| By Fred Langa |
I don’t trust Windows Update to install new drivers for devices that Microsoft isn’t responsible for.
Check out my reasons in this week’s column and see if you agree.
Are the hardware drivers from Windows Update OK?
Microsoft’s mostly a software company, so how much should you trust Microsoft’s Windows Update when it starts nagging you about new drivers for your non-Microsoft hardware? That was the issue facing K. Asher when he wrote:
- “I’ve got an Athlon XP 3000 32-bit CPU. Windows Update has been repeatedly offering me an ‘optional’ hardware update for it since December 2007, so I went looking on the AMD site and found no driver update. What should I do?”
For example, just this week WU offered me a driver update for a printer I don’t have. I’ve never even owned that brand of printer! The WU hardware-sniffer was simply wrong, and misidentified my hardware.
Obviously, installing a generic, old, or misidentified driver can actually make things worse for your system: a downgrade, not an update. And even if the WU driver works, there’s a good chance that a driver direct from the manufacturer might work better.
So, when WU offers me a hardware driver update, I do as K. Asher did: I go to the hardware maker’s site and use that company’s tools and info to determine whether or not my specific hardware really needs an update. If there’s a disagreement between WU and the hardware maker’s own site, I always defer to the manufacturer’s advice. They made the stuff — they should know what’s best for it.