While it is not really necessary to update computer drivers regularly, I'd recommend to check for updates on a regular basis to make sure you do not miss stability, security or performance updates. The video card is probably the device that is kept up to date on many systems more than other hardware as gamers know that the latest version of Nvidia's latest GeForce drivers and AMD's Catalyst drivers often improve performance and compatibility on their systems.
Programs like SlimDrivers or Device Doctor automate the process by scanning the system for outdated drivers and providing the means to update those drivers afterwards. Many of the programs that we have reviewed in the past have turned commercial after having been available for free or as lite versions for some time.
DriverPack Solution is a special case as both the lite and full version of the program are freely available. The difference is mainly one of size, with the full version packing a whooping 3 Gigabytes of drivers and data that the lite version does not ship with. Another difference is that you can download the lite version of the driver updater from the official website, while the full version is only available via a torrent download or as a purchased DVD.
Since drivers are integrated in the full version, it supports offline updates of outdated drivers, something that the lite version does not support as well.
When you first start the program after installation you will notice that it is running a scan right away. It does not take long to complete and core hardware of your computer is displayed in the program interface afterwards.
Here you see your computer's BIOS, the processor and the core temperatire, the RAM, all hard drives and other system related information. Options to run cleanups, defrags and to test the memory are provided right here.
The first thing that I suggest you do is to click on the Settings button to activate Expert Mode which adds information to the program that you can work with.
Not all tabs are functional in the lite version. Only the Misc tab, highlighting all drivers that the program has identified, the search tab, which offers to search for drivers that need updating on the web, and the backup tab, which offers to backup system drivers, are functional.
A click on a driver in the search tab - those that need updating are listed here - offers to either install the update automatically which triggers a driver download, or redirect the user to a search page on a driver download website.
Ads are displayed in several areas of the program. You find a driver update link in the main interface leading to a commercial offering to update system drivers, and two links to commercial backup solutions in the backup tab. On top of that, the installer is also listing adware offers.
The program for the most part seems to work quite well. It had a issue identifying the NVIDIA GeForce driver on the system, displaying the driver as unknown in the interface, but other than that, it seems to have identified drivers properly. Another issue that I ran into was that it did not display driver versions of installed drivers. While it listed one device driver as outdated on the Search page, it failed to mention the version of that driver, which in turn made it impossible to find out if the drivers listed on the search results page were indeed newer than the installed one. You can resolve that with a little bit of digging on your own though.Advertisement
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.