Windows 10 has done wonders for drivers, and Microsoft now rolls out drivers for a range of products via the Windows Update service. But the sheer number of hardware devices out in the wild, means that driver updater software programs still remain an important part of the computing puzzle.
Now, admittedly, you can search for and download many of the drivers for devices that make up your device from their official websites. But not all drivers are readily available, particularly if you own an older machine and have upgraded to Windows 10. And the process itself is cumbersome — finding the right driver version for the right model number takes time and effort.
Driver update software become a bit of a blessing, then, in how they can easily locate and quickly download device drivers, even obscure ones.
That convenience, and the management functionalities that driver updater software provide, is what makes them useful to many users. Features like providing complete details of the connected hardware, backing up and restoring device drivers, automatically checking for and installing new ones, and scanning for changes are some of the options that are included in the best driver updater programs.
If you’re ready to grab a driver updater, then this group test will show you your best available options.
Power users and gamers that want complete control
Accurate scanning and reporting, sleek UI, easy driver installation
Annoying notifications, ads and promotion for other programs
Users running older computers and peripherals
Clean UI, fast scanning, huge database of drivers
Limited to one free driver download a day
Power users that have already subscribed to other software
Large drive database, neatly designed user interface, fast, malware checking
Expensive yearly license for the functionality it provides
Fast, streamlined, handy toolkit that cleans up files
Limited database of devices
Uniblue Driver Scanner
Modern systems, business users
Tidy UI, lightweight, fast and reliable installation of drivers
No malware scanning, outdated scan engine, limited driver database, expensive
DUMo Update Monitor
Manual checking and installation of device drivers
Quickly scans and lists connected hardware and drivers that needs updating
Barebones user interface, no automatic installation in free version
Now we will explain the features of these driver updaters in detail.
IObit made a name of itself in system maintenance software, and their expertise is at show with Driver Boosters, a neatly designed program that thoroughly scans your system and provides details on outdated drivers.
The user interface is about as slick as it can be, with a dark design, and excellent use of icons.
Information regarding the age of drivers, and whether they need updating is also provided. As are buttons to easily update a chosen driver with one click. You can, of course, update all drivers at once, if you want — which is very handy when you do a fresh install of Windows.
Driver Booster can identify and update over 400,000 drivers provided by more than 5,000 companies, including the likes of Intel, AMD, NVIDIA and Realtek. It is particularly adept at fixing issues with network controllers and audio chipsets.
Updating a driver with this program is entirely done within the app, and the whole process is streamlined to perfection. The program only provides WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) tested drivers, and it automatically backs up a previous copy of the driver, while also creating a restore point before updating to prevent any unexpected problems.
In addition, the download process also makes use of an advanced driver compression algorithm that reduces download time by at least 30%. Along with all these neat options, IObit has packed in dedicated features for gamers that can detect and update various individual components like DirectX, PhysX, and Adobe Flash.
Most of these features are available in the pro version of the program, though, including a larger database with a bigger collection of rare drivers, but it’s hard to ask for more from either variant of the program, which is practically the best choice available right now.
Now, this is a good name for a drive management program! Device Doctor is a program that has been in development since 2009, but it just received an update this April, after a hiatus of five years — an update that brought it up to speed with Windows 10.
This free program is billed as a solution to finding whether new updates to drivers are available, and it also helps locate drivers for unidentified devices in the Windows Device Manager panel. As far as free software goes, this one is right up there at the top.
With drivers for over 13 million individual devices and computers!
The developers boast that they have more than 3 terabytes of drivers currently in their database, and these include drivers of all major computer hardware and device manufacturer. More are added every week, and more importantly, all drivers are reviewed by humans using specialized compatibility tools.
In our tests, Device Doctor did not have any issues finding the drivers for the most common devices and peripherals. Hardware scans were completed very quickly, and downloads were lightening quick, too, thanks to smart caching of the drivers.
Along with a very clean and clear interface, Device Doctor also has a few extra features that make it unique and worthy of a podium finish. Namely, support for both WHQL and non-WHQL drivers, offline usage, and the ability to provide device names for unknown devices before updating their drivers.
A premium version is also on offer that includes the backup and restore functions for drivers, along with a nifty little system maintenance toolbox that includes components like a startup manager, uninstaller, disk space cleaner and a system monitor.
With an impressive array of features and functions, even in the free version, you just have to give this doctor a call when you want to manage drivers on your computer!
Creative name for a rather colorful looking program! Driver Reviver helps you find outdated drivers on your system by scanning for all the installed hardware, and then providing a summary of device drivers that need updating.
An intuitive and friendly user interface combined with quick speed of scanning ensures that this app updates drivers without any hassle — all thanks to its huge database of drivers that are delivered safely and securely. The company claims that it has access to over 10 million driver files, including a wide range of system drivers, and in our tests Driver Reviver had no issues detecting the necessary drivers for all types of makes and models.
The efficient scanning process produced detailed results, and the program also includes a number of handy security measures to prevent system instability after the update process. These include backups, creation of restore points, and exclusive use of OEM drivers. Files are also checked for malware, and on top of that there is a reporting system in place that allows users to provide feedback on suspect drivers.
Overall, this incredibly easy to use app is one of the better driver management program available on the market today, and ticks all the right boxes when it comes to features and speed.
Just like all other capable drive management programs, Driver Genius detects missing and obsolete drivers on a computer, and provides the ability to download them after a detailed scan. The automatic drive update feature in this app ensures minimal efforts and interactions from the user.
And the program also throws in some neat little system monitoring features into the package that monitor the hardware temperature of the CPU, GPU and hard disk drives.
Back to its main ability, though.
Driver scanning and updating.
The program supports more than 30,000 drivers, which may seem a little low compared to the other software in this list. But it’s enough for most hardware included in modern PCs, and is certainly adequate unless you are rocking a really ancient machine.
As for the included features, all the standard ones have made the cut — scans, backups, restores, uninstalls, even a scheduler. One useful feature is the ability to uninstall drivers and driver files that are no longer in use to free up space. Another very welcome security option is the ability to scan the drivers for malware with whatever antivirus a user has at hand.
This works with almost all major antivirus solutions out there, without any issues.
The program is very easy to use, and its home screen displays plenty of useful information. Everything in Driver Genius is clearly labeled, and the company’s website offers a user guide, a FAQs section, to get users up and running with this neatly designed program. It may be slightly more expensive, and slightly less comprehensive in its database of drivers, but that takes nothing away from the capabilities on offer with Driver Genius.
Uniblue is another company that has its roots in creating software that boost system performance. It has been developing these utilities for more than a decade now, and one of its more popular products is DriverScanner. This program does a solid job of keeping a device up to date with the latest drivers.
Like most similar products, Uniblue DriverScanner runs a scan upon install to determine which drivers are out of date. The installation took less than a minute to complete, the scanning barely took a second more — the program is fast, and superbly optimized.
The user interface is standard affair for popular software like this. Clean, and to the point, with easily recognizable visual cues that guide you through everything. Devices are clearly marked with iconography, and the same can be said for the available actions. Big green buttons are visibly present to help you get started with the process.
Speaking of which, the process itself is very similar to other programs on the list.
DriverScanner provides an easy way to download and install the latest drivers for the hardware that you have connected to your system. A fully functional driver restore feature is also available here, along with a scheduler and startup scan option so that your computer is always kept updated.
Unfortunately, the company does not detail the number of driver it has in its database for use with DriverScanner. But during our tests, the program had no trouble locating and finding updates for the drivers for the most commonly used hardware like network cards, input devices, printers and scanners.
Backup systems are in place, and the program creates a system restore point every time a new driver is installed as a fallback if anything goes south.
One negative Uniblue DriverScanner has is that it does not scan drivers for malware. This is a capability that more and more programs are picking up these days, and should have been right at home with the new 2017 version of this app.
The company also does not offer phone based support for people that upgrade to its paid solution, only via email. That said, its website has an entire section dedicated to customer support, with a detailed FAQ, product manual, and more.
Overall, this effective and incredibly easy to use program quickly and reliably finds and installs drivers, though it misses out on what some would deem a necessary security feature.
In a world of odd software names, DUMo may well be the oddest. But it has a reason. DUMo Stand for Device Update Monitor. And this user-friendly freeware is a good lightweight solution to keep your PC safely up to date with the latest versions of the required hardware drivers.
It may lack the flash and flare of other premium software in the list, but if you want a no-frills solution that can automatically detect your installed hardware, and the required drivers according to your version of Windows, then this breezy little program is worth a peek.
The free version displays the entire list of drivers that are installed on your system in just a few seconds, and also lists the version number and manufacturer details. All the important information is displayed in the main overview window of the program, which also shows the current RAM and CPU usage for good measure.
That’s where all the fun and games ends, though.
And that’s because it only does half the work.
The application does not provide direct links to the website of the device manufacturer, and you are required to double-click on the drivers from the list, which then takes you to the developer website that serves up a link to a Google Search page. Either that, or you can pay a small fee to upgrade to the pro version of DUMo that comes with direct links to manufacturers, enhanced performance, automatic program updates, as well as support.
As a freeware, though, DUMo Update Monitor keeps things light and simple. You may want to take it for a spin to see whether its process of automatically checking for available updates is worth your attention, even if it offers limited capabilities beyond this.
Do keep in mind that this is bundleware, so be sure to download the Lite version that does not come with any additional programs packed in.
Shawn is a WindowsChimp Staff writer, who is a fan of making lists and does the same on this site. He has a Contemporary Writing degree and been in technology niche since last 3 years.