The following post is an updated version of a previous article published September 3, 2010.
Still running your computer with outdated system and peripheral drivers? If you are, then you’re not going to get the maximum performance out of your system, or peripherals, that’s just waiting to be unleashed.
Unfortunately, computer products/peripherals are often distributed with under tested device and system drivers which can cause real mayhem – including intermittent system crashes (one of the hardest problems to diagnose), poor system performance, or buggy peripheral performance.
Manufacturers of course, are not slackers when it comes to improving previously released drivers in order to fix bugs, errors and conflicts with other programs, (more common than you may think), or to increase peripheral functionality. For example, nVidia has just released the second driver update this year, for my video card.
If you want to take a trip on the “Frustration Express” then you can try to update your drivers manually. But, believe me; you’ll be in for a long and frustrating ride.
You’ll start by Googling the driver name, then investigation available drivers, many of which will have a disclaimer stating that it was not written specifically for your system/device; you’ll try it – then delete it, and then your back to Googling again. Repeat the previous frustrating experience as many times as necessary, and you might get lucky.
Fortunately, there are utilities which can make this process more or less, automatic. Unfortunately, there’s more BS associated with free driver download software than virtually any other class of software, except perhaps – antimalware software.
In the last few years I’ve reviewed and rated four such applications (free, at the time of review), all of which morphed into “pay” applications, or instituted highly restrictive policies such as allowing only two driver downloads. Or worse, advising the user of available driver updates, but requiring “cash up front” to enable the download.
Since I needed to do some driver work on a personal system this week, I asked around, and got more than a few recommendations to try Device Doctor. This application proved to be a hit with me – not only because it’s free, but I liked its minimalist approach, and fast download speeds.
The developers are on the record as stating that they will continue to offer Device Doctor as a freeware application. Hopefully, we can count on this.
Running the application is a snap. The following screen capture illustrates the bare bones GUI – just click on “Begin Scan”.
The complete scan took less than 5 seconds. Now that’s impressive!
Now that you have the new device driver downloaded, you can install at your convenience.
Let me re-emphasize: Be sure to create a system restore point before installing a new driver.
Provides drivers for every major computer hardware and device manufacturer.
More than 3 terabytes (3,000 GB) of drivers currently in the database.
Constantly updated to include new driver versions as soon as released.
Every driver is human reviewed using specialized compatibility tools.
Designed for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Thousands of drivers coming in weekly for Windows 7.
Full support for 64-bit systems, as well as 32-bit systems
Provides device names for unknown devices before updating drivers.
Can be used offline – scan results are saved so you can move them to a connected computer and download there.
Updates WHQL (Microsoft certified) and non-WHQL drivers.
Completely free with no adware or malware!
System requirements: Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 (32 bit and 64-bit compatible).
Download at: the developer’s site (Device Doctor).
Portable version: A portable version is also available here.
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