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Whenever i doing clean install of my Thinkpad T410, i'm always wondering if it is better to use Lenovo's own tools (Thinkvantage System Update), or Windows Update to install drivers (Graphic Driver, Network, Display,..).

Previously, i always thought that installing driver trough vendor-specific tools like Thinkvantage System Update provides better quality, since they do test for specific device target. But, since this tool installs so much bloat and had some issues (these tools must be installed manually, eventhough i had checked it with the others), i'm questioning the quality of OEM to provide the drivers.

Which one do you think is better? What i need is bare-essential drivers for my Windows, not some Graphical Utilities nonsense

3 Answers 3

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Well, I had the vary question you asked an year back. But, some research gave me an optimum solution. See, basically all the stuff that comes with laptop, from manufacturer, can be classified into three categories,

  • Device drivers,
  • Utilities,
  • Software/Applications,

In above three, 3rd category is what we can call BLOATWARE for sure. So, I'd recommend just to ignore this category. But, first and second category is actually something you should install, because the drivers and utilities are optimized for your laptop model. They do consist some tweaks and modifications that are best suited to your machine.

I also used to install drivers from hardware manufacturers instead of laptop manufacturers. But the outcome was little different.

  1. I installed Bluetooth and WiFi drivers from respective hardware manufacturers, but then I realized, Sony (since I own Vaio) provided this little utility, VAIO Smart Network, that allowed me to switch on/off either of two wireless services, Bluetooth and WiFi or both from my taskbar, which was indeed helpful when energy saving comes into picture.
  2. Then this another time, I got new Vaio with Sandy Bridge CPU and a discreet AMD GPU. When I installed drivers from AMD, I realized that I can not switch between AMD's discreet GPU and Sandy Bridge's Intel HD3000, which is essential for both performance and again energy saving cases, which was available when I installed drivers specifically designed for my Vaio from its support page.
  3. These Vaios come with some stupid application by Sony, VAIO Gate, which is indeed an eye-candy, that little glob hanging from top of the screen, but it occupies memory, and also takes lot of time to boot up. So I simply removed it.

All in all, I'd recommend you to install only drivers and utilities from laptop manufacturer and ignore the applications from them.

Hope it helps.

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  • This is what i've come to conclusion too. Since i have some free time this weekend, i decided to take some experiment. Lenovo Power Management Driver from Windows Update didn't work, but the one from Manufacturer work as expected. Oct 21, 2012 at 0:00
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It depends on your goals. Do you just want a driver, do you want the most up to date driver, or do you want the driver and additional bloatware?

For some things the additional bloatware is actually nice. E.g. some wireless drivers come with a nice interface, while the bare XP interface is annoyingly minimal.

For other items the branded drivers are often older than the one provided by the manufacturer. E.g. graphics drivers which rarely get an update, and where the Bvidia or AMD drivers may have years of improvements over the old branded drivers.

Thus the best *1 solution seems to be a mix of those options.


*1 Alsways fun to the 'best'.

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  • An additional consideration: do you want the latest driver released by the manufacturer of the particular component, or the latest driver that has been tested and verified by the computer OEM?
    – Indrek
    Oct 19, 2012 at 13:39
  • True. Just because it worked the few times I changed .inf files and used generic drivers does not mean it will always work.
    – Hennes
    Oct 19, 2012 at 13:50
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please note that Windows Update download the drivers you can find on producers website (e.g. nVidia drivers are shown on windows update usually one day after the official pubblication)

However, if you have updated driver from your hardware producer, use always those drivers.

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  • I trust the generic drivers more then the "official publication" source.
    – Ramhound
    Oct 19, 2012 at 14:31
  • @Ramhound Why? I thought that drivers from the official vendors are generic Oct 19, 2012 at 14:47

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