gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Uniblue Driver Scanner

Occassionally I pick up a piece of software to review which I am incredibly skeptical about. Uniblue Driver Scanner is a prime example. It purports to scan your system for installed drivers and recommend upgrades which can then be easily downloaded and installed via its UI.

The problem, or so I thought, with this is that the myriad of hardware combinations and driver versions out there would make creating a reliable and accurate driver “scanner” an insurmountable task. Uniblue, although not the only choice, have met this challenge head-on with their Driver Scanner and produced a piece of software which, whilst seemingly far removed from anything I would have thought I would use often, has actually proven to be an indespensible utility that I install and run on any computer I come across.

At home I am primarily a Mac user, so I can set aside my driver worries more or less and have a productive computing experience. However, I also run Windows XP on my Netbook and Desktop computers in addition to Ubuntu on the former, meaning I’m intimately familiar with so called “driver woes” and welcome any utility that will keep the mundane and oft-ignored drivers up-to-date. Even if I worry about graphics (more or less the only driver I ever do get hands on with) myself, Driver Scanner will happily take care of chipset and network interface drivers alongside a plethora of other mundane crap which I couldn’t in a million years be bothered to micro-manage.

Firing up Driver Scanner on every Windows powered system I’ve touched, from a Vista Workstation, to the aforementioned XP Netbook and Desktop and subsequently installing all the suggested drivers has yet to cause me a problem. However, it’s difficult to really quantify the benefit of keeping the more obscure drivers up to date. Driver Scanner will take care of your graphics card, too, but if you’re running a dedicated card in leiu of a crappy integrated chip you’re almost guaranteed to get better results from modified, customized or slightly esoteric driver versions that Driver Scanner does not know exist. If you do have an integrated chip, or are simply not quite computer literate (or motivated) enough to find and download drivers yourself then the scan and install-everything-it-suggests procedure with Driver Scanner is worth a shot at least once a month on every system you own.

Like AVG Free and SpyBot S&D, Uniblue Driver Scanner has made it onto my list of things I install as standard onto my Windows computers. And to think, if I had not obtained a copy for a gander then I would never have given it a second glance.

Monday, April 27th, 2009, Personal Computing.