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Installing Device Drivers

Cheryl Wants Know How To Install A New Device Driver
I would like to know how to install a new driver? I recently installed a new printer and when I used it , it said you may have to install a newer driver. How do I do this? Do I uninstall the printer or what?

The key word is "may" have to install a new driver. Since products sit in warehouses and on store shelves for a period of time, the device drivers which come "in the box" with the hardware device, in your case a printer, may not be the latest ones. That's why we always recommend you go to the manufacturer's Web site to check for the latest drivers. They'll always be posted there.

This advice goes for everyone else as well. Whether or not you've installed new hardware recently, it's a good idea to take an inventory of the hardware installed on your computer and check with the manufacturer of each device occasionally to make sure you have the most current drivers installed. You should use care at this point in time, since Windows Vista is on the horizon, to ensure that you choose the right drivers not only for your device but for your operating system. Windows Vista drivers may not work on Windows XP and vice versa - and may, in fact, cause major problems. So always be sure that you know the model number of your hardware device and choose the right device driver for that model and for your particular operating system. Do not be tempted to download Windows Vista drivers and install them on your Windows XP machine just because they happen to be the newest.

How do you find out what devices you have installed on your computer? How do you determine the model number? Well, you don't have to open the case and peer in it with a flashlight. No, indeed, we're in the computer age now, I think :) There are a couple of "Hall of Famers" from our Freeware Hall of Fame which will give you a nicely formatted list of hardware installed on your computer as well as a wealth of other information about your system. One of them is called WinAudit. It's a particularly robust freeware program that will give you all the information about your computer that you would ever need to know - including installed hardware devices. You can learn more about and/or download WinAudit from this page.

As far as installing device drivers. It's simple. Once you've determined the correct drivers for your make and model of hardware device - and operating system, just download the drivers. Installing drivers these days is just like installing a program. Most all device drivers come in self-installing exe files. Just download the driver installation file and save it to a location on your hard drive (preferably your desktop, download folder, or other location where you can easily find it) and double-click the file to start installation. We do not recommend you install drivers by choosing "Open" or "Run" from the browser's download dialog. It's better to save the file to your hard drive - then install it. After the installation is complete you can delete the installer from your desktop - or save it to a DVD, CD, or USB flash drive.

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