ASK THE PROS 2009 Drivers and More Drivers

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Every week ASK THE PROS receives questions about drivers. They are not always the same but between looking for specific drivers and wanting to know how to find drivers for a reinstall the questions mount up. A few weeks back I referenced our Drivers 101 offering. It comes with every DriverAlert subscription. It’s an excellent guide but there’s something missing. How do I save the drivers that are installed on my PC now?
That’s the question to start this month’s ASK THE PROS.

Q. Pamela J. asks: My brother wants to reinstall Windows for me on my computer. How can I find what drivers are installed on my system now so he can find them later?

Thank you.

A. Sounds like a simple enough question Pamela, but when I go to actually find all the drivers I realize that there’s no way the average person is going to find all the drivers and get them into a usable form for installation. The standard “go to your manufacturer’s website and download …” rolls off the tongue easily, but that procedure is like navigating a mine field. People have no idea what hardware they have, their motherboard version isn’t obvious to them,and they don’t know the difference between onboard graphics and an nVidia 8800gt. So there must be a better way, right? Gotta be one place to go and pull all the drivers that are on your system. VOILA!! I give you WinDrivers Backup . This is now my new favorite “FREE” program. I’ve used it on Windows XP, Vista, even Windows7 and it works like a charm. So now the next time I want to do a windows install I don’t have to waste any time looking for drivers before starting or installing without them and looking afterward. I’ve downloaded the drivers from my setup and have them on a USB thumb drive for the next unexpected installation. I love it, give it a try.

From the forums, Terry offers this dilemma along with a fix.

Q. A couple months ago I installed a new hard drive as well as 2 more gigs of ram on my still somewhat new HP computer. I hadn’t run it in the Pit until just last week after I thought I had tweaked it to where I wanted it. All was good except it showed my memory was perfoming about half of what it should have been.

I followed all the “Solutions” listed under Memory Performance Test to no avail. After spending alot of time replacing and swapping out ram, I finally came across several forum topics about the same issue. Almost all were remedied by changing the Power Options from Energy Star (or what other power saving mode) to Always On or Home/Office. I thought i had already changed that, but I looked anyway and sure enough, it was set to Energy Star mode. I changed it to Always On and also under System Performance, I changed from Best Appearance to Best Performance and then checked the 2 or 3 boxes to make the screen still look somewhat normal.

Ran the test again, and low and behold my memory jumped up to over 100% and into the TOP 28%!

A. This is one of those tweak settings that needs to be double checked now and again. For XP go to: Start/Control Panel/Power Options/Power Schemes/Home Office Desk. While there, change the other power saving feature.

Turn Off Monitor = Never

Turn Off Hard Drive = Never

Standby Mode = Never

For Windows Vista go to: Start/Control Panel /Power Options /Click High Performance /Change plan settings/Turn Off Monitor Never/Put the Computer to sleep Never/OK Start /Control Pane /System /Advanced System Settings /Performance Settings /Adjust for best Performance/Apply/Close.

I spend a lot of time testing and putting systems in tiptop shape so it’s a tweak I’m familiar with.

Thanks for the input and keep em comming.

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