Hassle Free Driver Backup
key review info
- Application: DriverMax 3.0
- Reviewed on:
- Checks for outdated driver versions
- (3 more, see all...)
Not many users are aware that Windows brings more than just an interface and a list of collateral applications which are sometimes less useful than a free third party program. It also provides all the drivers for making installation of various devices much easier. The drivers are updated the moment the entire OS receives the updates.
This is the reason why you don't need a driver for installing the newly acquired USB key or for connecting a new hard drive or network card. However, Windows does not contain drivers for all devices and in this case, the disc supplied upon acquiring the device comes in quite handy.
Here's a question: have you ever misplaced that disc and found yourself in the situation of desperately searching the manufacturer's website in search for the right driver? I am sure you've also been through this as drivers are generally considered the least important aspect. Everybody knows the manufacturer makes them available for free, but you never know where exactly to look for them.
So for those who are in this situation there is a simple solution that backs up your drivers and can even tell which drivers are outdated and in need for a refresh. DriverMax is especially tailored to help you in keeping your drivers up to date and in an easy to grab location. The application is absolutely free of charge, looks very good, and requires the least effort in handling it.
Though you will be prompted with registering the product and alerted that you can evaluate the software for 30 days, proceed to claiming a free registration code. No personal details are required save your name and a valid email address. The free code will be sent in 48 hours tops.
A clear-cut interface which perfectly integrates in Vista invites you to use the application. The menu is modest but it shelters all the options you need for backing up drivers, restoring them, view the ones already installed, check for updates of both drivers and of the software as well as take a look and see which hardware is popular among DriverMax users.
The three menus available are expandable and at a simple mouseover, they will unfold giving access to the sheltered options. Driver Operations dialog allows importing and exporting drivers to a user designated location on the computer. For both operations you will be guided by a wizard which also features a brief description of the situations it could prove useful in (re-installing Windows).
Next step is listing all the drivers available on your computer. The list includes both drivers available in Windows as well as those manually installed by you. Exporting the drivers is painless as the application does all the hard work. All you need to do is select those to backup.
DriverMax offers two storage options: you can either save them the way they are or add them to a compressed folder to gain some disk space. Either way, you can import them right back with no effort at all.
Taking a look at installed drivers is a hassle free job which during our testing took way under a minute to complete. All the drivers are listed on the application's interface, but to be frank, the view is not among the best DriverMax can provide. Instead, you can save a report in HTML or TXT format. I would go for HTML view as it is the most comfortable and each item is clearly separated. The details available include the date of the driver, producing company and if it signed by the manufacturer.
Reports can be customized to show driver versions currently in use, phantom devices (devices installed on the system and then removed, e.g. USB connecting gimmicks), hidden ones (those not displayed in Windows Device Manager), Windows' default or those without an INF file (these cannot be exported).
Updates and Identification menu comes with three options tailored to provide information on the state of installed drivers, identification of unknown hardware and updating the application to its latest version. Both driver updating and hardware identifications are displayed in a webpage and it will not take long for the application to come up with the list. The downside is that when updated versions of the drivers is displayed you do not have the possibility of downloading the latest versions.
The webpage comes with a download button but downloading is not a feature available for now. However, the service is good for letting you know which items need your attention and you can attempt a manual search and download of the items. At least it is better than nothing.
Popular Hardware menu helps users select the best hardware for making the transition to Vista as hassle free as possible. The web service also makes available a list with the best-rated video cards and CPUs by Windows Experience. Unfortunately, the list only comprises display adapters and processors, but that should be sufficient in making your choice.
DriverMax detects a myriad of drivers installed on your system, including those that are not in use and are brought by Windows.
Users can choose which drivers to backup and check if the latest version installed corresponds to the latest release from the manufacturer.
Driver download is not supported yet, but I gather the developer will implement this feature as well.
Listing detected drivers in a TXT file is not quite the best of choices but for a better view, you can use HTML report.
The application is freeware and does a great job with both backing up and restoring the drivers. All it needs after restoration is a single restart of the computer. No more hassle, no more restarts after each driver installation (well, I generally postpone this action until most drivers are installed), no more looking for them on the manufacturer's website.
Although it does not provide download links of the latest driver versions, it is definitely an asset for any computer user. I would recommend running it every once in a while in order to backup whatever drivers are updated by Windows.
Here are some snapshots of the application in action: