Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Is keeping with latest drivers really necessary?

  1. #1

    Is keeping with latest drivers really necessary?

    Well, we often hear/read that we should update our drivers regularly, as the newest versions provide more security/stability/functionality/other enhancements. On the other hand OEM manufacturers want their customers to rely only on drivers available on their own support pages, not on components manufacturers (e.g. Intel) support pages.

    Due to my professional and personal interest I often deal with Dell, HP and Lenovo laptops, but I guess it's a common problem for all OEMs. What I see on their support pages in a complete mess in many aspects. Let me tell only a couple of examples:
    • "downgrading" the latest drivers - if you downloaded e.g. version 1.45 yesterday, today you may find version 1.42 marked as latest with no explanation at all,
    • offering different version of the same driver on different localized support sites (while the driver is in English anyway),
    • an update client (e.g. Dell's Client Update Utility, HP's SoftPaq) offering you to download older driver than you have already installed OR driver which is not even listed on the support webpage,
    • ancient drivers versions presented as "latest" (especially Lenovo is the leader here) - while virtually all manufacturers provides significantly updated driver versions, OEM manufacturers make you stick to the version released months ago (I understand it takes time to test new releases, but come on...),
    • Windows Update overwriting OEM manufacturers drivers with its own drivers recorded in its database,
    • ... and many more.

    As you can imagine, even struggling to stay current with OEM-provided drivers only may be a nightmare, as they change "latest" available drivers versions back and forward and different sources list different versions as "latest".

    So, shall we disregard OEM wish to use only drivers provided by them and download them from components manufacturers pages anyway? This would allows us to stay current. But is it really necessary? Or is it better to fulfill their wish stick to the old well-tested drivers as long as our system operates correctly? What do you think?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    N. Calif
    Posts : 2,595
    W10 Pro (desktop), W10 (laptop), W10 Pro (tablet), W10 (laptop)

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    In other words, if you aren't having any problems, you shouldn't rush out and update your drivers.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Well, that's the rule of the thumb, right? If it works, don't touch it.

    However, the new releases are meant for something more than only including new products into them. So it is beneficial to utilize any enhancements.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    My policy is usually: if it isn't broke, don't fix it.

    OEM computers often have customized hardware and generic drivers may not be fully compatible. Intel warns about using their video drivers on OEM systems.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
    OEM computers often have customized hardware and generic drivers may not be fully compatible.
    Yep, I've heard that before. However, I have some doubts about that.

    Since I do forensics, I conducted a test once: I installed OEM-provided network card drivers, traced system file system and registry changes and then - using a clean system - installed original manufacturer-provided drivers and also traced file system and registry changes. I then calculated hashes for all files and they were all the same. The same about contents of registry entires. Of course this test wasn't exhaustive and cannot be treated as an argument supporting thesis that both installation packages were in fact the same. An initial doubt may result from the fact, I used virtual machine for testing, which might have affected installation process.

    On the other hand I do agree that there are instances in which generic drivers refuse to get installed and display error messages informing about compatibiity issues.

    Thus, I believe that some installation packages are 100% the same (maybe only additionally packaged into OEM-branded startup screen ) but they are also other, acutally altered in some way by OEMs. That would - however - only suggest that we should use only OEM-provided driver packages, which I'm fine about. What I don't like is the mess in OEM driver databases which prevents us from recognizing the "true latest" driver available.

    And again - there's a simple solution - visit the support page, download all packages listed there as latest, install them and forget them (as long as there are no problems). I do realize that. However I'm bound to keeping things in order and update my software regularly and the described situation bothers me. Sure, probably most forum users won't be able to help me about that, but it's worth discussing I believe. Why? Because proper PC configuration that used to be quite simple has been getting more & more difficult and many inexperienced users suffers from it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64

    Quote Originally Posted by mikolajek View Post
    However, the new releases are meant for something more than only including new products into them. So it is beneficial to utilize any enhancements.
    Generally not in my experience.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    I have heard of cases where manufacturers have tuned new drivers for high performance video cards to give better numbers with popular benchmark utilities. Performance under real world conditions are no better, or may even be worse. It is a highly competitive market and manufacturers sometimes consider cheating as being justified, particularly when they think their competitors are doing the same.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2

    Unless they found a security risk or have found better ways to handle CRC checking. Just leave alone. Also stay away from the ones that come through Windows/Microsoft Download.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    Sometimes keeping up with the latest drivers can kill your system - black screen. I'm thinking of older graphic cards where windows (especaially 8.1 ) forces upon you the newest drivers that the card can't deal with.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64

    What is all this bla bla bla? Strollin answered this in the second post (and everyone else then said the same including me)

    Don't do it (unless you have a specific problem in which case you wouldn't ask).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Is keeping with latest drivers really necessary?
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