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One thing I seem to be doing often after reinstalling or updating Windows on a new machine is searching fruitlessly for drivers, especially video and audio drivers. I often have found software like Driver Detective that claims to scan and download the correct drivers. Is this software a total scam or is there any software like this that works well?

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you got to be dealing with quite exotic hardware. graphics cards used today are usually ATI, nVidia or Intel and the drivers are very easy to locate. same goes for Realtek, the dominant brand of onboard soundchips. stay away from Driver Detective and the likes. – Molly7244 Sep 27 '09 at 13:28
Yeah I'd save all the drivers to USB stick if you can. The main reason I've used a driver detection program was to combine all of mine into 1 installer, which is very handy. – John T Sep 27 '09 at 13:32

They work, I've used Driver Genius is the past but it's not free. Some free alternatives:

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+1 for Driver Max – outsideblasts Sep 27 '09 at 13:31
well, these are driver backup programs. Driver Detective claims to automatically detect all devices and download the appropriate drivers from the interwebs. big difference. – Molly7244 Sep 27 '09 at 13:58
The title says driver detection programs. Driver detective is probably even worse because it just downloads them, these ones also copy your .inf files so they can be restored just as last time. – John T Sep 27 '09 at 21:33

My experience with such driver detectives is that sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.

However, when they advice the wrong driver, the result can be anything from a non-functioning device to a non-bootable PC! This is really playing russian roulette.

Nowadays I tend to let Windows Update find the drivers for me. If it fails, or in the rare case that the driver it finds is unsatisfactory, I then download a driver directly from the manufacturer's site, or as second choice use the driver from the cd that came with the device. I only use a driver detective if I don't have any other choice (and more often than not, it also fails to find a good driver).

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Starting in Windows Vista, Windows Update became pretty good at getting most of your drivers. In Windows 7 I did not have to manually install ANY drivers, as Windows Update got them all. – eidylon Sep 27 '09 at 15:59

Yes they work, but I am not a fan of them - I don't know why, but I just don't trust them... I would rather waste my time and go to the manufacturers website and look for updates manually... It really makes me feel better than using these tools!

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