Monday, August 06, 2007

Vista Tip: Driven To Insanity

This one may seem more like a no brainer, however, if you are one of the bold and daring who performed a Vista upgrade on an older computer this one may have slipped your mind. Vista drivers for older hardware were just plain awful in the beginning of the Vista public beta cycle. And sadly that status continued during the first few months of Vista's release at the start of 07. Now things seem to be firming up fast and if you don't check for the latest driver upgrades on hardware and software for Vista you may be losing out on better performance.

For example I have a Dell XPS 400 series computer. Dell has finally posted their first updates to the system's video and audio drivers. While these were a welcome sight indeed it was the update to my networking card that was the key to unlocking real system nirvana. This new driver actually had me taking back some of the nasty things I had said about Road Runner as my downloads are much much faster now with the latest Vista driver.

Hardware is not the only component you should be on the look out for when out surfing the interwebs. Nero has updated it's self a ton and other programs that you may use all the time might also have new Vista updates to deal with all those new drivers we talked about earlier.

You may want to add a driver roundup to your monthly maintenance schedule as drivers for NVIDIA and Creative Labs tend to update at least once a month. Older X Fi cards saw an update to the Creative Suite of audio programs too which require you to download an ISO or go through and find the individual programs through the support site. And I have a notepad file on hand with lists of version numbers when I do this each month. Sometimes the only way to tell if an update is ready for me to use is to look at the release date as the numbering system for some companies defies all logic.

Just remember, as if I don't say this enough, to set your Restore Points before playing around with new drivers. With Vista you don't have to worry as often about killing your Assistive Technology as Vista's mirror drivers don't usually eat it for breakfast, however, this isn't a hard and fast rule to go by. Hence the call for Restore Points again.

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