An audio driver is a type of computer file used by a computer’s operating system (OS) to properly recognize and interact with an audio device. It usually refers to a driver used for sound cards in a computer, but it can also be used in reference to drivers needed for especially complex sound systems or audio input devices as well. An audio driver may come with a piece of audio hardware, or it may be downloaded or updated over the Internet.
Audio drivers are software used in conjunction with sound cards.
Drivers are typically software files installed on a computer to help devices and other types of hardware work correctly with a computer. In order for an operating system installed on a computer to recognize everything else connected to that computer and work with those things correctly, drivers identify various components of an operating system and help make it work effectively. An audio driver is simply a specific type of driver that focuses on audio devices and helps an operating system recognize and work with those devices.
Audio devices can come in many forms, although typically a sound card or similar input or output device is involved. Sound cards can often be integrated into a computer system as part of a motherboard, often referred to as onboard sound, or they can be separate components that need to be installed in a system. A sound card is typically used to allow a computer to process audio information and send that information through speakers as auditory sound.
A computer’s operating system uses an audio driver to recognize a sound card and allow the computer to utilize all the options and features that a sound card can offer. Sometimes an operating system may also have audio driver files installed during the operating system installation, to allow many different devices to operate in at least basic ways with a computer. Devices typically have specific drivers made for use with the device, and installing this type of audio driver allows a computer’s operating system to fully access and function with a device.
These drivers usually come with an audio device on a disc and can be installed during the device’s physical installation process. Many audio device manufacturers also frequently update and improve the audio drivers used by their devices. These updated drivers can usually be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website and may fix problems with the device’s software or include new features that take better advantage of the hardware or device.