Device driver is software or programs that monitor the devices that are attached to your computer. Device drivers for most of the hardware devices are built in. However if you try to attach any new hardware device with your PC, you will have to install compatible device driver as well. The device driver programs often come in CDs along with the device, for example the device driver of a web cam.
You may also download device drivers from hardware manufacturer’s website.
Purpose of the Device Drivers
The purpose of the device driver is to communicate with the hardware devices. The device driver converts the input and output commands of the operating system into signals, which can be understood by the device. It helps in simplifying the communication between hardware devices and applications. Even higher level application code can not distract the communication cross way between a device and a device driver. This can be easily understood if you draw a sketch in your mind that hardware is the first layer of the PC which cannot be seen by end user, then is the operating system, the third layer is of application software and the fourth layer is of end user. Some additional hardware devices like printers, web cam, and sound systems require their own driver commands in order to operate. Therefore it is necessary to install the specific hardware program before using them. The ease with these programs is that they are compatible to be used in almost all operating systems like Windows, Solaris and MAC.
Important Modes of Device Drivers
The virtual memory is divided into two spaces like user mode and kernel mode. The kernel mode is limited to the specific kernel code while the user mode can run many user applications freely. The device drivers run in two modes known as kernel mode and the user mode. Kernel mode is the conduit between application layer and the authentic data processing. Therefore in order to run user applications usually user space is used. The applications installed on user space can be easily swapped for new applications. Installing the device driver in user mode keeps its working more stable and organized. The benefit of using device drivers on user space is to prevent it from over writing on kernel memory. These modes put a substantial inflict on performance of these drivers in order to get high throughput. There are some windows virtual devices Drivers. These virtual drivers can communicate with any primary hardware device like serial and parallel ports. These virtual device drivers are capable enough to maintain the condition of the hardware device that has unstable settings.
The devices drivers can operate in many different conditions. This is because there are many types of operating systems in the market. This makes it similar in temperament with the operating system. The drivers can interface with printers, network cards, video adapters, and sound cards, local buses of various assortments, low bandwidth buses, many pointer devices like keyboards, mice and USB ports, hard disk, floppy disk, image scanners, digital cameras and now with smart phones. The drivers interface with hard ware and software differently. It can communicate with hardware by writing to it or reading from it, by using some low level devices driver and conjure up with hardware while performing different tasks. With software it completes some other requests like allowing the operating system to directly access the hardware resources. It also helps in implementing some crossway of communication for non driver devices. Last but not least it also helps in implementing some high level language. In order to configure the hard ware correctly it is important to install device driver accurately.