What Is a PCI Device Driver?

by Bridgette Ashmore
pci slots image by Witold Krasowski from Fotolia.com

The inner workings of a computer involve a mix of both hardware devices and software. One example of this mix is a PCI hardware device, which needs a software driver to function. Without this driver, the device will not function.


A device driver is a program that controls a particular piece of computer hardware. This hardware can be external, like a printer, or internal, like a sound card. Drivers are hardware-dependent and operating system-specific. Most devices come with a driver; you can also download drivers for free from most hardware manufacturers' websites.

PCI Devices

Peripheral Component Interconnect, or PCI, is the standard interface used to connect peripherals to a personal computer. Components like sound cards, network cards and TV tuner cards all use PCI to translate information from the main processor.

PCI Device Drivers

A PCI device driver is the program that allows a PCI device to function as intended. Different PCI devices use different drivers. If you receive an error message about a driver, it may have become corrupted or uninstalled. In this case, you need simply to determine the manufacturer of the device, then visit that company's website to obtain the driver.


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About the Author

Based in CT, Bridgette Ashmore has been writing on a variety of topics since 1996. Her articles have been published in trade publications such as "LibraryScope" and "24/7" as well as topic-specific magazines like "ATV Rider" and "Side by Side." Ashmore has received numerous academic awards and possesses several college degrees—most recently a Master of Business Administration from the New York Institute of Technology.

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