A common complaint among computer users is that their operating system will occasionally freeze up or that the entire computer just crashes for no apparent reason. Nine time out of ten these annoyances are caused by outdated hardware drivers. Because the computer industry is constantly evolving, both software and hardware manufactures try to work in coordination with each other to ensure that everything within the computer runs smoothly. When the drivers do not match the hardware perfectly, system failures begin to occur spontaneously, and they can be pretty nasty!

Here are a few examples of errors caused by an outdated driver:


“I’m having some serious problems getting the game “World of Warcraft” to work on my system properly. I can play the game as normal, and then it just crashes out of nowhere! It’s pretty random, as it can sometimes fail after only playing for a few minutes, and sometimes it will let me play a full game of an hour.
According to the game’s website, my computer has all of the specifications required to play the game. I have plenty of ram and a brand new monitor. Many times, the only way that I can get my computer to work properly after this happens is to do a complete reboot. This also happened to me when I tried to play Battlefield and a few other games. HELP!!”

-J. Snider

Solution: This was an easy fix, as J did not realize that he was using an outdated driver for his video card. One simple driver update eliminated this problem once and for all. Gamers need to be sure that they always have the most current video driver and graphics drivers installed on their computers.


“When I do a system restart on my computer, it will crash immediately after I enter my password. Sometimes the computer works fine, and sometimes Windows will freeze. The only way to use my computer is to restart again. What is going on??”

-M. cable

Solution: This is yet another problem caused by an outdated driver. In this case, Melissa did a complete scan of her drivers and found that the keyboard driver was not up to date. She installed the latest driver for her keyboard and this probably never occurred again.


“I can’t play any sound on my computer. Everything seems to be working fine but no music is playing. Do I need to replace the speakers?”

-S. isha

Solution: S’s problem was...Yes, you guessed it. A problem caused by an outdated audio driver.

It should be quite apparent to you that outdated drivers are some of the most common causes of computer problems. However, you will find that there are other
driver problems to look out for. Sometimes the driver isn’t compatible with you operating system, and other times the driver itself may be bad. This could be
due to a corrupt file or even an inferior software design.

If you receive any of the following error messages, then you most likely have an outdated driver:

  • STOP: 0xc000026C (Unable to load device driver) DriverName
  • STOP: 0xc0000221 (Unable to load device driver) DriverName
  • STOP: 0xc0000221. Bad image check sum, the image user32.dll is possibly
    corrupt. The header check sum does not match the computed check sum.

While there are many more possible error messages, these are just a few of the most common. As you saw in the case studies above, the problem is easy to solve. Simply uninstall the previous version, and upgrade to the newest driver available. It’s also a good idea to do a complete driver scan on your system. It is likely that you have more outdated drivers that can cause problems further down the road.