We’ve all been there: We’re frantic to print out a report before a meeting, and nothing works. Then that pop-up strikes: Drivers out of date. You don’t have time to figure out the problem, but you know what this means – you’re not getting your report printed in time for that meeting.

So, why does this happen? Why does our technology freeze up right when we need it most? And how do we keep that from happening?

It starts by making sure all of your technology is up to date – and when we say “technology,” we mean equipment AND programs. And one of the most important parts of staying up to date is guaranteeing that all your tech has the proper drivers installed.

What is a driver, anyway?

In the simplest terms, a driver is a piece of software that allows for communication between an operating system and a device. Think of a driver as that annoying guy who runs around the company Christmas party with a checklist, making sure everything is in its right place. You might find the process of keeping up with him stressful, but you’ve grudgingly got to admit that if he wasn’t around, the party wouldn’t go nearly as smoothly.

Why do I need to keep my drivers up to date?

Away from the party analogy, a driver gives your operating system the instructions it needs to communicate directly with a device. This means printers, scanners, 3D dental equipment – the whole nine yards. Drivers are also important because they’re updated anytime the device designer fixes bugs or adds new features. Your operating system doesn’t know what to do with all that newfangled stuff until it gets better instructions.

If a driver is out of date, your operating system is behind the times, like that receptionist who still thinks fax machines are the way of the future. In order to keep communication flowing between your devices, the people who design and produce them, and your computer network, you need to have your drivers installed – and updated frequently.

How do I check if my drivers need updating?

Luckily, most technology gives you the option to automatically apply updates as needed. If you’ve had the same printer for three years and it’s never stopped chugging out beautiful reports, then you probably have automatic updates switched on.

If not, the easiest way to check your drivers is to navigate to the appropriate device from your computer settings. Let’s keep going with the printer example: To check on the driver status, we’d find the printer in our computer’s associated devices, and open its properties menu. If your drivers are out of date, there should be a big, obvious “update” button waiting for you. You can also check for out-of-date devices by running a device troubleshooter. If you find any drivers that need updated, download them by going directly to the manufacturer’s site (don’t just google “Printer XYZ driver” and click the first download that pops up – that’s a surefire way to pick up viruses). To set up automatic driver updates, learn more about updating your technology, or arrange an entire 15-point technology check for your office, give us a call at (904) 606-6011. We’ll be happy to help you get to the bottom of any and every hardware issue!

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