Driver update question


Senior Member
A common solution to various problems is to update the drivers. There are many third party programs that claim to do that. Virtually every one I have evaluated discovers that almost every driver on my computer is out of date. Often, the ones they find as replacements are either older or the wrong driver. So, I went to the manufacturers' web sites to check drivers. The hardware manufacturers list newer drivers for many devices. However, if I use the Windows Device Manager to check the drivers, it says that every driver is up to date.

There are several possible explanations.
  1. The devices in my computer could be OEM versions for which the drivers on file really are the most up-to-date and best (and loading the device manufacturers' drivers for the retail versions could introduce problems).
  2. The device manufacturers may not have wanted to pay Microsoft to keep their driver offerings current, so the drivers offered on the manufacturers' web sites could be better or solve problems.
  3. The drivers list maintained by Windows could be tied to the original OEM driver names rather than the hardware identities, in which case Windows is simply unaware that new drivers are available from the device manufacturers.
There are probably other possible explanations and it may be different answers in different cases. In some cases, newer isn't necessarily better. For example, printer manufacturers sometimes update their drivers to more effectively keep you from using other manufacturers supplies.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. However, if the computer is experiencing problems for which one of the solutions is to check the drivers, what is the recommendation? Believe the Device Manager that everything is current? Download a newer driver from the device manufacturer's web site and then if it doesn't solve the problem, roll it back (vs. keep it anyway because it is "newer")? Thoughts?


Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
For OEM installations I check only the supplier site. For others I check the manufacturer site. I block all driver updates from Windows for the reasons you describe and I most definitely never will allow driver update "wizards" within light years of my pc's (if you can't change your own spare wheel on your car you shouldn't be driving).

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