List of Computer Drivers

By Peter Lancett

i Hemera Technologies/ Images

Device drivers are computer software parts that allow application programs to communicate with hardware components. For example, sound card drivers allow multi-media applications to deliver sound to the computer speakers. When a user instructs a program to adjust the sound, the driver is the software associated with the sound card. It is responsible for giving the instructions to the hardware so it can change the volume sent to the speaker. Drivers exist for all hardware components. Windows operating systems come with many generic drivers pre-installed.

Audio Driver

This driver controls instruction sets to the Audio card. The default installation location for this driver is C:\windows\system32\drivers. It also uses other files shared with other drivers located outside this folder. In computer management, found by right-clicking “My Computer” and selecting “Manage,” look for “Sound Video and Game Controllers.” On the properties page of the sound card listed click the \"Drivers\" tab to see a list of all the files associated with the installed driver. Use the properties page to uninstall or update the audio driver.

Graphics Card Driver

The graphics card is responsible for managing the content of the images displayed on a computer monitor. To learn which graphics card is on a computer, use computer management. Expand “Display Adapters” to see the device-managing graphics in the computer. Right click this device and choose \"Properties.\" Here you will find the files and their locations making up the driver. You can uninstall or upgrade the driver from the properties page. When you upgrade a driver, Windows can save the old driver files so you can roll back should the upgrade not work correctly.

Modem Driver

Modems are responsible for connecting a computer to a telephone-based network. They are used as backup devices with broadband routers using wireless or Ethernet connectivity giving access to the Internet or local networks. Use computer management to locate information about this device. Expand the \"Modems\" option in the list and right click on the device listed. Select properties where you will find options to remove or upgrade the driver. The driver tab lists the files and their locations.

System Device Drivers

Windows operating systems come with many built-in drivers to manage the critical hardware system components. In computer management expand the “System Devices” module to see a list of all the devices supported under this category. These include the Microsoft Update Device, a single system file responsible for managing automated updates from Microsoft. Bluetooth devices and Advanced Power Management devices such as fans might have drivers listed here. This list will differ from computer to computer based on the hardware components installed.