Second only to the broken PC advice 'turn it off and back on again' is 'install the latest drivers' - Avanquest Driver Genius 10 makes this easy. It's amazing how many, often obscure, PC problems can be cured by downloading and installing updated drivers. These bits of software which make the hardware work may be for components on the mainboard of your PC, for expansion cards or for plug-in peripherals, like external drives or TV tuners.
It's perfectly possible to visit all the relevant hardware sites and search there for the latest supporting software, of course, but its also perfectly possible you have more interesting things to do. That's where Avanquest Driver Genius 10 comes in.
Avanquest Driver Genius 10 automates the process, by searching through your PC and identifying all the hardware drivers you have installed. It then visits the relevant sites, checks if there are more recent versions and offers to download and install them for you. It doesn't do this fully automatically and you still have to run through each individual driver install routine, but at least you then know what you're installing and can make appropriate choices.
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We ran Avanquest Driver Genius 10 on a test PC and it started by sensibly creating a Windows restore point. It then detected four sets of drivers which weren't up to date: for the display, the RAID array, the TV tuner and the Intel chipset. Each download and installation went smoothly, though at the end we couldn't detect any immediate speed improvement or smoother running. Although this would be a bonus, the main reason for keeping drivers up to date is to stop unexpected glitches in your PC.
Avanquest Driver Genius 10 now includes extra features to simplify the process. It includes a scheduler, so you can set up a regular scan at a convenient time, rather than sticking a Post-It reminder on your screen. You can also get the program to pop up notifications when it's downloaded new drivers and needs to install them. Finally, you can set the program to remove outdated versions of drivers, to reduce the clutter in your Downloads folder, or wherever you store them.
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You can also back up all your drivers, so you can easily install them on a series of machines, if they have the same specification. This is obviously useful if you're part of an IT department, tasked with maintaining a stable of PCs. The backup can be created as an executable file, too, so the driver installation can auto-run on each PC.
There are plenty of sites now which offer a wide range of drivers, so you can go to a single source for most of this software, but most of these sites charge heavily for the privilege. It's good to have a product like Driver Genius 10, from a reputable supplier, which keeps your driver software up to date for a reasonable annual subscription. Yes, you can do the same work yourself, in the same way you can write all your documents in Notepad. Avanquest Driver Genius 10 should be considered as a safeguard, in the same way as an Internet Security suite.