The novice user probably never realizes the hidden world of the device driver. It is a mysterious little file with a hidden agenda. If your computer use is limited to searching the web, drivers will only come to your attention in the form of a major conflict. However, for those who play games or use peripherals, hours can be lost trying to switch between drivers to find one that stops major errors. This is the driver dance.
For peripheral devices, there are many unknown conflicts that can stop you in your tracks. The scanner, printer, or trackball mouse all rely on device drivers to sync with your software environment. If you are having a tough time with peripherals, out-of-date drivers are often the source of concern.
Gamers are typically plagued by driver support issues. For example, games that push your hardware to the limits will often require the most current driver updates. If you have a dedicated graphics card, you will likely need to install each new version. If you experience artifacts during game play, there is a good chance that old drivers are the culprit.
There are some driver complications that require unusual solutions. For example, laptop gamers are often required to use modified drivers. This is to be done at your own risk; it can void your warranty. However, most laptop manufacturers do not allow you to use the latest drivers from your video card company. The laptop manufacturer will rarely update their driver series. This means that a new patch can come out at any time that no longer works well with your driver. There are modification tools and third party drivers that can satisfy this issue. This is something that an advanced laptop gamer will probably have to learn to do at some point.
Driver cleaning is another issue of concern that will emerge during this process. Old drivers tend to leave their footprint behind in your registry. This can be a source of conflict down the road. There is software out there that will clean these entries from your registry. However, it is important to do serious research before using one of these programs. They can cause serious problems if used incorrectly.
Driver support can be challenging for boutique operating systems. Some issues exist regarding the installation of drivers for operating systems with 64-bit architecture. It can be tough to find stable driver software that works well with Linux.
When you are facing a performance problem, there is a reasonable chance that drivers could be the culprit. If you frequently update your drivers, you are less likely to face these problems. However, some will be unavoidable. A driver problem can have the same symptoms as legitimate hardware failure. This can be very frustrating. If you have tried lots of drivers with no luck, you might consider getting some professional help to identify if there is a more serious hardware problem.