"Under burned" Drivers

It happens that what's in the box is not what you want in your plate.

How often do you get driver CD-s or DVD-s with your new keyboard, printer, or web camera? Were these disks useful? Practice shows that not. And we'll explain why.

CD-s get older, Internet gets newer.

The older your device, the less useful is your driver CD that comes with it. Hardware market is very competitive, and first to come usually becomes one that wins. Manufacturers are often forced to rush releases of new models. Other hand, they need to offer quality product, or they will lose customers. So what do they do? They take their time to polish hardware portion of work, and rush driver release. These half-done drivers are sometimes called "under burned drivers". From manufacturer's viewpoint, this is normal: once a device is on the market, it's hard to change its circuits and interiors. But software can be updated anytime, so there's no rush to make it perfect. It is enough if it works on most systems. Updates come as soon as programmers have done their work.

What does this mean for us, regular users? This means that drivers supplied on driver disks are not what we want. They are OK in most cases but nothing more. In other, rare occasions, these drivers are even buggy. Some bugs slip through early stages of quality testing and make their way to driver CD-s.

Another great problem is compatibility. For example if your printer was made in times of early Windows XP, its driver CD will be useless for Vista or Windows 7. The problem is even worse, as modern computers migrate from 32-bit to 64-bit platforms. Microsoft does their best to enable old software and drivers to work on 64-bit Windows but sometimes it is impossible. Most 32-bit drivers will work OK but slow down the system consistently, as Windows needs to create legacy environment for them. This environment also prevents more advanced drivers from working correctly, especially these involved in encryption and data protection.

Start fresh and run fast.

To avoid these problems, it is strongly recommended NOT to install from driver CD-s, especially if you definitely know that your device is manufactured more than two years ago (say, if you purchased it on sale or got it pre-owned). But even if you have new device or not sure of its age, it's best to get drivers from Internet rather than CD.

In most cases, it's easy to determine device's manufacturer, their logo should be clearly visible on the box and device itself. Finding model number is trickier, it's usually hidden on device's back panel. Manufacturer and model number are vital for finding drivers online. Go directly to manufacturer's website. They usually have big "DOWNLOAD" button, so there should be no problem finding drivers section. Just don't forget to have manufacturer name and model number handy, you may need it.

Another good idea is to use some driver updating software. These programs usually detect your hardware automatically and download right drivers for them. Only trusted software should be used, though.

Useful tip: after you download the drivers, make their backup copy on CD or USB drive, just in case.

To trash or not to trash?

So if these driver CD-s are so useless then shall we trash them? It is best to save them for backup. While drivers themselves may be outdated, these disks may contain tools and utilities that enable your device's extra functionality. Some manufacturers also require original CD for driver updates. Luckily, this practice is being forgot these days but some companies still use it.