• Printer & Scanner Drivers
  • Sound & Video Drivers
  • Digital Cameras & Displays
  • USB and Removable Drives
  • CD / DVD Drivers
  • Graphics & Input Devices
  • 1,000,000's of other Drivers ...

Archive for March, 2013

Check Out Driver Landscape Before Downgrading To Windows 7

Check Out Driver Landscape Before Downgrading To Windows 7

Inevitably when Microsoft releases a new operating system, a segment of the user community will want to downgrade to the previous version of the OS. This typically happens when a user buys a computer from a manufacturer after the new OS has been released, and the OS comes pre-loaded (along with all of the required hardware drivers on the new device.

How hard is it to step down?

So how hard is it to revert to an older version of the OS? In most cases, it shouldn’t be hard, assuming that you have a licensed copy of the operating system, and your software can run on either the old or new version of the OS. One thing that many people don’t consider, however, is the availability of drivers.

With Microsoft Vista, a lot of users had the experience of having hardware for which no driver had been written. A lot of older hardware had to be mothballed during the upgrade. Users don’t often take into consideration that sometimes, with exceptionally new hardware, manufacturers don’t write device drivers for older hardware. This leaves users in the reverse situation of not being able to find drivers that allow the old OS to work with the newest hardware.

This is the one major caveat I would issue for users who are looking to downgrade their OS after purchasing brand new hardware. Check to make sure that working drivers for that brand new hardware are available in the older OS. If not, there’s no benefit to downgrading the OS, unless you can find a generic driver that will do the trick.

There’s no compelling reason for a device manufacturer to write drivers for brand new hardware and old operating systems, unless the old operating system enjoys a significant number of users who either haven’t upgraded or don’t plan to. This was the situation that Windows XP was in; users simply weren’t interested in upgrading. If hardware manufacturers wanted to reach a large number of potential users, they had to make drivers for the older XP OS available.

With Windows 7 and Windows 8, some manufacturers may be able to make a similarly compelling case. Windows 8, for the most part was designed for mobile devices. By all accounts, users like Windows 7, and it seems to work well. Like Windows XP, it also provides an alternative for users who don’t see the need to upgrade to Windows 8. Windows 7 currently has a large and growing installed user base, which makes it more attractive to developers who may be willing to throw Windows 7 users a bone when it comes to their latest hardware.

The bottom line for users is this: whether you plan to upgrade to a new OS on older hardware, or downgrade to an older OS using new hardware, make sure that the hardware drivers you need are available for your equipment before doing anything!

Photo Credit: Dell Computer, via Flickr

USB Controller Issues Can Masquerade As Hardware Driver Problems

USB Controller Issues Can Masquerade As Hardware Driver Problems

USB drivers have been getting a lot of attention in the Windows environment lately, and not necessarily in a good way. Patch Tuesday brought out an interesting security issue related to a USB exploit that has thankfully been fixed!

USB issue could point to other assault vectors

In the most recent Patch Tuesday delivery, a fix was installed that will correct a bug that allowed someone with physical access to a computer to run arbitrary code from a USB device. This particular exploit wasn’t related to USB drivers specifically; instead, a malicious user could exploit a flaw in a Windows kernel mode driver via a specially formatted USB device. The exploit would work regardless of the system’s auto-play/auto-run settings, whether or not a user was logged in, and even when the system was locked!

USB ports – more specifically problems with USB ports – can also crop up unexpectedly. When this occurs, you might immediately be tempted to reload the USB driver to see if that corrects the problem. If it does, hooray! But if your USB port problems continue, the source of the trouble might be more difficult to find.

In the new Windows environment, USB drivers should load automatically when you plug in a flash drive or other USB device. If you’re using the USB port to control different (or multiple) devices, you could see some crazy interactions between your computer and your devices. Even though a driver problem is a tempting suspect, you could be looking at a faulty USB port, or even a set of USB ports.

One good way to check the operation of your USB ports, especially if you have ports on both the front and back sides of your computer, is to plug the misbehaving device into a USB port on the opposite side of your computer. In other words, if the device misbehaves when plugged into a front-side port, plug it into a port on the back of the computer. If the problem goes away, you could have a malfunctioning port on your computer.

Another issue with USB ports is that the port controller may be underpowered. Your computer may not be able to supply enough power to multiple devices when you have them plugged into your computer, or into a chain of devices. (For example, your keyboard may have extra USB ports on it, but the ports on the keyboard may not receive enough power to allow certain USB devices to operate correctly, if at all.

Replacing the USB drivers isn’t hard, and won’t hurt your computer. But don’t be surprised if that doesn’t solve your problems! If you still have issues after having re-installed your USB drivers, consider a faulty USB port or USB port controller.

Photo Credit: viagallery.com, via Flickr

Not All Driver Maintenance Programs Are Alike!

Not All Driver Maintenance Programs Are Alike!

I’ve heard a lot of reports lately from people who have installed driver maintenance software, hoping to find a fix for a problem, only to have new problems crop up on their computers. The lesson for me in these stories is that not all driver maintenance software programs are alike!

Download and use something reliable!

One person reported that after installing a driver maintenance software package, his wireless networking no longer worked. Another person reported that his computer began to crash intermittently after he installed and ran a program designed to maintain his Windows drivers.
I have always recommended Driver Detective as my first choice in driver maintenance software. Finding, downloading and installing drivers is certainly no fun, but downloading and installing the wrong driver can be downright painful. Losing drivers that you need produces just about the same result.

That’s why it’s important to download and use a program that you know and trust, especially if you plan to give the program permission to make changes to your Windows setup. Driver Detective has been downloaded and used by more than a million users who trust Driver Detective to find, download, install, and maintain the correct hardware drivers for their system.

Each Windows PC has the potential to be unique. Many different PC manufacturers use different components in their computers, even though the model number may be identical on the outside. Knowing which driver to use is critical to the proper operation of your peripheral devices, and sometimes just knowing which model you have isn’t enough!

It’s also important to have the ability to restore your system to its previous state if you’re not happy with the changes you’ve made. With Driver Detective, your system is protected. You know that you will have only the drivers you need, and that you can return to a previous state if you don’t like the changes Driver Detective has made.

More importantly, you can be sure that you’ll always have the most up-to-date drivers for your hardware. As soon as new drivers become available, Driver Detective will download and install the new version. It will also keep a backup copy of the driver handy, in case the driver that loads becomes corrupted or is accidentally deleted.

When you rely on your computer the way many people do today, it’s important to use driver maintenance software you know and trust. Driver Detective is one of the most well-known and well-respected driver maintenance software packages on the market today. Download your copy and find out why so many PC users rely on Driver Detective to maintain their hardware drivers!

Photo Credit: Wonderlane, via Flickr