[Windows] Backup, restore, remove, and update device drivers with Driver Magician

Driver MagicianBacking up, restoring and keeping your drivers up-to-date can be a pain. It is something that you can do on your own with a little know how, but that doesn’t mean that we all want to take the time to do it. Well for those of you who want to simplify these processes, you may want to try Driver Magician.

WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

Main Functionality

Driver Magician is a program that can help you restore, backup, update, and even remove Windows operating systems. The program can easily identify all of the hardware on your system and backup drives to a location of your choice. If a change is made that you don’t like, you can simply restore your drivers to their previous state.

Take note, personally speaking, dotTech always recommends to not update drivers unless you have a specific reason to do so. So even though Driver Magician has the ability to update drivers, always follow the rule of thumb “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” — don’t just update for the heck of updating. And it is always recommended to try to update drivers via Windows Update or manufacturer’s website before using a third party program like Driver Magician.

Pros

  • Can backup device drivers on your computer
  • Can restore drivers that have been backed up
  • Helps you search for and install updates for existing device drivers
  • Can uninstall device drivers from your computer
  • Can locate and detect unknown devices
  • Allows you to back up more than just drivers, like files and folders
  • Provides detailed information about your drivers
  • Allows you to create an auto-setup standalone package, which will allow you to restore all of your drivers without the need to install Driver Magician

Cons

  • Depending on how many device drivers you are backing up, the process can be slow
  • Using the standalone auto-setup package is a bit annoying due to the fact that you must enter your registration details to restore drivers

Discussion

Driver Magician ScreenshotDriver Magician is one of the programs that can make your life easier. No need to manually go through and update your drivers anymore. No need to worry about backing up your own drivers or how you will restore them if something goes wrong. Driver Magician can do all of that for you and then some.

Driver Magician is a paid program, but you do get a 15-day free trial. This way you can fully test out the program before you buy it. During this time you will have access to most of the program’s features. I say most, because I was unable to download updates the program found for my drivers. It prompted me to of course buy the full version to do so.

Although the program comes with a lot of features, the main ones that you need to worry about are: Backup, Restoration, Update and Uninstall. Each feature is pretty self-explanatory, but let’s go through them just in case. Backup allows you to back up the state of your drivers on your computer. This backup file can be saved to any location on your computer. Later, if you need to restore your drivers, simply click on the restoration feature to revert back. My favorite feature was the update, because I hate manually checking which drivers need to be updated. Last, but not least, is uninstall. This allows you to remove any driver you want from your computer. With all of your drivers listed right in front of you, finding the driver you want gone has never been easier.

Of course the program is not all sunshine and lollipops. My biggest problem with the program is how slow it is. Simply backing up the drivers on my computer took well over 30 minutes. Maybe I have more drivers on my computer than others… but I like to think I fall in the average category. I did not attempt to restore my drivers for fear of how long it would take. Searching for updates went fast enough, but since the unregistered version does not allow you to download and install the updates it finds, I am not sure how it handles this process or if it is slow as well.

CONCLUSION AND DOWNLOAD LINK

This program is pretty good. However, driver management is not an art; there are many (freeware and shareware) driver managers out there. If I am going to pay for a driver manager, I expect it to not be painstakingly slow in backing up drivers. For some, the speed of backup may not be a deal breaker because it is not like you will run a backup everyday — you will only run a backup once in a while. For me, however, it is; I am not sure if I can recommend you paying $29.95 for a slow program. If I am going to pay for a driver manager, I want it to be quick. There are plenty of free ones out there that I can use that are slow. If I pay, I want it to improve speed.

If you are looking for free driver managers, two fairly decent ones I can think of off the top of my head are Double Driver and DriverMax. The latter has driver updating capabilities, too.

Price: $29.95

Version reviewed: 4.00

Supported OS: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista/7/8

Download size: 4MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/46

Is it portable? No

Driver Magician homepage

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16 comments

  1. Jeanjean

    Thanks for the review !
    I do not have either a blind confidence in these programs. They may simply serve as a basis for research.
    Anyway I apply always the updates when I have sufficient means to go back.

  2. BearPup

    @Ashraf – Thanks for the review, I’m quite happy to have someone besides myself be the tester of (unknown) programs.

    @Tom – I totally agree with your methodology, and for the same reasons. I’ve not had ‘good luck’ with the drivers these types of software find. Let the program find things that aren’t the latest version, but go to the manufacturer’s site for direct downloading of verified drivers.

    @”Everyone” who tagged this type of program with the “If it ain’t broke” wariness, I heartily agree. I’ve had too many system crashes after updating a driver that one of these programs insisted was out of date or missing functionality. As far as I can tell from actual usage, all of my drivers – even the ones which date back to the launch of Windows 7 – are working just fine. So why mess with success?

  3. Anthony Means

    @Ashraf-I agree with you! If it’s NOT BROKE DON’T FIX IT!!! IT ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT MATTER WHAT THE DATE IS, IF IT CLEARLY SHOWS NO SIGNS OF PROBLEMS.I STILL HAVE DRIVERS THAT ARE DATED 2006 FOR WIN 7 INSTALLED IN 3/27/2012 & HAVE NO ISSUES WITH THAT PROGRAM!!! ONLY REASON TO UPDATE IS WHEN YOU HAVE PROBLEMS! — ROCK-ON ASHRAF-& GAOTD

  4. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @mukhi: People are doing what? I don’t even bother reading the comments anymore. Well, sometimes I read them — either to laugh at the people criticizing me for no reason or to glow at the praise others give me. Haha…
    @Paul D: What you say is true. Often there is no need to update, unless you need the added functionality of what a new driver may offer. However, my comment about using Windows Update was in context to something like a reformat, i.e. when there are no drivers installed and there is a need for drivers.
    Thank you for the comments and feedback — it is always great when dotTechies talk with us. Not only does it keep us on our toes but it helps others, too.

  5. Paul D

    @Ashraf: Which is usually the one you already have anyway. The only “driver” I have ever had to update was to add resolutions for a new bigger monitor, and technically that’s an .inf file, not a driver anyway.

    What I’m saying is that I agree with your comment “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  6. mukhi

    i can’t just believe people randomly attack Ashraf at GAOTD. for some reason, many folks have started believing in a person’s arbitrary free software recommendations most of which DON’T work or fail to impress.

  7. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Frank D: You are welcome, and thanks for the kind words! To be fair, however, nowadays Justin is doing the reviews so he deserves the credit. However, you are more than welcome to say ‘dotTech reviews are golden’ ;-)

  8. Frank D

    Ashraf, your reviews are golden. Plus, having them available at the same time as GotD offerings, and being able to read and compare all user comments on both sites comes down as the best of all possibilities. Thank you.

  9. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Rob (Down Under): We review the version that we list in the review at the bottom — “Version reviewed”. It is true we do the reviews inline with GOTD giveaways but we are reviewing the software in its own right — not “this freebie from GOTD”. If you were to purchase this program, restoring drives on another PC would be easy — backup using the auto-setup that doesn’t require installation of Drive Magician to restore. As for restoring with GOTD version… I really don’t know, seeing as you technically shouldn’t be able to install them.
    @Paul D: It doesn’t matter. They are (typically) reliable and work. You don’t need the always-latest driver necessarily — you need one that works.

  10. Paul D

    “And it is always recommended to try to update drivers via Windows Update or manufacturer’s website before using a third party program like Driver Magician.”

    Really?

    Drivers delivered through Windows Update are usually a few versions behind the manufacturer.

  11. Rob (Down Under)

    Lately there have been dotTech reviews of programs that are simultaneously being given away for free at GOTD (GAOTD).
    There will be many occasions where the version at GOTD is slightly older or slightly nobbled, than the current ‘pay for’ version.
    When the versions do differ, which one is being reviewed at dotTech ?
    . . .
    And that leads me to another question.
    My question relates to the ability to backup, and then restore drivers into a freshly installed OS.
    You say the version reviewed is not portable.
    What ‘catch 22′ faces us when we have to restore into a new PC (or new OS install) ?
    And does your answer relate to the purchase version or the GOTD version (if they are different ?)

  12. Tom

    I’ve tried MANY driver update programs. They are all highly risky to your system. I’ve had too many rollbacks, system restores, and drive reimaging to have confidence in these programs.

    Backup is fine, but updating often misleads you to incorrect results.

    A common issue is that often alternate third-party drivers (ex. AMD) are presented as upgrades to Microsoft drivers than came with your OS installation. Do your research before “upgrading” your system.

    My practice is to run the updater to identify “outdated” drivers—but rather than let the app update my system, I’ll go to the host site (nVidia, Intel, Realtek, etc.) to confirm/download drivers.

  13. chuck

    Did they ever fix the bug where after you download and install a recommended driver,it still shows up on subsequent scans for new drivers?
    That was always my biggest gripe with that program-along with choosing incorrect drivers on occasion.