Sunday, September 22, 2013

Keep Your System Drivers Up To Date With This Free Software!


Driver Booster relies on a huge online device database
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Keeping drivers up to date is a chore for most of the users. This activity is rarely carried out by beginner and average users; even more experienced ones, though aware of the benefits of this procedure, forget about installing the latest revisions.

The performance of the entire system can be noticeably improved by adding the latest drivers to the system.

Driver Booster from IObit has been designed as a simple solution for detecting outdated drivers, downloading and installing them. Everything works automatically and the user has to click only a few times in order to complete the operation.

The application is available free of charge, but a paid variant ($28.95 / 22 EUR), called Pro, also exists. Users of the latter are treated with priority and should receive the files faster.

Installing Driver Booster is straightforward as the product does not require additional resources for proper functioning and no third-party software is pushed onto the system in the process.

Looks are pretty simple, with the main screen displaying in a clear manner whether there are outdated drivers present on the system or not. In case of the former scenario a large “scan” button can initiate the detection procedure.

Also available in the main application window is an assessment of the driver performance, which, as far as we could tell, relies on the version of the installed driver: the older it is, the worse the performance.

During our tests, the detection process took under 15 seconds to complete, even on an older test machine.

With a database currently holding 35,862 devices, it is quite difficult for Driver Booster to lack the necessary details about a hardware component.

When the scan finishes, you are displayed the drivers that have a newer version available for download. One click on the “Update All” button starts the process of downloading and installing the necessary files.

By default, everything is carried out automatically in the background so you do not have to go through additional wizard windows or dialog boxes. This can be disabled in the configuration panel of the program, though.

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For safety reasons, a restore point is created before replacing anything on the system; thus you can return to the previous configuration should something go wrong. Some drivers require restarting the system for all the changes to take effect.

IObit’s product can offer details about the currently installed version of the file and the newer one available for download, as well as the size of the update and its release date.

The configuration panel features options for tweaking the application to work the way you want. You can set it to start with the operating system and perform a scan immediately or it can search for outdated drivers at user-defined time intervals: twice a week, every day or on a monthly basis.

Since it downloads the files locally, it offers the possibility to define a specific location to store all the files. Some of the data may be quite large so in order to preserve disk space, it can delete all the files automatically after installing them.

The “Settings” panel is also the place where you can disable the creation of a restore point, although we strongly recommend against it.

While the drivers are installing, you may experience some strange behavior, such as flickering of the display or the monitor turning black altogether for a few seconds.

Additionally, we noticed that at times that some peripherals would temporarily fail to respond. This is normal behavior and as soon as the new files are on the system, everything will work just fine.

Generally updating drivers is not an activity that can be carried out too often, but having Driver Booster check for new releases automatically not only is one chore less, but it also ensures that the system benefits from the latest developments that more often than not results in better hardware performance.

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The Good

Outdated drivers are listed first. There is little to configure as the default setup is suitable for most users.

Before installing anything on the computer, it creates a system restore point and each of them can be managed from inside the application.

Scans can be scheduled to run with specific frequency.

The Bad

When trying to upgrade, the application informs of a number of drivers that require frequent updates (in our case the alert was for 43 of them on one test system and about 90 on the other), only as an incentive for placing the order. In our few days’ testing, no drivers required an update except for the initial ones.

The Truth

By far, one of the greatest features, besides the ability to download and install drivers in the background, is creating restore points that can be accessed from the System Restore applet in Windows.

Driver Booster worked fine during our tests and the problems created by incompatible drivers were eliminated by reverting the system to a previous state.

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