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Chapter 17. Getting the Most Out of Devi... > Working with Device Drivers

Working with Device Drivers

For most users, device drivers exist in the nether regions of the PC world, shrouded in obscurity and the mysteries of assembly language programming. As the middlemen brokering the dialogue between Windows Vista and our hardware, however, these complex chunks of code perform a crucial task. After all, it’s just not possible to unleash the full potential of your system unless the hardware and the operating system coexist harmoniously and optimally. To that end, you need to ensure that Windows Vista is using appropriate drivers for all your hardware. You do that by updating to the latest drivers and by rolling back drivers that aren’t working properly.

Checking Windows Update for Drivers

Before getting to the driver tasks that Vista offers, recall that earlier in this chapter I told you that if Vista can’t find drivers when you initially attach a device, it automatically checks Windows Update to see whether any drivers are available. If Vista finds a driver, it installs the software automatically. In most cases, this is desirable behavior because it requires almost no input from you. However, lots of people don’t like to use Windows on automatic pilot all the time because doing so can lead to problems. In this case, it could be that you’ve downloaded the driver you actually want to use from the manufacturer’s website, so you don’t want whatever is on Windows Update to be installed.


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