A device driver is a software program which is required by the operating system and various software applications to communicate with hardware devices connected to it. Hardware components such as sound/video cards, printers, and scanners all need a compatible driver for them to work properly. All device drivers are operating system specific. For example, a Windows XP driver will be different from a Windows Vista driver. Therefore, it is necessary that you take extra care while installing and updating your device drivers because installing incorrect or incompatible drivers can not only damage your device but also your system.
Common Causes of Driver Errors
Some of the common causes of driver errors are listed below:
- The hardware device you are trying to use is not properly connected to your computer.
- Two or more drivers on the system are incompatible with each other.
- A driver or driver update being installed is not compatible with your system.
- There is an obsolete or outdated driver on the PC.
Steps to Fix Driver Errors
The first step in fixing driver errors is to make sure that your hardware device is properly connected to your system. Many device related errors are fixed just by checking that your device is connected to your system properly.
Next, you need to ensure that there is no problem with the driver itself. You can do this by using the Device Manager utility that comes with your Windows computer. You can open the Device Manager directly by running the devmgmt.msc command at Start > Run.
When you open the Device Manager, you will see a list of all the devices connected to your system. You can easily identify the faulty device because it will be marked with a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark inside it.
Right-click on this device to open its properties dialog box. Check the Device status section on the General tab in the properties dialog box. If the driver is behind the errors, display the Driver tab in the driver properties dialog. Here, do one of the following tasks:
- Check for and Install Driver Updates: An outdated and obsolete driver is one of the main reasons behind driver-related errors. To resolve this issue, click the Update Driver button. This will open a hardware update wizard. You can use the wizard to update your driver. It is recommended that you first download the update for the driver and save it at a convenient location on your hard disk and then start the update process because the update wizard will ask you to specify the location from which to install the updates.
- Rollback Driver: If you started receiving the error message soon after you installed a new update, then it is quite likely that the new update is buggy. To repair this issue, click the Roll Back Driver button to revert to your previous version of the driver.
- Uninstall Driver: If there are problems with your current driver—missing or corrupt files—then it is best that you click Uninstall to remove the current driver and then reinstall the driver again.
In case you are not sure of what you are doing and if you find the above fixes a bit complicated then it is recommended that you opt for a reliable driver scanner tool, such as Driver Finder. A driver scanner tool is designed to keep a check on all your device drivers to ensure that they are up-to-date. Whenever a new update is available, the driver scanner will automatically download and install the best update on your PC.