Keep your PC’s hardware working to the best of its ability with Smart Driver Updater

Keep your PC’s hardware working to the best of its ability with this important Windows utility.

SDU-01

One of the most important parts of any operating system as the drivers for each component under the hood or connected to your computer.  Having really good drivers can mean the difference between your PC running well, your performance tanking or not being to use either an accessory or peripheral or the entire PC.  This is especially important with newer operating systems, as updates to drivers can come, literally, all the time.  At that point, versioning can become an issue as app and driver installers are notorious for leaving artifacts behind and in some cases, drivers can even become outdated. This is why I really like Smart Driver Updater.  It helps you find and keep the best drivers for your Windows PC, up to date.

Just because a file is a driver file, doesn’t mean that it’s excluded from errors and other kinds of file corruptions that happen to other Windows components.  As peripherals and accessories move through their life cycle, drivers get updated and your copies can become out dated, quickly; and you often won’t know if that happens. Most computer connected devices don’t have auto-updaters.

Sometimes, installation processes can go sideways and an update gets applied incorrectly.  Or sometimes OTHER drivers get updated, and that update effects the performance of another peripheral or accessory because they share some kind of soft-component…  When something like this happens, it can take one, the other or both drivers – and devices – down.

Provided that the device or accessory isn’t damaged, all you likely need to do is update the actual driver file(s) for any related accessories and you’re back in business. Unfortunately, trying manually track this stuff down can be a HUGE headache. I know from firsthand experience. It can be a nightmare, especially if you’re trying to update drivers for more than one device at a time. This is where Smart Driver Updater comes to your rescue.

Smart Driver Updater has a database of over 600,000 drivers. The app’s database is constantly updated and edited to make sure that the best driver updates are available. With Smart Driver Updater, you’ll always have the latest driver updates available to you.

Having a Windows PC – especially for someone like me who is constantly testing both software and hardware – means that you’re always only a few months away from a complete tear down and rebuild of your PC.  If you ever have to nuke the hard drive and start from scratch, getting right back where you were with all of your drivers is very easy with Smart Driver Updater. It backs up all of your drivers to a zip file that is easily exported, giving you a quick, easy way to get back to where you were.

Smart Driver Updater isn’t the kind of application that has a lot of bells and whistles. It’s no nonsense, pragmatic approach to keeping your computer’s and peripheral’s drivers updated and current isn’t going to be the application that you ache to run every time you boot up your PC… That is, until it saves your bacon.  Then, you’re probably not going to want to run your computer without it.

The app’s Scheduler gives you standard “set it and forget it” functionality. Once activated, the app will scan your drivers at startup or at a day and time during the week or month and tell you what needs updating.  Putting that in place should be part of EVERY Windows PC’s boot process so that your PC is always running at peak performance.

 

Download Smart Driver Updater

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Dell Latitude 10 ST2 Follow-Up

latitude-10-tablet-overview2I’m still actively using my Windows 8 Based Dell Tablet; but I have a couple of updates. Let’s talk Microsoft OneNote.

I work in corporate America, as a software quality professional.  I do that in the healthcare arena as well, and as such, I often find myself either on the phone in conference calls or going from meeting to meeting every day.  My work day starts between 7:00-7:30am and usually ends between 5:00-5:30pm.  I am often in demand for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’ve got over 21 years of experience in quality assurance and am an SDLC expert
  2. I’ve got over 17 years of experience as a technology journalist, and I’m often sought out by people at the office – both formally and informally – to address technology issues.

Yep. I get everything from, “Chris can you help us define the right mobile testing strategy for this project?” to, “Chris, my daughter can’t get her iPad to download this content.”

If I’m not at my desk, I’m out and about; and being a contractor, I don’t have a cubicle to myself.  I’m located in a contractor’s bullpen with 32″ of shelf space – just enough room for my desk phone, laptop, monitor, keyboard, mouse and coffee cup – to call my own.  As such, having my Dell Latitude 10 ST2 here at the office is very beneficial, and actually pretty cool.

OneNoteLogoMicrosoft OneNote is a really great note taking application. Inking aside for just a moment, its organizational features allow me to take and organize notes for any number of different project meetings. If notes are typed, or if hand written notes are run through the app’s included OCR engine, notes can be cataloged and searched quickly and easily.

From a digital inking perspective, the device just shines.  As a digital notepad, I can use the device’s TabletPC features and Wacom stylus make taking handwritten notes easy. Even without transcoding all of the digital ink into text, it’s still easy to organize and find meeting notes from a specific meeting and date thanks to OneNote’s cataloging system.

I’ve used TabletPC’s at two different companies between 2007 and 2010.  I really liked the experience and found it to be the type of computing experience that worked the best for me. I’ve been trying to replicate that with my iPad, but the technology in it just didn’t cut it, despite the type of note taking app or stylus I used. While Windows 8 isn’t my favorite OS, mostly due to ModernUI, I’ll gladly use it as long as I can keep the Latitude 10 ST2’s slim form factor and easily portability. This is likely one tool that I will continue to use for years to come, if only for this purpose. I’ve gone green when it comes to meeting notes. No more pads of paper for me…

I was recently made aware of some updates that became available for the device.  Dell is actually pretty good at improving current generation products; and the Latitude 10 ST2 recently got a BIOS update as well as driver and support program updates during mid to late April 2013. I spent a good deal of time downloading the files and planned on spending a small amount of time refreshing the BIOS and those drivers I mentioned.  I’m hopeful that the updates make a bit of a difference performance wise.

As you may recall from the review, while the tablet has 1.8Ghz Atom z2760 processor, the device doesn’t have a lot of punch.  The Atom z2760 processor may be “fast,” but it doesn’t have a lot of horse power.

One of the drivers that got updated was the tablet’s graphics driver. This is important, as the original Windows Experience Index score for the device is 3.3, with the devices Gaming Graphics determining the overall score.  There was a change after the updates were applied.

The overall Windows Experience Index Score went down from 3.3 to 3.2.

Prior to the new graphics drivers being installed, the Desktop Graphics score was 3.8 and the Gaming Graphics score was 3.3.  After the graphics driver update, both dropped to 3.2.  I’m not encouraged…

I will need to do more testing, and there may yet be another driver update. Hopefully, the combination of BIOS and driver updates will produce a smoother experience. However, I’m not holding my breath.

 

 

 

 

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AMD Catalyst 11.7 WHQL Released

AMD just released this month’s major update to its Catalyst software suite, Catalyst 11.7 WHQL. The new driver introduces a few major bug fixes, and provides WHQL-signed support for the recently released AMD A-Series APUs, apart from Radeon GPUs and AMD 8-series and 7-series chipset-integrated graphics.

AMD claims to have fixed all outstanding issues related to cursor-lag; a variety of system hangs noted when using HDMI or DisplayPort outputs have been fixed; a number of video playback issues, some generic and some application-specific, were resolved; the “checkerboard” pattern display corruption issue related to Eyefinity on CrossFire setups in DirectX 10 games was fixed; and flickering issues related to Portal 2 were fixed.

The driver doesn’t introduce any new features or performance improvements, but with greater stability, improved performance should naturally follow.

Download AMD Catalyst 11.7 WHQL

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