In my experience, most computer hardware & software issues can be fixed by updating the drivers installed on your computer. While the device manager promises to update your drivers, it seldom achieves proper results.
So if the device manager is not doing its job, then maybe you should find a software program that finds missing drivers, outdated drivers and does all this automatically or at a scheduled time.
The good news is there are a lot of programs that download drivers … and I mean, a lot. Here are (some of) the ones that are actually worthwhile.
Driver Booster – Free & Premium
This driver downloader is perhaps my personal favourite, and you should definitely look into this driver updater if you want something decent for free. In my experience, it’s got everything you need to get your laptop/PC back into full upgraded mode. Once the installation is complete, it scans for everything and tells you which drivers need updating. You can update them all in one go or pick and choose and do them one by one. If a reboot is required, it will let you know. I did not go for the paid version initially because the free one was doing everything I needed it to do. But then I did get the premiere version. For just $22.95/Yr for 3 PCs (which is cheaper than everyone else on this list), users get priority over others to driver updates, improved download speeds, and customised driver tweaking to optimise PC gaming (if that’s your thing). If you are looking for a solid and all around powerful experience, Driver Booster 4 comes highly recommended.
DriverEasy – Free & $29.95/Yr
DriverEasy is another of the immensely popular programs for downloading drivers, and for good reason. DriverEasy offers a couple of different versions, including a free version. The program does exactly what you think it does, which is keeping your drivers up to date. That’s more or less all the free version does, but the premium version offers all kinds of options. With the premium version, you can backup and restore drivers, one-click download all drivers, and it even offers a multi-language interface. DriverEasy also claims to be faster than a Windows update, which we unfortunately did not have time to test.
UpdateStar Drivers 9 – $29.95/Yr
This is one of the lesser known programs for updating drivers out there, but it is still worth mentioning. Why? Well for starters you can download the program for free and run a scan for missing or outdated drivers. Then if you want you can buy their driver downloader for $29.95 (for 1 PC) and $59.95 (for 3 PCs). It functions in many ways like the others on our list and is compatible with Win 10 systems, though, in my opinion, the interface is a little cleaner and easier to follow.
DriverMax – Free & Premium $10.39/Yr
DriverMax is a great choice to update drivers because of its free option. It does everything a driver downloader should, but it is totally free. You can scan and download new drivers and updates, as well as backup drivers to a compressed file (which is handy when reinstalling Windows). There are a few conveniences only available for pro members, but the free version should be more than enough for anyone looking for a free alternative to other programs for safely updating drivers. There is a catch to the free version, the software will catch all the outdated driver stuff but you are allowed to download only 2 drivers in 24 hours… I know, that’s cheeky, but if you wait 24 hours, the option to download any 2 drivers will open again. All the paid plans are for 1 PC only… so the prices are $19.90/Month, $43.53/2 Years and a lifetime plan of $89.40 are all available at DriverMax
These are just a few of the many driver downloaders that are available on the internet. While it ultimately comes down to personal preferences on these programs, they all beat digging out drivers one at a time and leave the default device manager years behind, right? But that’s just our opinion…
If your laptop is pre-installed with manufacturer’s updating software and it too is behaving like device manager, then know that purchasing a driver downloader is a good investment.
What did you think of our list? Which driver downloader would you recommend? Let us know in the comments.
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The strange thing with Drivermax is that it tends too often to both suggest and recommend “update” to drivers with a lower version number than what you already have installed – arguing that a later date is more important than the version number. I find that hard to believe for two reasons: 1) Where to Drivermax get these dates from? If these are file upload dates, it certainly cannot be considered important. 2) How many vendors tend to suddenly skip backwards in their version numbering schemes? According to Drivermax; most of them. I find that hard to believe too.
I complement Drivermax for actually having been able to locate missing drivers – from time to time, but it has also suggested drivers that completely bricked at least two computers for me (“Bricked” in the sense I had to start clean to get them running again).
Last but not least, there are many more alternatives out there than the 5 you reviewed here, and if you randomly choose among them and put them to the test – the strange thing is that they only agree one thing in common; And that is to disagree on which drivers need updates. If you round-robin among three of them, you’re in a never ending loop cause #2 will protest against what #1 just did, and so on, and so on…. Who should you believe, and why should you pay?
You are quite right. Its a real mess and very confusing. These downloaders somehow don’t agree with one another which is why I just use one and keep hoping that it won’t brick my laptop.
Yes there are many more alternatives out there but i didnt test them. Its a strenuous process which risks the sanity of my laptop (and mine) so, till then, these are the few which I recommend.