Automatic Driver Restoration

very good
key review info
application features
  • Quickly backups device drivers for your computer.
  • (6 more, see all...)

The very next thing that I do after installing an operating system is to make all the hardware get to work properly and, for this, drivers need to be included in the system so that each component is recognized by the operating system. As easy this task may sound, sometimes it can be a real chore as you can't always find the discs with the drivers that came with the computer (if there came any). And spending time to download each and every single one of them every time you re-install the operating system is not exactly too good of a solution because of the time wasting factor. What you can do instead is backup all the drivers that are currently on the computer and restore them whenever needed.

Making the most of the drivers you already have installed on the system may result in the best solution to quickly, painlessly and effortlessly introduce all the hardware to the newly installed operating system. As for the applications ready for such a job, there are plenty of them, both in the freeware and shareware category. Of course, paid versions will offer more options and features compared to freebies.

Driver Genius Professional Edition 2007 comes as a complete solution for extracting all currently installed drivers on your system and reverting the process when required. The price tag reads $29.95 which may be a bit steep, but I suggest you tried the application first, as the developer offers 15 days for free evaluation.

Anyhow, to make an idea on the power of Driver Genius Professional, you should probably know that it sports a database of more than 30,000 drivers so the chances for one of your components not to have the corespondent driver in its list is quite slim. During our testing on two different configurations, we had absolutely no problem and everything worked like a charm.

The application allows easy management of the interface and of all the options it makes available through a comfortable positioning of all options and features. Driver Genius Professional 2007 provides the necessary set of functions for backing up all current drivers, performing an easy restore operation, as well as uninstall certain components or updating them. For expanding its functionality the program gives the user total freedom in choosing the drivers to be backed up as well as various formats to store them on disk.

All backed up data can be stored as a self-extracting archive, compressed under ZIP format, as an auto-installer archive or simply place all of them in folders, uncompressed and untouched. As for the differences when choosing one format over the other, these are not at all dissimilar, as it takes a similar amount of time to complete the process and the size on disk is very close. During our testing, saving all drivers in the default format (uncompressed and un-tinkered with) took about 21 minutes to complete and the end file was about 104MB large. A ZIP archive job took about 19 minutes and ate around 104MB as well. A self-extracting ZIP completed in approximately 20 minutes and the files weighed a little over 104MB.

With auto-installer archive however, things were a bit different as Driver Genius Professional 2007 finished the job in almost 20 minutes but the resulting file was only 54MB in size. But don't worry, when unpacked, all the drivers are there. If you still have doubts about this, check out the temporary directory under current user's Application Data folder and take a peek inside DrvTemp folder. Choosing this option for backing up your drivers is the most efficient one as upon restoring them you no longer need to install the entire software, just launch the executable and every item will be restored, provided you create the file with the full version of the software; otherwise, only the video card and network card drivers will be restored (limitation of the evaluation version).

Keeping your drivers up to date is no longer a matter of manual checking on developer's website fort the latest version as Driver Genius Professional 2007 can do this for you. The wizard tailored to guide you is very easy to follow and every step seems to be automatic as the software will choose the operating system in your stead quite accurately. After a brief moment of comparing your drivers with what's available in their database the application will give the verdict by displaying all drivers that are a bit behind or tell that everything is up to date.

Setting up the application is not much complicated than backing up your drivers or restoring them. Actually, all the settings to be made in this area can be changed in the moment of the backup operation. You get to choose the default setting for the type of backup (default, ZIP archive, self-extracting archive or auto-installer), compression level (if you go with ZIP archive or self-extracting ZIP), enforce reboot after the restore has completed and scan your computer for viruses after backup task is finished. For the latter of the options, you can set the path to the anti-virus solution you are using so that the software can call it.

As for the Tools section of the interface, here you can find additional instruments to help with keeping all drivers up to date and to find the devices that do not work (something like Windows' Device Manager). Unfortunately the application cannot download any driver in evaluation version and there is little you can do in this area.

Bottom line is that Driver Genius Professional Edition 2007 does a great job with backing up, restoring and keeping up to date all your drivers, but there are some downsides as well. The price is one of the issues as it is pretty steep. $29.95 is quite a price, considering that there are freebies that incorporate almost all options included in Driver Genius.

The limitations of the trial version are also hindering the proper testing of the software and you cannot evaluate it at full capacity (restores only video card and network card, you cannot download updated drivers, etc.). Plus the backup process takes quite a while, 20 minutes is double than what I am generally used to when I do this job with a freebie. But hey, the truth is that it does a great job and it is reliable.

The Good

Driver genius Professional 2007 comes with a complete facelift which does not affect at all the easy management of all the options incorporated. Backing up the drivers is an automatic job, all you have to do is choose the format and the location.

It can save the drivers in a self installing file which does not need installing the entire application when performing a restoration procedure.

The Bad

The limitations imposed to the trial version are messing up the entire evaluation process as you cannot properly test it (partially restores drivers and does not perform driver updates).

Backing up your drivers takes quite some time. A different application did the job in less than half the time Driver Genius took to complete the process.

The price will definitely make a hole in your wallet as 16 GBP is not exactly cheap.

The Truth

You have 15 days of limited evaluation but I'm afraid this is not enough, as there are plenty of restrictions around the corner.

It can back up all the drivers installed on the system and there should be no problems upon restoring them, but this is not a guarantee, as the app performs a partial restoration (only network cards and video cards are restored).

Also, a very important option is driver updating which gave the right verdict during our testing. But the price is quite steep and there is no guarantee that the software works flawlessly in the full version.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 3

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good