The device drivers are the important elements to guarantee the normal communication between your computer and different hardware. In this post, we will tell you what is a device driver as well as some other knowledge. The MiniTool home page will offer you some other useful information.

What Is a Device Driver?

A device driver is a software that is used to establish communication between the kernel of a computer and different hardware via a suitable interface.

The purpose of device drivers is to enable the normal functioning of hardware in different operating systems.

Regarding the types of device drivers, there are different classified methods. You can get detailed information from the following content.

Kernel Drivers and User Drivers

There are different types of device drivers for different types of drives. They can be classified into these two categories: Kernel Device Drivers &User Device Drivers.

Kernel Device Drivers

They are the generic device drivers. As parts of the operating system, the Kernel Device Drivers load with your operating system into the memory, not the whole driver by a pointer to that effect so that the device driver can be invoked as soon as it is required.

These device drivers the parts of Kernel Software and they are related to BIOS, motherboard, processor, and more.

There is a weakness with the Kernel Device Drivers. When one of them is invoked, that one will be loaded into the RAM and it will not be moved to page file (virtual memory). When a number of device drivers are running at the same time, your computer will slow down. That’s why every OS has a minimum system requirement. Every different OS has already added the needed resources for the Kernel Device Drivers. Thus, you don’t need to worry about other memory requirements.

Users Mode Device Drivers

You need to get these device drivers by yourself during the session on your PC. Most of the Plug and Play devices are using this kind of device drivers. The drivers can be written to the device disk so as to they don’t need to act tough on the resources. But, you’d better keep the drivers related to gaming devices in main memory (RAM).

Block Drivers and Character Drivers

Based on the category of data read and write, the device drivers can be divided into block and character device drivers. The drivers for hard disks, CD ROMs, USB flash drives, etc, can be either Block Drivers or Character Drivers according to the ways they are used.

You need to guarantee the device drivers are in the normal state. Otherwise, some issues will happen unexpectedly. For example, if you are bothered USB port not working issue, you should consider whether there is something wrong with the related device driver.

Character Drivers

The Character Drivers can be used in serial buses. They write one character, which is a byte in a generic sense, at a time. If your device is connected to a serial port, it will use a character driver. For example, your computer mouse is a serial device with a character device driver.

Block Drivers

The Block Drivers can read and write more than one character once. Normally, the block device drivers establish a block and retrieve data as the block can contain.

For example, hard disks are using block device drivers. CD ROMs are also using the block device drivers. However, when the CD ROM is invoked by other application, the kernel will check whether the device is still connected to the machine every time.

Generic and OEM Drivers

The device drivers can also be generic or OEM.

Generic Drivers

If the driver comes with the OS, it should be a generic device driver. The generic device driver can be used with various brands of a certain device type. For instance, Windows 10 contains a number of generic device drivers that can work normally without installing any other software.

OEM Drivers

At times, the generic device drivers don’t work. In this situation, the original equipment manufacturers will create their own device drivers and these drivers are called OEM drivers. You need to install these drivers manually after installing the OS on your computer.

Virtual Device Drivers

The drivers used by virtual devices are called Virtual Device Drivers.

Usually, we use some software to emulate hardware. The software to run the virtual hardware is just a virtual device driver.

For instance, when using a VPN, it will create a virtual network card for secure internet connection. The card is set up by VPN software, not being a real physical card. If the card needs a device driver, the same VPN software will install a virtual device driver.

Bottom Line

After reading the above content, you will know what is a device driver and the types of device drivers. It is difficult to explain them using these one or two categories. You need to know that they have their own purposes.

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