plug and play devices How many times have you plugged a device into your computer only to find out that the operating system doesn’t have the drivers you need to run it? Depending on how new your operating system is you should find that device recognition is fairly good… Vista alone ships with over 19,000 drivers for devices that you use everyday.

The problem is that the operating system is not future-proof, and will obviously not include drivers for devices that haven’t even been created yet. Microsoft has filed for a patent that may make that a thing of the past, regardless of whether you have an Internet connection or not.

The patent outlines a plan for devices to include a small flash memory component that contains the drivers need for the device to function properly. When the user plugs the device into the computer the operating system will automatically recognize that there are drivers stored internally on the device, and then install them. What’s even better is that the drivers on the device are updateable so that taking the device from one computer to another will always result in the latest drivers being used.

This is a great step that Microsoft is taking to make device installation even easier, and I’m sure manufacturers will be taking advantage of it considering the price of flash memory is rapidly dropping.

Microsoft Patent [via istartedsomething]