That thing called a driver gives us immediate analogy of a computer to a car. In many ways it is right. A computer like a car needs on-going maintenance. But how do we maintain the driver, the one who chauffeurs a vehicle? Supposedly, he becomes better with experience. Not exactly the same with computers. If a driver knows what to do, it keeps doing its thing, no improvement but also no accidents.

In case you are not familiar with computer drivers, they are programs that control hardware. In case you are not familiar with computer hardware as well, it is any external device, you attach to your computer, like printer, scanner, digital camera, sound device etc. Generally, it is any part of your computer aggregate, that you are able to kick when it makes you angry (though we would not recommend it as troubleshooting procedure).

So, when you attach a new piece of hardware to your computer system, you also need to install its driver that knows how to operate the device and will work as an interpreter between your machine and the new piece of equipment. Some drivers are included in your operating system (for example, a keyboard driver) so you don’t need to ‘hire’ it yourself.

Now we have a new hardware and a designated driver. We need to perform maintenance on both. We may assume that like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver error. Is it really so? If the driver is competent to begin with and is working fine, do we need to worry about checks and upgrades? Just to trade good for better? That can often cause a real problem.

It’s a different story when you are not sure of your driver’s credentials. Let’s say you’ve got the hardware as a hand-me-down present, or maybe you’ve lost the original installation disc. Then you’ll probably need to download the driver from some Internet site. Be careful here and try not to bring corrupted software and viruses. Your new driver may not only be incompetent, but also destroy your entire organization. Like with a real driver, better use reliable references for the software and perform a background check.

Another concern with a driver arises when you updating your operating system. The old driver may be just not compatible. While the vehicle remains the same, the driving conditions become more complicated and you may need to employ a more proficient guy. Again, we are going to a dangerous on-line recruiting.

In any case, it is a good idea to create backup, like to have a stand-in employee in case something happens to your driver.

Now, what about these magic tools like driver whizzes, wizards, detectives and others, that are suppose to take care of all your drivers for all the time you use them? Sounds like a trade union… A little suspicious though. Can you believe in a vaccine that’ll take care of every possible flu? It is a new deadly germ every year. There are also thousands of hardware pieces variations; can they be taken care of by a single program?

There is no quick fix to computer problems. There is pure luck buying a good piece of hardware. As well as a reliable car. And a good driver – well, we can’t deny an element of luck here either.