Computer Help Forum
Should drivers be updated?
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Should I keep my computer up to date by installing the latest drivers?

The answer is a qualified NO.  If your system is working fine, leave it alone.

If you run an audit software package or a PC cleaner program it may well tell that your drivers are out of date.  This does not mean that your driver is wrong for your PC.  It only means that the manufacturer/supplier has released a later version of the driver.  This might be because the hardware has been redesigned and includes new chips so the new driver is issued for those who have the new hardware.  The new driver might have backward compatibilty and work with your hardware, in which case it should work.  However there is serious risk that this could create further problems.

Very often computer repairers will start by wanting to update drivers.  This is because they are fed up with people plugging new hardware in and expecting it to work without installing the new driver that came with it.  So unless you have done this, look for other things first.  The first question to ask is what has changed recently?  Have I installed new software?  Have I changed a configuration?  It is good practice to keep a diary for significant changes to your computer as it can be some time later that it becomes apparent you are getting regular problems that you didn't use to have.

If you are getting problems, particularly with a specific piece of hardware then you should investigate if a driver update will fix it, but before installing a new driver that didn't come with your original set up, take a back up so that you can reverse the change if it makes things worse.

Sometimes the early releases of drivers have bugs and the supplier will release an update to fx this.  In such cases you should apply the latest driver.  The supplier should have information about this on his website, unfortunately this is not always the case.

January 4th 2020

I have an old Dell Optiplex 745 running Windows 10

Processor Intel Pentium D CPU
64 bit x64 based processor
Display adaptor Intel Q965/Q963 Express Chipset Family

I still use Windows Live Mail, and although I know that it is no longer supported, it suits my needs and I am reluctant to change.  Following recent W10 updates the display in Live Mail is distorted.  There are several complaints on the internet from users with a similar problem.  My old laptop isnít showing the same problem.  Live Mail is fine.  Following your comments I am reluctant to press the Driver Update icon in device manager, although there is an icon labelled Driver Roll Back if the update goes wrong.

Should I go ahead and attempt a driver update.  I would be grateful for your advice.

Richard January 16 2020

This is a perennial problem with Microsoft, either through poor mangement or possibly worse, by design, they fail to maintain backwards compatibilty on updates.  Their answer is update to the latest version which means replacing Windows Live mail with their latest Mail client whatever that is.  This would be ok apart from cost of new licenses and their habit of leaving useful features out of new versions. For that reason I do not use Microsoft's mail offering but Google instead.  They are not quite so bad as they are more aware of the need to keep the customer base happy.

My advice was a warning not to jump in and update drivers when you are not having problems.  In your case you are, so a driver update might be the solution.  Unfortunately without the internal hardware specs for the display adapter, the driver API and the source code of the Windows live client it is impossible to debug this problem other than the "suck it and see" method.  Normally you should report this back to the developer who has access to all this and could sort it out, but their response would just be "no longer supported".

The fact that you are not getting a similar problem on your other laptop and that the problems started following a Windows update do point to a driver problem being a possibility.  What might have happened is that driver was updated and included a new or changed API and being proper programmers they maintained the old API compatibilty so that existing software would still work.  Then along come Microsoft with an update to Windows and decided to use the new API (but made no provision for those who still have the old driver).  This is only a guess, but would explain your symptoms.

So yes I woould try updating the driver.  You were right to be cautious however.  As an extra precaution you could try and identify your driver file (filename and location) and take a copy in case the roll back feature doesn't work as it should.

January 20th 2020

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