Device Drivers accept commands from the operating system and translates them into hardware-specific commands. Adding hardware does not affect the OS. Windows looks to the device driver to translate the data, once the driver is properly installed and registered. Drivers exist for the system components, the keyboard, mouse, communications ports, and other hardware installed on a Wintel system.

There are two types of device drivers.

  • Real-Mode Device Drivers
    Real-mode drivers are made to interface through the DOS environment. The drivers are implemented through .SYS or .DRV files. These files are loaded in the CONFIG.SYS or any Windows .INI file.

  • Protected-Mode Device Drivers
    The protected-mode drivers take advantage of the x86 architecture. They are loaded when needed and unloaded when they are no longer required. These files are loaded as .VXD or .386 files.

    Driver files are normally located in the Windows 95 \windows\system folder. During setup, most drivers are incorporated into the VMM32.VXD file. As new drivers are installed, they are added to the VMM32.VXD. Should protected-mode drivers be found, the system will remark (REM) out the real-mode drivers in the CONFIG.SYS file.