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Best Free Software 19: Slim Drivers – Free – includes a tutorial showing how to get and update PC gadget drivers

Slimdrivers - freshly installed
Slimdrivers – freshly installed

What the publisher says:

What it does: SlimDrivers automatically updates PC drivers with real-time scanning and cloud technology. The first cloud-based utility for updating and maintaining drivers, SlimDrivers provides instant optimization of the interaction between a computer and its system components and periperhals, such as printers, graphic and sound cards, motherboards, USB ports, game controllers and other devices and hardware. SlimDrivers scans a PC, identifies the correct drivers needed, and retrieves them from the cloud, automatically installing the most current, precise drivers for each individual PC.

If you have bought or got a computer operating system like Windows XP, 7 or 8 CD or DVD, respectively and installed it on a computer, you have probably had the problem of sound, or some other function not working. This is probably because the driver for the specific gadget is not integrated in Windows and the computer does not know how to deal with it. In the past, unless your PC had a driver CD/DVD, it could be a real nightmare getting drivers for different gadgets, especially if it was also not possible to get the manufacturer’s website or it did not provide any support in form of drivers. Some sites online if you were lucky to find a specific driver required registration or even paid subscription and offered many people no quick solution.

The free software Slim Drivers – Free provided by Slim Utilities is the solution to such problems and has become indispensable for me, since I deal a lot with installing Windows especially on old PCs, which often have no driver CD/DVD around. Once I finish installing Windows and the antivirus, the first program is then Slim Drivers. You download a small program, which is probably a download manager and gets the real program on running it. When installing, unless you need the offered AVG toolbar, decline getting it installed. Slim Drivers will want to make an initial scan.

Slimdrivers - after initial scan
Slimdrivers – after initial scan

The paid version [DriverUpdate], after selection the download, installation or update is automatic. In this case though, you have to download each, individually, but it is not a big deal. You will be asked if you would like to create a Restore Point before continuing. It is safe doing so. After that, it will look for the driver online, download & install it. Some drivers, like display or sound drivers, or those connected to chips on the motherboard may ask for a restart after installation. You can, postpone a restart, if it allows until you finish other downloads. If not, after a restart, Slim Drivers will reappear and you continue to the next. Also remember some drivers require you agreeing to terms before installation.

This program is not only good for initial driver installations. It is also good for updating existing drivers. So once in a while, you may want to run a scan. if it finds some drivers out-dated, it will update them. New drivers often make gadgets run better and may offer new functionality.

Windows 7 and Win 8 [I have not installed this on old systems yet] in contrast to Windows XP come with lots of drivers for many gadgets that get installed. Many webcams, printers and so on get their basic drivers installed. However, there are always exceptions and for this, you either need to have a driver CD/DVD or such a program and of course must have internet access, with a good connection as some, like display drivers might be big, over 100MB.

SlimDrivers - mission accomplished
SlimDrivers – mission accomplished

Download Slim Drivers Free

You can download slim drivers free from the publisher’s site at Slimware Utilities or Download.com

Alternatives

A very good alternative is Driver Booster 2 Free (they have a paid version with more features) from I0bit. Just make sure during installation you do NOT install other offered in the installation assistant as some of this software can be troublesome. The free version is quite sufficient, though.

I must say a lot has improved since the coming of Windows 7 & 8 regarding drivers and many sensible PC & pc gadget manufacturers offer gadget drivers on their websites where you can also get individual drivers, as long as you can get the exact model details, but software such as SlimDrivers & Driver Booster may in some cases provide the quicker way.