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Computer parts need a driver because they do not use standard commands. For example, video cards from Advanced Micro Devices (or AMD) and Nvidia do the same job, but each requires its own driver as different hardware requires different commands. Different operating systems also need different drivers, a driver written for macOS can not be used by Microsoft Windows.
Many parts of a computer need drivers, and common examples are:
Some other computer parts do not need drivers (or the driver is built-in to the operating system) because they use a kind of standard; the operating system recognizes those parts and knows how to use those parts.
Such parts include items on the following list:
- Compact disc (called CD) and digital versatile disc (called DVD) drives (including player and burner).
- Mouse and keyboard
- Integrated video cards
- PC speaker (the speaker inside the computer case that beeps)
- Floppy drives
- Hard drives
- USB flash drives (or thumb drive)
- USB webcams
- USB sound cards
- USB hubs (devices that turn one USB port into two or more)
Using the wrong device driver can prevent hardware from working correctly. For example, a HP printer will not work with a computer that only has a Canon printer driver. Keeping drivers up-to-date avoids potential problems when using programs with the new piece of hardware.