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Helpware: SlimDrivers program throws curveballs

This news story was published on September 30, 2012.
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By Noah Matthews, McClatchy-Tribune News Service –

“Tired of spending hours updating your PC?”

Good question. The answer promised to be a free download of SlimDrivers (http:///, which promises to scan your Windows PC, find outdated drivers and replace them with current ones. Drivers, you may recall, are the bits of software code that govern how your PC’s devices, such as the monitor, should work.

It found two sets of outdated drivers on my PC, since two back-to-back scans delivered two different results. It took many minutes to download the drivers (while a nag screen touted its $30 version). Even then it refused to install some of the drivers, telling me that the hardware components it had found with outdated drivers didn’t actually exist on my PC. I checked; they do exist.

Each time I updated a driver, I was asked if I wanted to create a restore point, which probably is the strongest component of SlimDrivers. I wouldn’t dream of letting this software touch my system without a restore point, which would let me revert my PC to a state before it had installed the new driver. That is, if it correctly identified the hardware it was intended to have updated.

The program’s manufacturer promises 24/7 phone support, but when I called the toll-free number, I was told that I actually hadn’t reached the folks who produce SlimDrivers. Instead, I would have to send an email to another company. At that point, I gave up.

Software that updates device drivers provides a convenient way to keep a PC running smoothly. The wrong driver can make a monitor, for example, function oddly or not at all. But this software isn’t the answer, especially after I grew tired of spending hours updating my PC.

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