IT Support professionals like upgrading to new PCs in order to reduce the number of routine help desk tickets they have to complete on older units. Nonetheless, there are always a number of units running older operating systems that need ongoing support. For this reason, many IT professionals have a nicely maintained library of driver diskettes properly documented and ready to go when an older PC fails. However, at some point you are bound to find a situation in which you run across hardware that has no drivers available.
Granted, there are Web sites like WinDrivers and DriverGuide that are either free or, for a small ongoing fee, have a vast storage of drivers. However, you may still need to know something about the hardware so you do not load the wrong driver. For this situation, a great option is My Drivers, an inexpensive Shareware that is a Windows Driver Management Tool for Windows 95/98/Me/NT4.0/2000/XP and now, even Windows 2003.
How it works in a nutshell
My Drivers searches your hard drive and finds all the hardware as well as their associated drivers and it then allows you to extract and back them up to a location of your choice. Then when you format and reinstall/upgrade your operating system, you can restore all the "saved" drivers just as if you had the original driver diskettes in your hands. A reboot will be required and then your PC will be loaded and running with the required hardware drivers. My Drivers has a built in database of over 58,600 drivers with the ability to go to the Internet to receive updates or direct you to the vendor’s Web site if needed.
Downloading and installing My Drivers
After downloading the slightly less than 1-MB executable file, simply double-click on the file and the installation is automatic. The program installs itself and writes a submenu in the Windows program group. The program also drops a shortcut onto the desktop. You can initially try out the full program with a 15-day trial if you wish—each time you start up you will be presented with a chance to purchase or continue.
Collecting hardware information and drivers
As shown in Figure A and Figure B, one of the best features about My Drivers is that you have the option to select specific drivers or all drivers with two options—Collect All or Fast Collect.
|The Fast Collect option yielded five items on my laptop.|
|The Collect ALL option yielded 78 results; as you can see, a very nice comprehensive set of hardware and their respective drivers were identified.|
Backing up your selected drivers
With either Fast Collect or Collect All options, My Drivers gives you the ability to back up all or selected drivers by using the Shift key for multiple selection. Backing up is a simple click process. As shown in Figure C, My Drivers give you three excellent options to fit each different usage:
- Backup Selected To EXE Installer
- Backup All Drivers To Cab Packages
- Backup All Drivers To One EXE Installer
Restoring "backed up" drivers
Restoration of drivers is simple. As shown in Figure D, you have the choice of restoring an old driver, all drivers, or installing a new driver if necessary.
As shown in Figure E, if you need to troubleshoot a specific driver, My Driver can remove it to see if it's causing the problem. Using the My Driver EXE Automatic Installer, you may opt to back up your specific driver selection. If you have a particular item of hardware that is troublesome, My Driver can also remove the specific hardware device driver.
As an added feature, My Drivers can even back up the Favorites in Internet Explorer, as well as the Internet Explorer Proxy Settings and provide a back up for your settings for Outlook and Outlook Express (Figure F).
My Drivers is an excellent match for older units that do not have elaborate hardware to run newer utilities:
- Intel Pentium or AMD K5 Class CPU or Higher
- 8 MB Ram
- 10 MB of Uncompressed Hard Drive Space
- Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003
- Intel Pentium II or AMD K6 Class CPU
- 16 MB Ram
- 35 MB of Uncompressed Hard Drive Space
- Windows 9x/Me/2000/XP/2003
- An Internet connection