So recently someone came to me and had a new laptop. That is – new for them but pre-owned. Wanted to get drivers for the GPU so that they could play a new game they got, but after some checking and downloading on their part they finally came back and asked for help. Turns out the game they want to play requires a lot of power and their laptop just couldn’t do it. So we’ve decided to give a quick rundown of hardware and drivers.
This is anything that you can physically touch. Even if it’s something inside your PC/laptop that you can’t see, as long as it’s physically there then it’s hardware.
SOFTWARE / FILES
This is the intangible stuff that you can’t physically touch. The zeros and ones that are usually magnetically stored on your machine. Software and files on your PC/laptop don’t have a physical form, but they’re stored on physical media. Drivers also fall into this category and we’re going to get right into that next.
These are the things that make your hardware work. Basically. Drivers are software packages or files that are used by your operating system (Windows) to learn and know how to interact with your hardware. Let’s say for example your sound/audio. If you just installed Windows on your PC/laptop and no sound drivers are installed then nothing you do would make it work. You just wouldn’t be able to hear anything unless drivers are installed. Windows can’t talk to your sound card and while it may know that it’s there, it just can’t utilize it.
Some persons may argue that they’ve installed Windows and everything works without installing drivers, but that’s not really the case. As operating systems advance they also include a larger database of generic drivers for various types of hardware. There may be some differences in the generic driver included with Windows and the driver directly from the manufacturer however, and we’ll get into that shortly. First, let’s make it totally clear that some of the drivers that are included with Windows may work flawlessly, but some – depending on the hardware – may require additional files from the manufacturer to be installed to access other features.
Using the sound as an example again, some drivers may be installed with Windows that makes your sound work with no problems. If you have a desktop with RealTek audio for example, Windows will install drivers and you will get sound from both the front connectors and rear connectors. In some cases you cannot use both simultaneously as the generic driver only allows sound from one at a time. This is where the drivers from the manufacturer would come in.
So basically – your OS may come with drivers to let your hardware work, but for more features or performance you need the drivers from the manufacturer.