Most motherboards come with a set of drivers – which are small pieces of software that allow your computer to communicate with the motherboard. Without these drivers, you may not be able to plug in USB devices, use Ethernet or hear audio from your computer’s speakers.
What is a Motherboard?
A motherboard is essentially the computer’s backbone – it holds most components together in one place, including processor(s), memory, ports (such as USB ports), and other important features that makeup part of your computer. It has specialized chipsets which provide instructions for these components to carry out certain tasks, as well as controlling the speed at which they operate. These chipsets also support connectivity through ports such as Ethernet or Firewire, allowing users to connect peripherals to their machine.
A typical desktop or laptop PC user uses a mouse, keyboard, and monitor to access programs and data via an operating system such as Windows or Mac OS. At the very core of their machine lies another piece of hardware – the motherboard.
While each operating system comes with its own range of built-in drivers (typically for mouse and keyboard), there are also specific motherboard device drivers that must be installed separately in order for them to function correctly onto your machine. These can include sound card drivers, network card drivers, and video card drivers.
Motherboard drivers are differentiated into diverse installation packages which might affect the various aspects of the motherboard. The main driver for the motherboard is meant for the chipset. This particular driver spans the basic functionalities of the motherboard.
- Wi-Fi Driver
- Video Driver
- Sound Driver
- Chipset Driver
- Network Drivers
Motherboard Drivers vs Operating System Drivers
A large proportion of motherboard devices have ‘generic’ device driver support built into the Windows operating system – this means that in most cases, the standard Windows drivers will work with your hardware without having to install anything else. This is because the device drivers for most devices are built into Windows and distributed as a part of the operating system.
However, sometimes even ‘generic’ device drivers cannot recognize certain types of hardware that are installed in these devices – such as network cards or sound cards. If you have tried plugging in an Ethernet cable only to find that it does not detect online connectivity, then it may be simply because you are missing one or more motherboard drivers required by your network device.
What Software Is Needed?
A software driver package contains all necessary files and instructions for Microsoft Windows to communicate with your motherboard and its many onboard devices like graphics cards, soundcards, or others.