Driver Update Utility Scam

Have you ever had an issue with your computer, and you Google the symptoms, and you are told to “update your drivers”? Maybe you have had a pop-up window telling you your drivers are “out of date.” Perhaps you saw an online advertisement for “Windows Driver Medic” or some other software. What should you do? What is a driver, anyway?

Simply put, a driver is a piece of software that controls how a piece of hardware runs. Let us use a video card for our example. A video card is a piece of hardware that controls how video gets out of your computer and on to your monitor. In this scenario, pretend your computer has a video card manufactured by NVIDIA. How does this card, manufactured by NVIDIA, know how to operate within the Windows environment made by Microsoft? And what if your computer’s CPU (the central processing unit—your computer’s “brain”) is made by Intel? Your NVIDIA video card needs to understand how to work with these two variables (a CPU and the operating system), made by two different manufacturers. The driver controls how the video card will communicate and act with these other pieces.

In most instances, updating drivers is not something you should worry about. Is your computer working fine? Great. Leave it as is. There is no need for you to download “Driver Easy” or “PC Driver Medic” or any other driver snake oil to keep your machine running well. In some circumstances, you might run into an issue where a driver is causing a conflict, and causing bad things to happen. Bad graphics drivers could cause your screen to flicker, freeze, or even your computer to reboot. Bad CPU drivers could also cause your machine to reboot or crash. So if you are experiencing some problem, then you should consider looking for a more up-to-date driver. In my opinion, though, if you are not having issues, you do not need to be concerned about out-of-date drivers. Downloading a piece of free software that will supposedly download fresh drivers for you will probably create more problems than it solves.

PS: Apple users do not have to be concerned with updating their drivers. Because Apple manufactures their own computers and operating systems (and even processor chips), they automatically know how these pieces need to communicate with each other. When Mac drivers need to be updated, they happen automatically as the Apple operating system is updated. You need do nothing to your Mac. The variability of manufactures within the Windows environment is what makes driver updating more important to PC users.

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