6 software and driver update utilities compared

If you dismissed update utilities as something only for home users (as I did until recently), now might be the time to take a second look.

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Next step, installing: Since installing a dozen (or more) drivers in one session would be risky, you'll have to install each driver individually.

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It's sort of painful to walk through the setup routine for each driver but UpdateStar Driver helps you a lot in getting organized and seeing at a glance all of the drivers that need updating. No more going through device manager or driver websites to check for updates.

Scorecard: Driver detection: 5/5 stars User interface/ease-of-use: 4/5 stars

DriverUpdate

Price: $29.97/year Trial: Download here DriverUpdate is the only real alternative to UpdateStar Drivers (believe me, I've tried many). Its UI is highly user-friendly and the welcome screen gives you a good idea about whether your drivers need updating:

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Once the (quick) scan is complete, DriverUpdate presents you with easy-to-understand status updates, ranging from "Latest" to "Old" to "Ancient".

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As with UpdateStar Drivers, each driver has to be downloaded individually, but this is to be expected. And as I mentioned above, you shouldn't take the risk of updating 10 drivers in one go anyway. That's the recipe for a non-bootable system.

DriverUpdate detected 17 out-of-date drivers, whereas UpdateStar found a bit more -- DriverUpdate didn't recognize that there was an update available for my Logitech gamepad as well as for the WiFi-adapter. For a paid product, they definitely need to extend their database. (Hint: Try out the free version, Slim Drivers, which lacks the automated update feature, but gives you a glimpse of what devices it recognizes.)

Scorecard: Driver detection: 3.5/5 stars User interface/ease-of-use: 4/5 stars

Conclusion

As I said upfront, there is no perfect software updater. But UpdateStar is the best of the bunch, thanks to its massive database and well-structured UI. If you can deal with good, but not perfect, program detection, Ninite Updater comes in at a close second. Its silent installer and largely ad-free approach give it a huge plus over the competition.

The two driver updaters on this list are almost equally good, although UpdateStar detected more out-of-date drivers. Again, its well-maintained database set it apart.

Do you use software and driver update utilities? What is your favorite update tool?

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