Which Is Worse: Driver Updater Programs or Malware?

By | January 31, 2017
Print pagePDF page

Which Is Worse: Driver Updater Programs or Malware?

This question crossed my mind this morning as I was working on 2 different PCs, owned by 2 different people, in 2 different countries, who both were experiencing some really bad Windows problems. What did these two PCs have in common?

These two  PCs had one thing in common – they both were using driver updater programs.

Darcy and I have been using Windows since Windows 3.1 (yes, there was such a thing), and we can’t ever remember a time when driver updater programs were necessary. Then again, Windows was pretty bad back in the Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME era, so perhaps they may have been of some use in those days. Back in the day, we used to keep our fingers crossed every morning when we booted up our PCs. There was better than a 50/50 chance they wouldn’t boot. And if our PCs would not boot, we knew we would have to spend the next 2 or 3 days reinstalling Windows and getting everything back up and running again. But, you back then you got used to it and expected it. So we had all our floppy disks (remember those?) and CDs (yes,Windows used to fit on a CD) ready to go for the reincarnation of Windows and getting our PC working again.

I can remember (and so can Darcy) that, back in those days, the hardest part of getting Windows working right again was getting back online – particularly Windows 95. But all that being said, I don’t think either of us recall ever needing a driver updater — even back in those dark ages of Windows.

We can tell you with much certainty, that from Windows XP through Windows 10, driver updaters have been among the most often downloaded and among the most useless programs on the Web.

I digress.

The two computers I referenced at the beginning of this article, although located in different parts of the world and owned by two different people, both had problems caused by driver updaters as well as malware. And even those two, the driver updaters and the malware are related Many so-called “free” driver updates, are “free” because they come bundled with all manner of malware. So, I was pretty sure that some or most of the malware on these to PCs came from malware bundled with the driver updater software.

Driver updaters are not only worthless, they can and do cause problems with Windows PCs.

First of all, you don’t need a driver updater to tell you that you need a new driver. The only time you ever need to update a driver or drivers is if a hardware device (printer, sound, etc.) is not working correctly. Installing new drivers just because new drivers are available, is unnecessary, and can be a recipe for disaster.

If you have a hardware device that is not working properly,  you can get the correct driver from the device’s manufacturer. When you visit the hardware device manufacturer’s website, make sure you know the version of Windows you’re using and the name / model of your hardware device. Then download and install the correct driver directly from the manufacturer.

If you’re not having any problems with your hardware devices, there’s no reason to update your drivers – even if new drivers may be available.

Don’t be tempted to  install a driver updater because you think it’s going to make your computer run better or it’s going to make it easier for you to keep your drivers updated. Driver updaters are unnecessary and many times can cause problems with your PC.

Remember: In the world of computer software, less is often more.

So, be smart and leave those driver updaters alone, we tells ya!


Help us keep up the good fight!

Donations help us continue our mission to keep you informed, separate the truth from the hyperbole, and help you stay safer online. We provide support to thousands of people. Every week we help dozens of people via email at no charge. Thanks to donations, we do a lot more than provide this free newsletter. We help you recognize online threats, fight for your online privacy, and provide you with the knowledge you need to navigate the Web safely, and help you get more out of your PC.

Help us keep up the good fight with a small donation.

It’s the beginning of a new year, and we really need your support.  We hope you’ll take a few minutes today and help us with a small donation. 

After you donate, you will receive info on how you can become a Cloudeight Booster.

Help us keep up the good fight with a small donation.

We would really appreciate it.

10 thoughts on “Which Is Worse: Driver Updater Programs or Malware?

  1. LIBBY RORKE

    I DON’T BELIEVE I HAVE ANY UPDATER PROGRAM OTHER THAN THE STANDARD BUILT IN ONE WITH WINDOWS. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT OR TIME I WANT TO TURN OFF MY COMPUTER, I HAVE THE UPDATE MESSAGE AND I CANNOT SHUT OFF MY COMPUTER WITHOUT IT DOING UPDATES. EVEN IF I HAVE GONE INTO THE “NEW UPDATES ARE AVAILABLE” IN THE TRAY. DRIVES ME NUTS!!! COURSE THAT’S NOT A LONG TRIP!!!! GRRRRRRRRR.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      I am not aware that Windows has updates every night. In fact, I’m 100% sure they don’t. The only thing I can guess is that you have updates waiting to be installed and they are never successfully installed. Windows does not have daily updates.

      Reply
  2. LIBBY RORKE

    PS. I KNOW I WASN’T DISCUSSING UPDATING DRIVERS, BUT AT THIS POINT I DETEST DAILY UPDATING. JUST A PET PEEVE.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      What do you mean by daily updating. What updates daily other than your antivirus?

      Reply
  3. Linda Brunetto

    I am running Windows 10 on a Dell computer about 3 years old. It runs very well. A Dell update keeps popping up
    telling me to install the Dell driver update. I keep telling it to remind me later. Is that also something that should not be done?

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      Hi Linda,

      The article is discussing free download updater programs that are so prevalent on the Web, it does not have anything to do with Dell updates or Windows updates. If everything is running well, I wouldn’t download the Dell update.

      Reply
  4. Arnie Brown

    BELIVE IT OR NOT FOLKS.
    There is a “START DOWNLOAD UPDATE” listed on your Cloudeight Info Ave. newletter dated yesterday Jan 31, sent by “Driverup date.net” I had a look at it and they told me that I have 13 outdated items on my system. I DID NOT GO any further. NOW YOU TELL ME “JUST SAY NO” ,,…and I did. Are you aware that these folks are doing this???
    ONE OLD GROUCH from Nova Scotia.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      We have covered this dozens of times: You must be able to tell what is an advertisement and what is content or you’re bound to get in to trouble.

      On our site, ads help us pay the bills – and trust us – they pay only a small fraction of the bills, still we need ads to survive. We keep all our ads to the right and away from the content, but not every site does so.

      Ad versus content

      Reply
  5. Gail Bartley

    Love you two for answering a question I haven’t even asked yet.

    Reply
  6. Sue

    My first experience was on windows 3.1. after the first time I started using the internet and I received my first phone bill I almost had a heart attack. They finally agreed to discount it 50%. I changed my type of phone service and once again lived to get on the internet. It was so fascinating at that time. A whole new world out there. That was probably about 1995, maybe 94. I’m now too old to remember for sure now.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *