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Drivers Question!


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7 replies to this topic

#1 kitkinnison

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:13 PM

Hi all.


I apologize if this is a foolish question. I'm wondering if there is an easy/quick way to check what drivers I ought to update (I assume that could only be done through a utility for that purpose). In essence, rather than wandering around dell.com and the websites of various programs/hardware I have, seeing if there are driver updates & trying to figure out if they're newer than what I have, it would be nice to just...check.


If it's needed: Dell latitude D600; Windows XP (service pack 2).


Thank you!

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#2 Bonneville

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:44 PM

:thumbsup:

Hiya,

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Regards,

Tony.
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#3 hamluis

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:50 PM

Well, my approach to updating drivers is pretty much the same as that towards updating a BIOS.

If it ain't broke, don't try to "fix" it.

In actuality, it's far more important that you continuously update your operating system...than worry about drivers and programs. And, along with updating XP for critical updates, I suggest that you NOT use XP hardware updates for your system. There sometimes is a problem whereby the hardware updates available via the WinUpdate site...result in problems which did not previously exist.

Generally speaking, the items which require continuous updating: operating system, firewall, antivirus, any/all malware detection/defense programs...and any program that previously operated without problems but now has problems.

If you have a Dell, all the hardware drivers for your particular system can be obtained at the Dell website. If you haven't visited it, you need to do so and familiarize with the procedure.

Most programs that have software updates have a device that triggers notification to users who are interested or who need to update. This includes some firewalls, AV, and malware programs...but does not necessarily include them all. Ensuring that you get these updates is usually part of the configuration process, when you first set that program up.

And...it's not a foolish question :thumbsup:, more persons should inquire about such before acting.

This is just my approach, other person will have other ideas.

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 26 September 2007 - 02:50 PM.


#4 kitkinnison

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:53 PM

I've gotten some from dell (in the past few days).



I do have one point of confusion, though....I've downloaded some drivers, unzipped/installed & restarted--so those should be fine.

But...I also downloaded a diagnostic, which I appear to be unable to now open in that folder (it's in the dell drivers folder; and it's in a folder--and I believe is a download numbered-- R100688. (which might show up just as 0688? they seem to drop leading digits in some locations).

Am I missing something?

#5 hamluis

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 03:08 PM

Noooo...you just did not read the instructions for using the diagnostic :thumbsup:.

If you do, you will find that diagnostic programs (generally) have to be loaded on floppies and the floppies then have to be inserted...a reboot made...and the program on the floppy will boot, rather than XP.

The point is...you don't need a Dell diag program at all. XP generally provides all the info needed by anyone to troubleshoot anything that normally happens to go wrong.

But it won't hurt you to read all info relative to this diagnostic, how it's used, when it's used, etc.

Louis

#6 oldf@rt

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 03:17 PM

A lot of dells diagnostic programs are used to update the diagnostics partition, to access this partition, tap the {F12} key when you see the dell logo at startup, and you will get a boot up menu, with several options, including the diagnostics.
The name says it all -- 59 and holding permanently

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#7 kitkinnison

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 04:08 PM

aha!


thank you very much, I will do that.


Hm, good point on the if-it-ain't-broke. This is stemming from Skype issues (and I'm on wireless so I wanted to update my wireless driver, but apparently your sound driver can cause problems too, and....basically it snowballed into me wondering whether it would be wise to update broadly)

#8 usasma

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:22 AM

I agree with hamluis - "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". That being said, you've gotta take the info from the DriverAgent reports with a grain of salt. 3 examples come to mind:

1) Updating each of the drivers that they suggest will result in you updating your motherboard's drivers several times over - and may cause issues with the system.
2) Software provided by the computer manufacturer is generally outdated by the time that you get it. But this doesn't mean that it's bad and, in fact, can contain special routines added by the system manufacturer that you may be using.
3) With my newest Vista systems at home, it'll point out that the motherboard drivers are outdated. Yet I've installed the latest drivers from the manufactturer's website (in this case it's Intel motherboards) and it still tells me that they're outdated.

The issue here is where DriverAgent gets the version numbers from - is it from the computer manufacturer, from the manufacturer of that particular piece of hardware, or from another source altogether? Are there errors in that database? So, it's a matter of seeing if your issues could be related to any of the "outdated" drivers - and if they may be, then it'd be worth a shot to see if it fixes it.

Drivers are pretty complicated little buggers, and can leave traces on your system when they are removed - so even uninstalling the driver can leave the part that's causing the error on the system (this is why there were many different nVidia driver removal tools not long ago - because nVidia left stuff on the system that was easily corrupted and wasn't removable by the uninstall routine). Consequently, it's advisable to uninstall drivers before installing a newer version - but it's also important to realize that the driver issue may still remain even after uninstalling the old driver. How to figger it out? BTFOM (Beats The F*** Outta Me!)

I recently had a problem with a Dymo printer driver at my wife's office - even uninstalling the driver wouldn't fix the issue. Rather than plumbing the depths of the file system and registry for this issue, I opted to format and reinstall Windows (this system had been up and running for several years) - which fixed the problem. A drastic solution yes, but one that I felt was needed in order to get a good "baseline" going so I could image the hard drive in the event that it would be needed later on.
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