Drivers are important for every computer. Without them, hardware and software wouldn’t be able to communicate, leaving a system inoperable. Updates to drivers can dramatically improve the stability, speed and features of a computer without any changes to the hardware inside. Yet, for whatever reason, driver updates remain difficult to locate for most devices. Most users don’t update unless something has gone wrong.
Driver Booster, from IObit, promises an easier solution by acting as an all-in-one command center. All of your drivers are listed in the app’s interface, making them easy to update; or that’s the idea, at least. Let’s see if one interface can truly handle updates for all your hardware.
The download for IObit Driver Booster is less than 20 megabytes, which is an exceptionally small file size for a modern program. Users lacking bandwidth will appreciate how easy the file is to grab.
Installation is dead-simple. There are no special options to select, no adware offers to avoid, no unusual choices to make. Most users will have the software installed within minutes of starting the download, and those are very quick connections might complete the entire process in less than sixty seconds.
Software With A Purpose
Driver Booster is designed with one goal in mind; update drivers. As such, it has a rather simple interface. All devices with drivers are detected automatically (and quickly) when the program starts, and those with out-of-date drivers are shown as “bad, worse, worst.” How “bad” a driver is appears to be based on how old it is relative to the latest version available. As you can see, I haven’t been doing a good job of updating my motherboard drivers – shame on me!
The list of devices shown by the software is very through and includes not only installed hardware but also peripherals like printers, monitors, mice and gamepads. All of this information come across as intimidating because there’s just so much of it (even the most basic PC will probably have 50 drivers), but there’s no need to filter through the list manually. Out-of-date drivers are automatically pushed to the top.
While drivers can be updated by clicking the “update” button, a right-click on a drive can be used to view its details (like the currently installed version) or add it to the ignore list. Once added to ignore, the driver will no longer be listed even though it’s out-of-date, and it won’t be updated when you perform the “Update All” action. This is useful if you have reason to hold on to the outdated version.
Smooth Driver Updates
Updating a driver through Driver Booster is an entirely in-app experience. In other words, there’s no need to launch a separate browser window or installation program to handle the process. The download and installation all takes place in Driver Booster, and the software even creates a restore point before the new driver is installed.
Multiple drivers can be updated at once using the “update all” button, or they can be updated individually. Whichever you choose, it’s a good idea not to use your PC until the software has finished installation of all scheduled updates. While using the PC shouldn’t be a problem in theory, in practice a computer can behave strangely while drivers are being installed. The monitor may flicker, peripherals may stop working, or the computer may seem to freeze for several seconds. All of this is normal.
Once the installation is complete you’ll be prompted to reboot your computer and the “update” button will change to a “reboot” button. Do so, and you’re done!
While this Windows software is purpose-built for a very specific task, there are a few extra menus worth noting. First among these is restore, which can be accessed through the circular restore icon in the upper-right. The restore menu shows all of the restore points created during driver updates, which can then be selected and used to revert your PC to its previous settings. These restore points can also be accessed through Windows Restore in the unlikely event that a driver update crashes Windows and you can’t boot back to your desktop.
The other important menu is Settings, which is actually a series of sub-menus. This is where you decide how often your PC should be scanned for out-of-date drivers, select the download location of drivers, and manage the ignore list.
Driver Booster is not a complex program, but it does its job well. Downloading and installing drivers with the software is a cinch and often takes just minutes (or less). IObit has also thoughtfully included restore points and an ignore list, two essential features every driver manager must have. Though hardly innovative, Driver Booster is free, simple, capable and quick; what more could you ask for?