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How to update device drivers in Windows XP and Vista

In nonprofessional terms, computer hardware device drivers are software that allows your operating system and hardware to communicate. You need a device driver to take input from the OS and send it to the hardware. Every hardware device on your computer that is functioning has a driver. Many times, updating a driver helps in resolving hardware problems. We also update hardware device drivers in order to enjoy a new or updated feature.

There are applications such as driver detective and a host of others that make driver updating easy to do. Once installed the driver detecting software scans the system and presents you with a health statement of the drivers on your computer. The latest versions for your hardware device drivers can easily be downloaded and automatically installed.

In as much as this sounds easy and smart, we do not recommend using third party software to update drivers as this may expose your computer to all forms of security threats unless you are absolutely sure the software is trustworthy. The best way to get driver updates is to directly get them from your computer manufacturer or directly from the company that manufactured the hardware for your computer model.

Updating Hardware Device Drivers in XP

First, identify the hardware manufacturer and download the latest version of the hardware device driver. Most of the time, upon visiting the site and downloading the driver, your hardware device driver is determined and installed right away if there is a newer version through a simple installation process. However, in some rare cases you would have to install the drivers manually.

1. Download the driver-> In the Windows XP Computer Management utility open the Device Manager-> locate your hardware device-> Right click on the hardware; next open the properties to click on the Driver tab.

2. Click NO on the 'Can Windows connect to Windows Update to search for software' and then click NEXT-> When you are faced with 'what do you want the wizard to do?' choose Install from a list of specific locations (for advanced users) and then click NEXT-> choose Don't search. I will choose the driver to install and click NEXT again.

3. At this point, you will find the 'select the device driver you want to install for this hardware' staring at you in the face; click on Have Disk-> click on Browse on the 'install from Disk box window'.-> Navigate to the folder where you saved the driver and choose the driver type for your OS (in this case, Windows XP)-> click the INF file and then click Open.

4. Follow the next instructions carefully to complete your hardware device driver updating for Windows XP. Restart your computer.

Updating Hardware Device Drivers in Vista

1. Open the control panel from the start menu-> click on device manager-> Locate the hardware and right-click -> choose Properties-> Click the driver tab-> Click update driver. When presented with 'How do you want to search for the driver?' question, click on 'Let me pick from a list of device drivers'. Next, click on Have Disk-> on the Install from Disk box click on Browse to locate the file->click the INF file and click on open.

2. Click the Ok button back on the 'install from disk' dialog box-> Next you have to choose the newly added hardware followed by Next-> following the rest of the instructions to complete the installation is very easy.

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TAGS: Windows Vista Tips Windows XP Tips

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