. A device driver is the middleman or go between that acts as a mediator between the operating system or programs installed on the operating system and computer hardware device. It converts the command from a high level program to a machine readable form, to facilitate the functioning of a device.

For example, a media player software interacts with audio output devices, through their installed drivers. A driver is device, operating system and motherboard type specific. So the same driver won't work on all operating systems. The same device needs customized driver programs according to the type of installed motherboard, to function smoothly. So if you are planning to update the device drivers of your computer, know the make of your motherboard. Let me now walk you through the procedure for updating drivers.

Implementing Device Driver Update in Windows Vista

Every new update in a driver software is intended to fix bugs and improve performance of the device. Hence it's necessary that you update them once in a while. For many branded desktop and laptop computers, there will be a separate installed utility program that periodically downloads driver updates automatically from manufacturer websites. If your computer doesn't have such an automatic update feature, you can get them installed manually using the set up CD provided by the manufacturer or by downloading them online.

Step 1: Download Appropriate Drivers from OEM Website
If your computer is an old assembled model with an old motherboard, it's best that you download latest drivers from an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) website, according to the model number of your computer motherboard. Find audio, display and other drivers setup files and download them to your PC. In case you have a branded computer bought recently, you need not manually search for the drivers as Windows Vista can search them for you.

Step 2: Open Device Management Console
Next, click the circular windows icon at bottom left corner and type 'Command Prompt' in the search box that appears at the bottom. Click on the command prompt icon and the program will open. In the command prompt console, type 'devmgmt.msc' and hit enter. Immediately, the device management window will open, which has a list of all the installed hardware devices on the computer.

Step 3: Let Windows Find Driver Updates or Install them Manually
Click on any one of the '+' signs displayed on the left of every listed device to reveal the name and installed model number. Right click on the device name and choose the 'Update Driver Software' option. A window will open granting you two options. You can either let Windows look for driver updates for your computer hardware automatically or install them manually by browsing for them on your computer. Let Windows search automatically for driver updates first. If it does find the appropriate updates, they will be installed automatically. In case they aren't found automatically, you can browse and locate the downloaded drivers on your hard drive and install them. Repeat this for every one of the installed hardware devices.

Most probably, Windows won't be able to find the appropriate device drivers for your computer if it's an old model. By looking up the make of the motherboard, you will have to download the latest drivers from the manufacturer's website and then install all of them manually. Visit the device management console and follow the instructions provided above, to get the job done.