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Driver Update Software

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Greetings.

 

Just asking out of curiosity. Anybody recommend good software that scans for outdated drivers in Windows? I've been using Driver Easy to do this task, though the free version slows download speeds. I'm not having any urgent problems, just curious to see what's out there or if there's anything better or more recommended by the forums here.

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I recommend none. That is, I don't recommend using any 3rd party app.

 

Except for, maybe, the graphics drivers, drivers typically don't need updating just because a new driver is out there. Drivers don't suddenly wear out or get old and become ineffective. Most new drivers just add support for new hardware (CPUs, for example) that came out after the device left the factory.

 

Even with graphics drivers, new drivers typically just add support for some new protocol required by a game that just came out or was updated with new features. If that does not apply to you, you don't need to update your driver.

 

My recommendation is to manually check your hardware's websites for updates. Then read the change log to see if the updated driver addresses a known security issue, or a problem you are experiencing. Otherwise, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

 

When I build a new computer, or update an older one, I will make sure I have the latest drivers. But after that, I don't update just because a new driver is out there.

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Even if you update graphics drivers, there is often stuff you don't need in an Express install. If you don't use HDMI audio you won't need that driver. If you don't have a 3D monitor you won't need any of the 3D Vision software.

Speaking for Nvidia here, but I'm sure the AMD driver packages have similar features you may not need.

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Even if you update graphics drivers, there is often stuff you don't need in an Express install.
Good point. FTR, I never ever do express (or the default) install of anything. I always pick the custom install option just to avoid installing extra junk they often want to foist on our systems.

 

I accept that, especially with free programs, the developers need to feed and shelter their families too. That's why they often "bundle" in extra toolbars, search engines, home pages, or even trial versions of security programs. And I'm okay with that AS LONG AS they provide an easy way to opt-out of all those extras. If no custom install option is provided, I will typically cancel the install.

 

BTW, printer makers are the worse when it comes to foisting junk on our systems. I never install the suites and always install just the driver (and fortunately - W10 is really good at doing just that on its own).

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Some printer software is OK. I found with an HP all-in-one I needed to install some OCR software in order to scan to a .pdf document.

Another major bloatware offender in my book is the digital camera. Every one I have includes a photo management suite of questionable utility.

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I found with an HP all-in-one I needed to install some OCR software in order to scan to a .pdf document.
But if that AiO was network capable, I bet you didn't need to install the HP software that came with the printer. I'm on my 3rd HP all-in-one and I have never needed to install the HP suite of software - only the basic drivers.

 

This is because HP has their "embedded web server" (EWS) software in those devices (or the ones I buy anyway - I look for that feature when buying). All you need to do is enter the IP address of the printer into your browser and viola! You can fax, scan, check ink levels, run maintenance tasks and more - without running any HP software on your computer. It's all done from your browser. :)

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This was an older AIO that was hooked up via USB to a desktop. The one I have now (Envy 5530) is indeed network capable. All I installed here was the driver. So yes things have improved.

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Well, not sure about EWS availability with older AiOs. For sure, if not network capable, it would not support it. My first network ready HP AiO from over 20 years ago supported EWS (though it was rudimentary compared to today's version and I think they called it something else back then) without having to install the bloated software package. :) But that device was HUGE (especially with the duplex printing accessory that added an extra 3 inches in height), it weighed a ton, and took forever to print. But the printouts were gorgeous - even back then. It's amazing how, being so mechanical, they have been able to shrink these devices into such small packages these days.

 

That said, that printer lasted over 12 years. It's replacement died after 6 years. This one is only 4 years old and I wonder if it is running on borrowed time now. :(

 

Another major bloatware offender in my book is the digital camera.
Agreed. Smart phones are not much better.

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Yup the old HP Deskjets are pretty solid even if they aren't network capable. I have a 5550 hooked up in the basement to my Linux desktop for the grandkids to print with. It's from 2002 and still chugging along (slowly but it works.)

I find I'm printing a lot less these days. I had a bunch of documents for a recent holiday so I just made .pdfs and put them on Google Drive for reference.

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I find I'm printing a lot less these days.
I think that's typical of most people (and many businesses too). It's just easier and cheaper to save an electronic copy.

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