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Win7 Home Prem 32-bit

I am currently using DriverMax to keep my drivers up to date.

Sometimes it suggests that a newer driver is available for download but the driver is not digitally signed.

Is it safe to update to an unsigned driver or not? What are the implications of signed vs unsigned drivers?

I always create a system restore point before updating any drivers anyway and i know i can rollback a driver.

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

An unsigned driver is a driver whose creator didn't buy a digital code-signing certificate, and didn't use it to sign the driver. Such a digital certificate is only issued by any certificate authority (CA) after verifying that the certificate request was from a real company/individual, and whose details are incorporated into the signed driver. The digital signature is verified with the CA by Internet at the moment that the driver is installed.

This means that with a signed driver, its provenance is verified, and the contents of the driver file are also guaranteed to be exactly the same as at the moment it was signed.

As far as I know, no major company ever issues an unsigned driver for Win7. This means that these drivers that DriverMax is suggesting come from small and cheap companies/individuals, or ones that prefer staying anonymous.

As Windows Update in Win7 does a very good job of keeping the drivers up to date, I would seriously counsel to abandon DriverMax. An incorrect driver may destroy Win7 and prevent it from booting, requiring the reinstallation of Windows.

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+1 especially for abandon DriverMax –  Nifle Apr 24 '10 at 7:24
    
Thanks for the reply - that is good to know –  Paul Apr 25 '10 at 10:46
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Windows 7 actually said I was updated on all my drivers but when I used DriverMax, I found about 11 drivers that were signed and newer than the ones I had. I downloaded and installed them all and it actually fixed a serious latency issue ( sound glitching ) I had. If you use DriverMax, you can choose only to install the signed drivers if you want. I like it.

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Yes i've noticed this too –  Paul May 23 '11 at 13:07
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