Automated solutions to find new Windows drivers are not usually as reliable as they should be. Most of the services that have been tested in the past did display false positives that could have a negative impact on a computer system's stability.
The drivers that can have a negative impact are usually system drivers for motherboard chipsets that are better left alone. False positives on the other hand are usually drivers that are not compatible with the device but returned as such.
Update: Ma-Config is now known as DriversCloud. The service supports online and offline detection now, and requires you to download a program to your system to analyze the hardware and provide you with information on driver updates. A Linux version is also available now. The service is still free, and an ActiveX plugin is no longer required to use it.
The two options that you have are the following ones:
Download one of the available clients from the official DriversCloud website to get started. I suggest you pick the offline client. While it adds another step to the whole driver identification and updating process, it is better from a privacy point of view.
Run the main executable file after you have downloaded and extracted the DriversCloud archive. Make sure you check offline detection on the first screen that appears, and click on the detect button afterwards.
Note that DriversCloud attempts to connect to the Internet even if you select offline detection.
All the program does is create a configuration file in the .mc file format. It is unfortunately a proprietary format. This means that you cannot check it before you upload it to the DriversCloud service.
The online service displays information about the device's hardware. You may also select "find the drivers" there to list all components for which driver updates are available. These updates can be downloaded to the local system directly from there.
You should still verify the findings before you install any of them on the target computer to avoid issues with drivers.
Ma-Config is a French service that is available in English as well (with some leftovers that are not translated).The service can be used with an ActiveX plugin directly in Internet Explorer or as a download for other web browsers.
The service itself is run in a web browser. The system's configuration will be detected upon the user's request and a summary of the hardware components that have been discovered will be displayed after the system scan.
A click on the Find button after clicking on the Find The Drivers button at the top will search the database of the service for newer drivers. Everything that is found during that process will be displayed in an overview afterwards.
The devices were identified correctly by the service. Most of the drivers that have been suggested on the other hand did not need to be installed. The service did for instance suggest a beta version of the Ati Radeon Catalyst driver although the final driver was already installed on the system. That could have been a problem with Ati's versioning however as the beta driver used a newer driver packaging version than the final driver.
It is therefor recommended to check the suggested drivers before installing them. This in turn makes the service less comfortable to use. Some users might prefer to perform a manual search for updated drivers instead (which they have to do anyway when analysing the findings of the program).
Ma-Config might come in handy on the other hand if drivers cannot be find manually. The computer hardware list can be exported into a pdf file that can be downloaded to the computer system.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.