Most of the devices and hardware that you connect to a PC running a recent version of Windows work out of the box without any configuring or driver installations.
While that is certainly not the case for all of them, things have gotten a lot better in this regard in the past ten years.
It may still make sense to install driver updates regularly or even install drivers provided by the manufacturer instead of making use of the generic drivers that Windows ships with.
Some driver updates may add functionality to the device while others may improve stability or performance instead.
This is for instance often the case with video card drivers. While usually only important to gamers who run games on Windows, it can at times also make sense for non-gamers to keep these drivers up to date.
DriveTheLife is a free program for Windows that you can use to find and installer driver updates and backup or restore drivers.
It works similar to other programs of its kind but recommends to back up the current drivers prior to anything else when you first start it up.
This ensures that initial drivers can be restored after updates.
Once that is out of the way you can switch to local in the sidebar to get a list of devices that don't run the latest drivers.
A click on a device on this page lists the installed driver version and the new one, the driver type that was discovered by DriveTheLife, the device name, and an update button.
Each device driver can be updated manually this way or all in one go if you prefer it that way.
New drivers are downloaded in the program interface right away which is comfortable and convenient.
If you click on the manual installation button installation prompts are displayed to you which allow you to select what gets installed and what does not if the driver supports it.
If you take Nvidia drivers for example: you may not require all of the programs the driver ships with. If you don't have a 3D display for example it makes no sense to install the 3d components on the system.
The evaluate option on the same page checks important devices and their compatibility with the current operating system.
The manage page finally lists backup, restoration and uninstallation options. You can use it to restore driver backups, create additional backups of drivers, or remove drivers completely from the system.
It comes down to personal choice and experience more than anything else. DriveTheLife offers a clean interface and while it is still necessary to verify the driver updates found before you hit the install button, it makes it easy to undo any errors done in this regard provided that Windows is still booting up after the operation.
Users who like to use a program for the task need to evaluate several anyway and nothing speaks against adding DriveTheLife to that list of programs.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
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.