The Importance Of Official And Original Drivers
With thousands of websites offering you seemingly endless ways to solve your driver problems, it can be tempting to just start downloading everything available. Unfortunately, many miraculous claims made by software makers are exaggerated. In the worst cases, supposed drivers turn out to act as little more than spyware that mines your personal data without your knowledge. Keeping your system safe and operating as it should be requires you to pick out the original and official drivers from the fake files and third party offerings. Separating the wheat from the chaff is the best way to keep viruses off of your home or work computer.
Software From The Manufacturer
The best source for drivers is nearly always the company that built the company or the piece of equipment. Turning to companies like Dell, Samsung, Sony, or AMD means that you are receiving the files originally intended to be distributed with the hardware. Seeking out software from the manufacturer has numerous benefits:
- Gives you the best chance at getting updated versions of the drivers that solve important security hazards or glitches.
- Prevents unwanted code from hijacking your system or damaging your driver files.
- Offers a simple installation process because most manufacturers provide executable programs that guide you through the process.
Viruses And Spyware
There is another reason to stick to trustworthy sources when trying to replace drivers for common devices like scanners and printers. Some third party or fake files contain viruses or deliver spyware that compromise your safety. When you get a keylogger or hijacker file, it can take days or weeks of hard work to move it. The hidden files send your credit card numbers or other sensitive data to the thieves. You don’t want to deal with identify theft or fraud while trying to find an authentic version of your drivers to solve an error.
When To Turn To Third Parties
In some rare cases, you just can’t find a driver directly from the manufacturer. Companies go out of business each year, leaving you with no website to download drivers on. Many of the biggest producers also drop support for older devices usually found on Windows XP computers. If you have discovered that your manufacturer is no longer providing the files you need, you may be forced to turn to a third party to resolve your driver woes. This is only risky if you don’t stick to reliable third parties, like XPDrivers. Sources that report scanning from verifiers will help you avoid driver download websites that accidentally or purposefully spread malware and spyware.
How To Test The Safety Of Unknown Drivers
When you are pushed into choosing a driver file that comes from a third party, it is best to do a little testing and preparation before attempting to pick the right one. Installing some protection will ensure that your experiments don’t go awry if you accidentally download an infected one.
- Start with a good anti-virus program. You can find dozens of top rated options for free, including AVG, Avast, and Webroots. Install it before downloading a single driver file, even if you are using a trustworthy website.
- Run a complete virus and malware scan. There’s no point in trying to fix a driver problem when a piece of malware is running wild on your hard drive.
- Create a folder on your desktop and set it as your download folder for your browser. This process varies based on the anti-virus program you have chosen.
- Run a scan on all supposed driver files before executing them or unzipping archives. If the anti-virus or malware scanning software detects a problem, delete the file and look for an alternative.
- Install the drivers if there are no warning signs. Run the scan again after installation to make sure nothing slipped in with the other files.
The Power Of Collections
When trying to access original drivers that are no longer listed on the manufacturer’s website, it often helps to find complete collections of files for specific devices. A general mix of network drivers all packaged together in one set gives you a good shot at finding something that works. Stick to groupings of genuine content gleaned from the installation discs and websites rather than third party materials created later. You may gain access to rare or unusual files that would be impossible to find otherwise.
System Recovery Processes
There is one more simple trick for locating trusted drivers when the original maker is out of business. If you can find your original system discs or a system recovery CD created later, you may be able to restore the right files in just a few minutes. Using the XP System Restore process also helps. When driver files are removed or changed, the system can make a restore point prior to the event that allows you to rollback to a previous version later. Keeping System Restore enabled is the best way to reverse driver damage if you catch it as soon as it occurs. Follow these steps to check and see if you have this valuable service enabled.
- Open the Start Menu by clicking on its icon on your task bar. Look for the My Computer listing and right click on. Select and click on Properties.
- Select the System Restore tab. There will be two checkboxes – if they are checked, the automatic restore point process has been turned off. The boxes need to be clear to allow the establishments of regular check points.
- Click on OK after making any changes to commit them.
Look For Signing
Working with signed drivers is a good way to avoid fakes and forgeries. When you try to install a file or executable, Windows may warn you that the component is missing its signing. This should give you pause and redirect your plans to install the drivers. Signing allows the computer to tell when a file has been altered since its original authoring, according to Microsoft.