[Windows] Driver Booster makes it easy to update and install drivers

Driver Booster up to dateUpdating drivers and staying top of frequent software revisions is one of the best ways to maintain performance on your PC. Most people don’t realize that driver updates can actually improve performance when it comes to select hardware. Especially when you start talking about graphics cards, as Nvidia is always updating their software. It can be difficult staying on top of everything, especially when Windows doesn’t always install the latest drivers for some of your hardware. Every once in a while there’s an obscure component or two, that needs manual updating. Driver Booster is a Windows application from the same developers as Advanced SystemCare, IObit, which will scan your machine and tell you what drivers are out of date.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Driver Booster after scanDriver Booster is a convenient tool that will scan your computer and let you know what drivers are out of date. Not only that, it will also direct you to the most current version as necessary.

Take note Driver Booster comes in two versions, Free and PRO. IObit is very cheeky and does not explicitly explain what are the feature differences between Free and PRO. From what I can tell, PRO has the ability to update all drives in one click and has “300% higher updating speed”.

It is worth noting that we have reviewed v2.0 of this software, which is currently in Beta stage. If you don’t want to use the Beta version, you can use v1.0. As far as we can tell, all the features mentioned in this review are found in both v1.0 and v2.0.

Pros

  • Scans for driver updates and lets you know if or when they are available
  • Will download and install updates, and create system restore points
  • Will “silently” install drivers, hiding all window prompts so you don’t really have to do anything
  • Will automatically delete the installers for drivers after install
  • Can be to set to run quietly in the background to automatically update drivers as needed, and uses few system resources — 9MB of RAM usage
  • You can add various hardware components and devices to a blacklist if necessary
  • You can connect to the internet through a proxy if desired
  • Reasonably good accuracy in finding and updating out-of-date drivers…

Cons

  • …But still, it may not detect *all* out-of-date drivers — it may miss some
  • Ultimately, it does nothing special that cannot be done manually or via Windows Update, but it should be noted Driver Booster makes it easier to update drivers versus doing it manually and typically finds more drivers than Windows Update. However, it is still possible to live without Driver Booster and get your driver updates manually or via Windows Update.
  • Updating drivers falls into the category of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rather than “always keep them up-to-date”. In other words, you shouldn’t update drivers unless you have a specific reason to do so. This isn’t an issue with Driver Booster itself but rather an issue with all driver updating programs.
  • Developer should be more clear about the differences between Free and PRO versions.
  • PRO version works on an yearly subscription basis, which is a bit annoying but understandable seeing as IObit needs to invest money into constantly keeping their driver database up-to-date

Discussion

Driver Booster UIAs soon as you start the application, you will be presented with the main menu. It’s quite straightforward really as it displays your driver status, how many drivers are out of date and a single “scan” button.

Obviously, clicking on the scan button will start a system driver scan. On my desktop and laptop the scan took only a few short seconds. I can’t speak for all machines, but the process appears to be relatively quick. If a driver is out of date, then the application will prompt you to download the necessary update, or updates, and then install them.

Driver Booster downloading updatesYou can update each driver individually, or you can perform all updates at once. The program will then download the related files and install the drivers on your computer. Before installing –after downloading- the application will automatically create a restore point in case something goes awry. Since the Windows operating system already does this, it’s not exactly an intuitive feature but at least it’s there.

As soon as the driver updates have installed, the app will prompt you to reboot the system as necessary.

In addition, Driver Booster adds a notification icon to the system tray, which allows you to access the application settings, system restore function and check for software updates. It runs quietly in the background, and it’s set to start with Windows by default. You can change this behavior through the application settings on the general tab.

Driver Booster creating restore pointIn the app settings you can designate how often Driver Booster scans for updates, where the saved drivers are stored and whether or not they’re deleted after a successful install, and add devices to a blacklist where any future software updates will be ignored. The blacklist or “ignore” tab is best for hardware where you need a specific driver version, like if you rollback to an older version for stability.

You can also setup the app so that it scans the internet through a proxy.

For reference, Driver Booster uses about 9MB of RAM while running, so it’s fairly lightweight.

Conclusion and download link

Driver Booster reboot neededDriver Booster is a convenient application for Windows that will scan your system hardware and alert you as to whether or not any of your drivers need to be updated. If they do need to be updated, the application will handle the download and install process. It will also create a system restore point before installing any software revisions or updates.

Realistically, Driver Booster doesn’t do anything special that you can’t do manually if you’re a power user. For that matter, it doesn’t do anything different than what can be accomplished via Windows Update for many drivers. However, Driver Booster is relatively light on system resources, and it can be set by default to run quietly in the background and start with Windows so it makes the entire driver update and install process easier than normal… making it best suited for casual PC users. Check it out if you need such functionality.

Price: Free, $28.95 per year for PRO

Version reviewed: 2.0 (Beta)

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8

Download size: 5.40MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/46

Is it portable? No

Driver Booster Free homepage | Driver Booster PRO homepage

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13 comments

  1. Giovanni

    Hey Ashraf,
    this is actually a VERY POOR program in my view.

    I tried the FREE version of this tool a couple of weeks ago and, despite great reviews and ratings all over the net, it was able to find just 4 outdated drivers out of 28. So I wonder why almost everybody is so happy with it.

    What do you make of it?

    As for BETTER FREE ALTERNATIVES….

    Well, if you are a frantic PC GAMER:

    http://www.razerzone.com/gamebooster
    http://www.geforce.com/drivers/geforce-experience

    For the remaining DRIVERS the most accurate one I found so far is DRIVERMAX, by Innovative Solutions: the only problem is that you need a PREMIUM (==> $$$) account to update ALL your outdated drivers, otherwise you can update only 2 drivers a day, which is better than nothing of course!

    Other excellent FREE tools are also these:

    * Driver Easy
    http://www.drivereasy.com
    http://drivereasy.com/scannow (online scanner)

    * MaConfig
    http://www.ma-config.com/en/detectoffline

    There’s also an amazing FREE Russian app which automates the process of finding, installing and backing up the right updated drivers of your system with an unique and pretty infallible approach. The only problem is that it comes with an ISO file of 4GB in size.

    http://drp.su

    To detect unknown hardware devices (ID’s of vendors, devices, subsystems and device classes of unknown PCI/PCI-X/PCI-E cards etc…) sitting in your system, which are not recognized by the Windows Device Manager, try this little free gem:

    http://pci-z.com

    If you are instead willing to spend some money, the BEST shareware program on the market I found so far is definitely “Advanced Driver Updater” by Systweak.

    Cheers.

  2. BearPup

    Broken record time: All-in-one tools are potentially dangerous to healthy, working computers. Drivers need to be handled with caution: backup, install, test the hell out of them, decide to keep or rollback.

    The emails at Microsoft.com are loaded with, “I updated this driver and now my [system, hard drive, webcam, wifi, audio, display, etc. ad nauseam] won’t work”. With no restore points (or they’ve “disappeared”).

    People really need to learn about maintaining their computers, or take it to a mechanic, but this all-in-one approach is asking for trouble (and visits to me at Microsoft.com!).

  3. Tom

    Driver updaters are all dangerous. Use them only to discover updates, then go to the OEM sites to confirm their suitability for your hardware before installing.

    Even if you take the precaution of setting a restore point. it may be months later before you put your new driver to the test, and learn sadly, that your restore point flushed weeks ago.

  4. Mags

    [@Lidia Torbica] Just to add to what Briley said.

    Another issue could be that the drivers do need to be updated, however if the hardware is older it is highly possible that the manufacturer no longer supports it. If it is no longer supported then there will no longer be any driver updates available.

    I have some older hardware that can no longer have its drivers updated as the hardware is no longer supported.

  5. J.L.

    [@Briley Kenney] The word unless obviously means exception from the “none”. For most users, there really is none unless their drivers are faulty.

    That depends, but relying on third-party sources is definitely less reliable, not to mention untrustworthy. I’ve had personal experience with this, one should only use them for driver backups.

    You’ve advised them to consider it as another option equal to the manual way. That is not the case. If they don’t have the knowledge on installing drivers, then they really shouldn’t unless necessary.

  6. Briley Kenney
    Author/

    [@J.L.] “First of all, drivers don’t need to be updated if they’re working properly, unless you’re a gamer / multimedia geek who looks forward to the latest and greatest video card drivers for any improvements.”

    There are many other reasons to look forward to the latest and greatest drivers, some of which offer stability and performance boosts. It depends on the hardware. In a way you validated the need to update drivers, while arguing that there is none.

    “Second of all, you should only trust Windows Update, your system manufacturer, and chipset manufacturer for drivers. The latter provides more up-to-date drivers, but no guarantee that it’s configured properly for your system.”

    In my experience, there have been instances where a driver from Windows Update caused more issues than a driver straight from the manufacturer. In many cases you need to rely on both sources, not just one.

    “Seriously, it’s bad advice[…]”

    It’s a program review, not an advice column. I clearly stated in the review that it doesn’t do anything different in terms of functionality. However, there are many users that aren’t necessarily “lazy,” but they don’t have the wherewithal to install drivers on their own.

  7. J.L.

    Seriously, it’s bad advice to recommend a third-party program to update something as important as your drivers, especially if it’s beta.

    First of all, drivers don’t need to be updated if they’re working properly, unless you’re a gamer / multimedia geek who looks forward to the latest and greatest video card drivers for any improvements.

    Second of all, you should only trust Windows Update, your system manufacturer, and chipset manufacturer for drivers. The latter provides more up-to-date drivers, but no guarantee that it’s configured properly for your system.

    Lastly, if you’re too lazy to update your drivers properly, there’s a choice between keeping what’s working and experimenting from questionable sources.

  8. Briley Kenney
    Author/

    [@Lidia Torbica] Curious. On both of my machines it identified driver updates and installed them properly. After doing so, it informed me that there was nothing left to update. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the hardware involved too. Older hardware with less common driver software is likely to cause issues, and the same holds true for modern hardware that’s obscure or too new.

    Please understand, I’m not invalidating what you’ve said. I’m merely trying to pick apart the problem. :)

  9. Lidia Torbica

    I installed this program, but after a couple of weeks, got rid of it. Every time it scanned it told me about three out-of-date drivers, ok, so I had them updated and the rebooted. Some time later, I got the same message about the same three drivers and this has happenend several times. Obviously it didnt update any drivers at all!!