When you are addressing a computer problem with a computer specialist or reading a topic forum, in some cases one of the guaranteed tips is to update the driver. Let's see what this means and whether it really needs to be done.
Drivers? What are drivers?
In simple words, drivers are programs that allow the Windows operating system and various applications to interact with computer hardware. Windows itself "does not know" how to use all the functions of your video card and for this it needs an appropriate driver. As well as for other programs, updates are issued for drivers in which old errors are fixed and new functions are implemented.
When to update drivers
The main rule here, perhaps, will be - do not repair what works. Another tip is not to install various programs that automatically update drivers for all your equipment: this can cause more problems than good.
If you have any kind of problem with the computer and, apparently, it is caused by the operation of its equipment - here it is worth thinking about updating the drivers. With a high probability, if, for example, a new game crashes on your computer and a message appears stating that something is wrong with the video card, installing the latest drivers for it from the manufacturer’s official website can solve this problem. It’s not worth waiting for the computer to work faster after updating the drivers and the games stop braking, it most likely will not happen (although this is also possible if, after installing Windows on the computer, you have installed WDDM drivers for the video card - i.e. which the operating system installed itself, and not those developed by the manufacturer of the video card). Thus, if the computer already works as it should, you don’t need to think that “it would be worth updating the driver” - it is unlikely to bring any benefit.
What drivers need to be updated?
When you purchase a new computer without an operating system or perform a clean installation of Windows on an old computer, it is advisable to install the correct drivers. The point is not that you always have the latest drivers, but that they are designed specifically for your equipment. For example, immediately after installing Windows, you will most likely already have a Wi-Fi adapter working on your laptop, and some not-so-demanding game, such as Tanki Online, will also start. This can lead to the fact that you will be sure that the drivers for the video card and wireless adapter are all right. However, this is not the case, which can be seen if errors occur during the launch of other games or when trying to connect to wireless access points with other parameters.
Thus, the drivers available in Windows, although they allow you to use a computer, must be replaced by the original ones: for a video card - from the site of ATI, Nvidia or another manufacturer, for a wireless adapter - the same. And so for all devices during the first installation. Then, maintaining the latest versions of these drivers is not the most meaningful task: you should think about updating, as already mentioned, only if there are any problems.
You bought a laptop or computer in a store
If you purchased a computer and since then did not reinstall anything in it, then with great probability all the necessary drivers for network devices, a video card and other equipment are already installed on it. Moreover, even when reinstalling Windows, if you use the reset of the laptop or computer to the factory settings, not the Windows drivers will be installed, but the ones that are suitable for your equipment. Thus, if everything works, there is no need to specifically deal with updating drivers.
You bought a computer without Windows or did a clean install of the OS
If you purchased a computer without an operating system, or simply reinstalled Windows without saving the old settings and programs, the operating system will try to determine your hardware and install most of the drivers. However, most of them should be replaced with official drivers, and these are the drivers that need to be updated first:
- Video card - the difference in the operation of a video card with built-in Windows drivers and with the original NVidia or ATI drivers is very significant. Even if you do not play games, be sure to update the drivers and install the official ones - this will save you from many problems with the graphics (for example, jerky scrolling in the browser).
- Drivers for the motherboard, chipset - it is also recommended to install. This will allow you to get the most out of all the functions of the motherboard - USB 3.0, built-in sound, network and other devices.
- If you have a discrete sound, network or other boards - you should also install the necessary drivers on them.
- As already mentioned above, drivers should be downloaded from the official websites of the manufacturers of the equipment or of the computer itself (laptop).
If you are an avid gamer, then moving away from previous tips, you can also recommend updating drivers for your video card regularly - this can affect game performance.