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Archive for April, 2013

Backing Up Your Computer Means Backing Up Your Drivers, Too

Backing Up Your Computer Means Backing Up Your Drivers, Too

Backing up a computer seems to be a confusing task for some people. I’m not sure why, but there are several schools of thought on backups. What confuses me most as a technician, is why some folks want a data-only backup. Having a recent system backup that includes all of your Windows drivers is indispensible when the unthinkable happens.

Data? Configuration? Both!

Don’t get me wrong! I understand the value of a data backup. After all, you have the programs and can reload them as needed, but you can’t recreate your data without the help of a backup. Even so, you still run the real risk of losing data that you may have created between incremental backups.
Most people seem to forget that they can also lose system configuration information when their hard disk crashes or they experience some other type of failure. Having a complete, recent backup of your system software, configuration data and hardware drivers can really bail you out of a tight spot and make the process of recovery from a crash a lot easier.

If you put your system on a backup schedule, don’t allow your backups to age by more than a month. Most people don’t mess with their system configurations too much, so your system and configurations might not change too much on a month-to-month basis. What does change is the system patches you apply from Patch Tuesday, and any out-of-band updates that might come along.

If you don’t want to put your system on a regular backup schedule, you should manually roll a system backup whenever you apply a patch, update a driver or make configuration changes. Sounds like a pain? Imagine having to re-create your system after a crash!

Your best bet is to schedule regular backups that include both your data and your system configuration. You can survive the loss of an application because you can either reload it from original media and patch back to the current revision level, or you can redownload it, if you opted for a media-less installation. Your data is irreplaceable, so it definitely requires regular backup, and your system configuration, including your hardware drivers, really requires a regular backup of some sort.

If you really want to be safe about having your system configuration protected, consider using Driver Detective. Driver Detective manages and maintains all of the hardware drivers your system requires. You’ll never fall behind on driver updates, and the current versions of your hardware drivers are always immediately at hand!

Download your copy of Driver Detective today and take some time to protect this important part of your system configuration.

Photo Credit: quapan, via Flickr

Keeping Drivers Updated Is Part Of The Game

Keeping Drivers Updated Is Part Of The Game

Windows drivers are updated periodically, but as a Windows user, you can’t always rely on Microsoft to distribute new drivers as part of their regular update cycle. Why not? Microsoft doesn’t make most of the drivers that are loaded onto your computer, or anyone elses.

Where Drivers Come From

The term “Windows drivers” is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, there are drivers for Windows, but they don’t come from Microsoft, unless they’re the generic device drivers that come with every Windows installation. Most “Windows drivers” are third-party applications that come from the manufacturers of hardware devices that may be attached to or installed inside of your computer.

Some people tend to think of “third-party hardware” as being the stuff that’s attached to your computer on the outside, but a lot of “third-party hardware actually resides inside your computer. Your video card (which is probably integrated into your motherboard), your network card (another likely integration) and your USB controller are three prime examples of third party hardware that you might never actually see or connect to your computer.

If you’re a gamer, chances are good that you have (or will at some point) upgrade your computer’s video card to accommodate the monster-load of graphics processing that modern PC games expect. In that case, you’ll open up your computer (or have a tech do that for you), install the card into the slot and carry on. To ensure that your video card upgrade works the way you want it to, you’ll periodically need to check for updates to your video card driver.

Checking for driver updates is a good practice to get into, but new hardware drivers aren’t released every day. That means you’ll have to remember to check for drivers every now and then to be sure that your drivers are up-to-date.

Having out-of-date drivers will eventually catch up to you. If your hardware drivers are out-of-date, you’ll probably get degraded performance from the device. You may find that the device doesn’t work all the time the way it’s supposed to, and sometimes, a bad device driver can cause a device to stop working altogether.

Using a software program like Driver Detective helps to ensure that you always have the most up-to-date version of the hardware drivers your computer needs to provide flawless performance. Driver Detective monitors the availability of new drivers, downloads them and installs them so you don’t have to. It can’t get any simpler! Download your copy of Driver Detective today!

Photo Credit: Wighman, via Flickr