What Are Virtual Device Drivers, And How Do They Work?

April 29, 2008 by
Filed under: Device Drivers 

In many Microsoft Windows operating systems, the virtual device driver is the program which is in charge of handling software interrupts which come from the operating system. Device drivers which are not virtual will handle hardware interrupts and not software interrupts, and this is what makes virtual device drivers different. Each hardware device for the computer will have a virtual device driver, and this includes serial and parallel ports, the hard disk drive controller, keyboards, mice, and others.

How to Find Virtual Device Drivers in Your System

When scanning your operating system for any device drivers installed, you can spot which device drivers are virtual and which device drivers are not by the file suffix. Look at the suffix and see if it is VXD. This suffix identifies all virtual device drivers, so whenever you see these letters as the file suffix you know that file is a virtual device driver. Device drivers which are not virtual usually have a file suffix which is either SYS, EXE or DLL.

Virtual device drivers are needed by your computer when a hardware device has settings which can be changed, so that the current settings can be maintained. These drivers play an important part in the way that your system and devices operate and perform. It is a good idea to keep your virtual device drivers updated on a regular basis as well, to ensure there are no bugs or flaws in the way it works. If you have a newer operating system, you may be able to upgrade all the device drivers on your system, virtual as well as other types, simply by going to the Windows Device Manager.

If you have an operating system that does not allow device driver upgrades, you can download and install a commercial device driver upgrade tool. There are plenty of these software programs available online, and a simple search will help you find some to choose from. These tools will scan your system for all the device drivers which are installed, then compare this list to the database of updates to find matches. Once this is done the tool downloads and installs the device driver upgrades in minutes. These tools can really improve the performance and security of your system by keeping all types of device drivers updated.

If your virtual device drivers somehow disappear or end up corrupted, this problem can usually be repaired with just a little time and effort. You must find and replace the missing or corrupted virtual device driver with a quality one. The first step is to determine which virtual device drivers you need. Look at the device properties in the Windows Device Manager if you do not know the hardware make and/or model. Next you simply go to the website for the manufacturer of either the operating system or the device, and look for virtual device driver downloads. If this does not work run a web search for the specific virtual device drivers you need to download. A word of caution though, be careful to verify the source of any downloads to protect your computer from harmful files and programs. Let you virus scanner scan the download to ensure you don’t take in a virus.

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