DriverIdentifier checks your PC for driver updates

February 20, 2012 – 07:31 by in Tips Print Share No Comment

If you’re looking for an application which can locate driver updates for you then there’s plenty of competition around. Much of this is from commercial packages, but if you’d prefer a free option then DriverIdentifier could be a reasonable choice.

Installation only takes a moment, for instance. And while we’ve seen reports that DriverIdentifier has installed browser toolbars by default in the past, our version (3.9) did nothing of the kind, just launching the program when setup was complete.

One click of the Scan Drivers button and DriverIdentifier went to work, identifying our installed devices and their drivers, and sending the information to a central database. A moment later a browser window opened with the program’s report: a list of our drivers including device name, manufacturer, driver version and date, and download links presented for any updates, where available.

Just click the "Scan Drivers" button and wait for the program's report

While this is fine for the basics, you’re really getting nothing more than a static report. You can’t filter or sort your driver list, and there are no options to, say, download all the updates, or install them automatically.

And updating manually won’t always be straightforward, either. We clicked the Update link next to a mouse driver, for instance, and found six files on offer. One of these had the latest version and so seemed the obvious candidate, but if you didn’t want that for some reason then it may be hard to decide which was best. DriverIdentifier said both USB_Mouse_VT_090514.zip and USB_Mouse_VT.zip contained the same driver version, for instance, so what to pick? We had no idea.

If you’re a PC beginner hoping for an easy way to automate the process of driver updates, then, this program probably isn’t for you.

But of course the reality is that updating drivers is a complex business, not something which can be reliably automated. Sure, some tools try to find and install the right driver at a click, but they’ll occasionally get it wrong. DriverIdentifier does at least know its limitations, and that could make the program useful, if only as a quick check. So if you’d like to see if there are any updates available for your PC then it’ll probably be able to show you in just a few seconds; but identifying the right file, and installing it, is still something you’ll have to do yourself.

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