What is a Chipset Driver?

G. Wiesen

The term chipset driver usually refers to a small computer file that is required for a computer operating system (OS) to recognize the motherboard inside a computer and work with it. Basic chipset drivers are typically included as part of operating system install, although motherboard manufacturers also include specific drivers to allow the most effective functionality from the motherboard. The term is also sometimes used to describe other types of drivers used for other internal components, such as audio and video cards, though this is often seen as an inaccurate usage of the phrase. The driver can usually be found on a compact disc (CD) or other media that accompanies a motherboard, or it may be downloaded from the board's manufacturer.

Drivers and driver updates can commonly be downloaded from a motherboard manufacturer's website.
Drivers and driver updates can commonly be downloaded from a motherboard manufacturer's website.

Drivers are types of software specifically created to help an OS operate with a device or component that is a part of a computer or connected to it. A chipset driver refers to a type of driver that is created to help an OS better operate with the motherboard. The motherboard functions as the central hub to which all other devices are connected in some way. These can be physically installed directly onto the board, as the processor, random access memory (RAM), and video card usually are, or connected through a universal serial bus (USB) port or similar connector.

A computer motherboard.
A computer motherboard.

In order for the OS installed onto a computer’s hard drive to properly recognize and function with all of these installed devices, it must be able to first recognize and work with the motherboard. Installed drivers allow this, and they indicate how the OS can identify and function with the motherboard. Most operating systems will have a basic chipset driver for just about any major motherboard on the market. This is done to ensure that a newly installed OS will work on a computer when it is first started up and has not been updated.

While an OS may have some drivers built-in, a CD or other form of media that comes with a motherboard will usually have a more specific one that can be installed. An updated driver can also usually be downloaded from the manufacturer of the motherboard to more effectively take advantage of the device. This can usually help solve hardware issues, such as installed devices not always being recognized properly, or RAM and video cards not functioning as they should.

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Discussion Comments


@anon255909: If you really can't afford a new computer and also can't get a factory restore, you can always reformat and then download and install the drivers. This will take some time, but it will refresh your computer and having it working decently again.

First, you search the internet for a free working copy of Windows. Since you got this in 2009, I would say Windows XP. As far as how to get a free working copy, you'll have to figure that one out. Just look it up, I guess.

Then you burn the image of Windows XP onto a CD (if it's Windows 7, you'll need a DVD because Windows 7 is about 4 Gigs). You can use a program like "Alcohol 120", or "Nero", or something like that.

Then you get an external hard drive (or a series of DVD's if your struggling for money) and save all your data on it. All the "My documents" folders and "Download folders" and so forth. Everything you want to save. Make sure to get all Users accounts saved if there are multiple users. Another thing might be to make sure some folders aren't hidden because I'm not sure that if once you reformat, your new user account will be able to see them.

Also, I would try to save a printscreen of the "Devices" installed. Right-click on "My Computer" go to "Properties" and click on "Device Manager" (or something like that). Then expand all the devices and hit Ctrl+Alt+PrntScr to copy the "Devices" image. Go to the "Paint" program and hit "Ctrl+V" to paste the image, save the file, and then add this to your data to be saved. You save this because this way you ensure that you have a reference point if you're missing devices (drivers) once you reformat.

You can also go on the internet and download all the relevant drivers for your PC. Just go to your PC manufacturers website for driver software. You can add this to your files to be saved. But truthfully, you can just download the drivers after you've reformatted, if you have internet connection. The only risk is that it's possible that the driver responsible for your internet connection is missing or incorrect. But this is a very small risk.

Once you've saved everything you need, pop the disc in and restart the PC. If the PC doesn't boot from the CD, make sure you configure the BIOS to do so (restart the computer and immediately hit F12... I think). Then install your new operating system.

After the operating system is installed. You install all your drivers, checking your previously saved "Devices" print screen so that you get a sense of how well your drivers are matching up. Sometimes the drivers are just zip files, but they don't actually install the software. Make sure you navigate to where the zip file is unzipped, and open the executable (.exe file). Usually something like "Setup.exe" or something like that. Confirm that everything is actually installed correctly and boom, practically a new computer.


Please save yourself from more heartache and buy a new one. Once you purchase it you'll regret why hadn't done it earlier. If it can't be of help to you then it's not worth your precious time.


I am in desperte need of help. I have a eMachines EL 1210 - 9, built in 2008.

Here's the problem. I purchased this CPU in 2009,in the USA. I was not used to computers at that time. It was my first. When I purchased it, there was no factory restore system set up installed.

It is now 2012 and I live in the Philippines. My computer is running like crap and very slow and constantly shutting down.

I contacted Gateway and Acer and eMachines about it. They all tell me I need to place a purchase order for the disc online to factory restore the system. I went online, entered all the required information needed amd now I get the message "item not available."

How can I restore my CPU? I need it very much. It's my only communication with family in the us and my elderly sick mother whom I worship!

Please help me if you can in any way.

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