Hey- Rick here,
And you’re reading my uncensored review of what I really thought about Driver Robot. Note that this is an independent review, though, so if you’re looking for Driver Robot’s official website then click here.
Why am I writing this? Well, when I was dealing with driver updates for Windows 7, I did some research and ran across this product that automated the whole process for me, so I thought I’d share what I found, since I didn’t find many real reviews around.
But be warned, I’ll be going into both the good and bad points in this review, so if that’s something you might not want to hear, then you may as well leave now (I’m a big believer in unbiased reviews). So here goes…
First, the facts about the product. Driver Robot is a software tool that automates:
I found the product very simple to download and install initially. Click here to download it and give it a try (it’s free to scan your system and see the state of your Windows 7 drivers).
When you first run Driver Robot, you get a single, simple page that looks like this:
As you can see, it’s dead-stick simple. You simply press the “START SCAN” button and it scans your PC drivers.
When the scan is finished (about 15 to 20 seconds on my particular system), it then shows you what it has found:
As you can see here, it found 7 new drivers for my Windows 7 system. It creates a list of all drivers on your system, along with the status of each one; out of date, update-to-date or built-in system drivers (that belong to Windows itself).
You then simply press the “GET DRIVERS” button, and the next screen appears:
At this point, each set of related drivers that need updating are shown. You simply click on the “Start” button (where the little red arrow is pointing above) and this begins the Windows 7 driver download process.
I have to say at this point, this is as easy as locating and downloading the right drivers can possibly be. Click here to see how easy it is for yourself.
The entire process to this point has taken about one minute! For this, Driver Robot scores very high points as the simplest, fastest way to identify the drivers that are out of date, find the correct driver and enable the user to download it at the touch of a button.
After the driver is downloaded (time depends on size of driver file, usually a couple of minutes or less), it is ready to install, as shown here:
At this point, Driver Robot has downloaded the driver(s) and they’re ready to install. To begin the driver install process, you click on the “Install” button (another red arrow above).
So far, so good. Driver Robot has automated about as much of the process as it can. Installing the drivers from this point forward is fairly straightforward. When you click on the Install button, the downloaded driver files are opened up in a compressed file (e.g., WinZip) program. You can then “extract” the files into a folder on your PC, where you then install the drivers (using the procedures I outlined in an earlier post).
I really wish the driver installation process could be more automated than this, but drivers are so diverse and different, there’s no easy way to streamline the process completely. This is the biggest area that’s still lacking in the product, though. I would’ve liked to have seen the extraction process automated, along with identifying exactly which driver install setup file to run (maybe in a future version – we’ll see).
Nevertheless, Driver Robot takes what used to be an error-prone Web search, sift through the results, look through each website to find the proper driver, manually compare the versions and make sure the latest version is chosen and then manually download the driver install files. So Driver Robot automates the most error-prone part of the process, making driver selection and downloading so easy (dare I say) – even a caveman could do it!
Anyway, that’s the good news. The bad news is, full use of Driver Robot isn’t completely free, but it is very affordable. I can understand why they charge a little for it. It’s a nice little tool that saves a ton of time and greatly simplifies the complexities of driver management. And the 100,000+ latest drivers in the database is a real time saver.
Driver Robot takes you by the hand, and shows you step by step the easiest way to find the best drivers for your Windows 7 (or earlier) system and makes downloading, installing and updating drivers as easy as it gets.
Installing Windows 7 Drivers is fairly straightforward, once you understand how to manage your Windows devices. In this post, we’ll see how to access the Windows 7 Device Manager, access a particular device and update or install device drivers.
When updating or installing Windows 7 drivers manually, I like to see what device drivers are already installed on my system before installing or changing anything. As an aside, it’s also a good idea to ensure you have a recent “Restore Point” before messing around with system settings – like device drivers or registry settings, as there’s always some risk that Windows might encounter troubles rebooting after such low-level changes.
Now, let’s begin by having a look at the devices we have installed first. You can access Device Manager a few different ways. One way is to open Control Panel and enter “device” in the search box, then choose Device Manager.
Another way is to right-click on the My Computer icon (on the desktop or in the Start menu), and choose the “Properties” menu as shown below:
Once you select the Properties menu, you’ll see the following screen:
The above dialog shows your computer’s properties. In the upper left corner you’ll see the “Device Manager” link. Click on that link to bring up the Device Manager, which will look like this:
As you can see, the Device Manager lists all your computer’s devices in a tree list. You can open and expand each of those list items by clicking on it. For example, you can see here I have opened up the Network Adapters to see two Intel network devices – one is the Ethernet hard-wired port and the other is the wireless adapter.
Next, right click on the desired device, and select “Properties”. You’ll then see a device properties dialog like this one pop up for the device you selected:
Now, on this device properties dialog you can see quite a lot of information. As shown above, you can select the “Driver” tab, which then shows the currently installed driver information, the driver’s date, version, etc.
From here, you can (among other things) select the Update Driver button to update the driver. There are a couple of options, which appear in this dialog:
The above dialog provides a couple of options:
1) You can let Windows search automatically for an updated driver. This will work in some cases, but not in others.
2) You can “Browse” your computer’s hard drive to locate a driver that you downloaded. In many cases, you will have downloaded the latest driver from a vendor’s site or using some type of driver location service, and the driver files will be located in a folder on your PC. In this case, you simply browse to that folder where you stored the downloaded files and choose the appropriate sub-folder for your PC (pay particular attention to whether you need 32-bit or 64-bit driver versions, as there will likely be several to choose from).
If you don’t see a Windows 7 sub-folder in the driver directory, you may have to settle for using a Vista driver instead (most Vista drivers are compatible with Windows 7).
Here’s a decent video that demonstrates this process:
Now that we have seen how to install or update a driver using Device Manager, there may be another option. Many device drivers have their own installation programs. For these types of drivers (e.g., HP printer drivers), you’ll want to use the vendor’s installation program, which is usually an executable program in the root directory or main folder where you downloaded the driver. Running the vendor’s install will often install additional vendor utilities and tools, in addition to the driver. Sometimes this is desirable – sometimes not (depending on the device).
If you purchased a new hardware device for your PC, it’s best to begin with the software/driver installation instructions that came with your hardware device – at least as a starting point.
Hope that quick overview of locating and installing/updating devices using Device Manager is helpful.
After a Windows 7 Upgrade
If you upgraded to Windows 7 from Vista, then there may have been various drivers that were excluded from the upgrade process because Windows itself didn’t come with compatible drivers (or believed there to be a compatibility issue). For those hardware items to work, you’ll need to find an appropriate driver. Windows 7 does a relatively good job with drivers (compared to earlier versions of Windows), but it can’t include all possible drivers.
Even if you didn’t upgrade and installed Windows 7 fresh on your PC, there could be missing drivers, especially if your computer is a bit older or you have older peripherals and devices attached to it.
For example, when I upgraded my Sony VAIO laptop that’s several years old, the display brightness control stopped working, so I had to go get the proper motherboard and keyboard drivers to resolve this annoyance.
Finding Windows 7 Drivers – The fast and easy way
There are several ways to approach driver updates in Windows 7. The easiest way I’ve found is to download Driver Robot and do a quick scan of your drivers (especially if you’re non-technical and just want this driver problem to go away).
This tool will scan your Windows installation, and automatically pinpoint any missing, out of date or driver issues, along with finding you the best available driver. It only takes a couple of minutes and is a worthwhile and easy step to take. Best of all, it’s free to download and do the scan.
Another easy thing to do is to check Windows Update to see if a new driver might be available on the Windows site (doubtful if you just upgraded, but worth a try anyway). To access Windows Update, simply click on Start, then All Programs and choose Windows Update. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and the driver you need will be there.
The old-fashioned way – with a bit more manual effort and time for each driver…
If Windows Update doesn’t find the driver you need, you can always go to the hardware vendor’s website and look for the driver there. Drivers are usually located in the “Support” area of a vendor’s website. You’ll need to know the model number of the hardware, so you can see what drivers are available. If you don’t find a specific driver marked for Windows 7, you can usually get away just using the latest Vista driver (I say usually, because sometimes these drivers aren’t compatible and were excluded from the Windows Upgrade for a reason).
If you’re more technical, you can always run a Web search for your driver by typing “hardware driver”; e.g., to find a driver for an HP Office Jet 7300 printer, you could search for “HP OfficeJet 7300 driver”. In this example, you’ll see on Google that the right link comes up at the top of the search results, then you have to poke around on the vendor’s website until you find the driver you need, then download it and install it.
After installing or upgrading to Windows 7, your PC is actually working after installation, but a number of things are may not be running optimally and some of the more obscure devices may not be working at all (like my brightness control I mentioned earlier, for example). More specialized multi-media PC’s and portable devices are especially likely to require some driver updates for full functionality to be restored.
The fastest and easiest way to find all your drivers and keep them up-to-date is to get Driver Robot – it’s free to download and do a quick scan. I use it now and don’t have to worry or waste time dealing with out of date drivers. It will scan your system and quickly pinpoint driver issues, and best of all, it’ll locate the best driver for you in it’s database of over 100,000 drivers. In fact, this little tool is so easy to use and comprehensive, I think I’ll dedicate an entire post to it later.
I hope this gets you started in the right direction to resolve your Windows 7 driver-related issues.
Welcome to the Windows 7 Drivers information site.
I was an early adopter of Windows 7, back in August 2009 as a Microsoft TechNet subscriber, which gave me a head start on Windows 7. I hope you find this site and its various Windows 7 driver articles useful and helpful. Fortunately, there are some ways to make this difficult driver management problem a lot simpler these days.
Windows 7 drivers are similar in many respects to drivers of earlier versions of Windows. In fact, amany Windows Vista drivers are compatible with Windows 7, and may be the place to start until a stable Windows 7 driver becomes available for your particular needs.
If you’re reading this, chances are you have upgraded from Windows XP or Windows Vista, and then ran into some kind of driver-related issue, and could use some assistance, such as:
Once you get upgraded to Windows 7 and your drivers and other applications are all installed, I think you’ll be much happier with it. Like many, I suffered through Vista for several years and it’s a big relief to finally be on Windows 7.
Anyway, I’ll be back again soon with some additional posts and helpful articles, and maybe even a how-to video on how to manage drivers in Windows.