A driver is software that acts as an intermediate between the operating system (OS) and hardware. The OS sends requests to the drivers, and the drivers then ensure the devices perform the required tasks; you can think of drivers as translators. For example, when you click the play button on a video in any application, that particular application sends your request to the OS. The OS then requests the video driver to play the video on the screen using the video and sound cards.
The BIOS (short for Basic Input/Output System) is also known as System Setup. It's firmware that’s embedded in a small memory chip on the computer's motherboard. The BIOS contains instructions that the PC uses to perform basic input and output functions; it also acts as an interface between the OS and hardware. For instance, when a computer is first started, the BIOS activates all of the basic hardware required to boot the OS. This includes the following hardware devices:
Driver patches are installed to upgrade the existing hardware driver. Keeping drivers patched ensures smooth communication between the various applications installed on a machine and its hardware. Leaving drivers unpatched can also lead to vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre; these processor flaws proved that hardware vulnerabilities are no less threatening than software vulnerabilities.
To effectively manage your systems, you should patch drivers regularly. Patching every driver helps improve your endpoint performance severalfold. To enable the driver updates feature in Patch Manager Plus, go to the Patch Manager Plus web console, navigate to Admin > Patch Settings > Patch Database Settings, and click on the Enable Driver Updates checkbox.
Hardware manufacturers will release driver updates to:
The BIOS does much more than just control basic functions. Without a proper BIOS in place, the OS would fail to load. Patching the BIOS is quite different from patching drivers and installing other updates. BIOS updates have a low impact and they're infrequent.
Most drivers are automatically installed by your OS. When a new device is connected to a Windows machine, the OS automatically detects it and starts looking for an appropriate driver. Drivers are usually in the form of an executable file. If you need to manually install a driver, run its .exe file.
In general, patching the BIOS consumes a lot of time and energy, as there are many manual steps to follow. If the BIOS isn’t updated properly, the computer will become completely inoperable.
Patch Manager Plus makes this tedious process simple and easy to follow. It follows these six steps for installing driver and BIOS updates: synchronize, scan, download, test, deploy approved patches, and generate reports.
Patch Manager Plus currently only supports driver and BIOS updates for Windows. Learn more about the devices supported by Patch Manager Plus..
Note: You can deploy using this feature only if you're using build version 10.0.423 or above.