Archive for the ‘Ask DriverGuide’ Category

What can DriverGuide do better?

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

We at DriverGuide try very hard to create the best driver, firmware, and support site out there, but it can be difficult to find the right balance giving our users the ideal user experience and giving us the opportunity to earn the  revenue we need to pay the bills.  So we’d like to open the floor and listen to what you our users have to say.  What would you like us to improve on?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

Does my computer model matter with DriverGuide Scan?

Friday, March 5th, 2010

When I use the DriverGuide Scan I get results for drivers which are NOT for the model of computer that was scanned.  Why is this?

Most drivers are not specific to a model of computer since the same devices (and chipsets) are found in multiple models by multiple manufacturers. A bluetooth driver for a Dell Inspiron may be the same as in a Toshibe Satellite. For this reason, our DriverGuide Scan doesn’t focus on matching up drivers by model of computer since that’s not the most relevant criteria. We focus on matching up the hardware ids coded into the actual devices, and base compatibility on that and the device manufacturer.  We also use the compatibility ids (also coded into the devices) since drivers are often compatible with multiple versions and incarnations of the same device. An HP Photosmart 7550 driver works on an HP Photosmart 7100 printer as well. So, we also look at these compatibility ids and use a formula based on what Windows itself uses to determine the likelihood of compatibility. We then present you with those updates most compatible with your device.

There are some very rare cases where driver data supplied by manufacturers is wrong and this could be wrongly reported to you as an update; we collect user feedback and able to filter those out.  We always recommend reasonable caution when trying out a driver (set a restore point, perhaps make a backup, know how to use safe mode, etc.).  Drivers rarely cause trouble, but when they do, it can be very frustrating.

Quinxy

Note: This article was based on a member question, but their original question was reworded.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

I try to sign up and it says I already have.

Monday, July 18th, 2005

I try to sign up and it says I already have. I don’t think I have. What do I do? Ed P.

Ed,

In your case, and every other case we’ve come across where someone has reported this problem, you actually did sign up, but it was so long ago you presumably forgot. Our records show you signed up with our new system on November 4th, 2004. Since then you may have been using the old system login and therefore not using your new account, but it was there the whole time. And the system shows that you validated the account, which indicates you received the confirmation e-mail, and clicked the link inside of it. So, unless a family member or coworker shares your e-mail address, it must be you. Presumably you’ve forgotten your password, which is no problem, all you need to do to access your account is click this link and you’ll be led through the steps to pick a new password.

DG

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

Should I ‘trust’ you?

Monday, July 18th, 2005

Should I ‘trust’ you? I like that you now include a trust rating on your drivers, but I’m not sure at what point I should trust a driver. – Maggie Reuben

Maggie,

There is no simple answer, at least not a complete and simple answer.

Most people would feel comfortable downloading a driver from a manufacturer’s website (or trusted site). There is a still a chance that the manufacturer (or trusted site) could accidentally have a virus infected file on their webserver (it has happened before), but those odds are very tiny. So, at the most basic level, if you see a driver comes from a manufacturer’s site (or a “trusted site”) then you should probably feel very, very comfortable.

Slightly less safe are files uploaded by trusted users. We do trust those users, and there is good reason to. They’ve been given strict instructions about what sites/files to trust. And they have proved to us in the past that they’ve observed those instructions. But, because humans are more involved in the process, this is one notch less secure than a file coming from a trusted site. Still, you should feel very comfortable with a file coming from a trusted user.

Beyond this, it’s more difficult to say what you should trust, it really depends on the type of person you are, what your comfort zone is. Most people feel comfortable downloading from shareware/freeware sites, so long as those sites have a rating/comment mechanism where people can report problems. If you’re one of those people, then the same rules would apply to us. If you see a file has been downloaded 10,000 times and no one has commented about it having a virus or malware, then it’s extremely, extremely unlikely that it would. On the other hand, if the file has only been downloaded 10 times, perhaps you’d feel more comfortable if other people tried it first. That’s a personal choice, and we certainly can’t make that determination for you. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

And just a reminder, every file we have is routinely virus scanned with the latest virus definitions. This will eliminate all common threats and many uncommon ones, providing you very good protection. But no anti-virus program can guarantee to protect you from every conceivable threat. You should make sure you have your own anti-virus software installed, and you should backup your computer as often as your situation warrants. Hard drives fail, computers crash, and viruses infect.

If you’re looking for a simple answer, and feel like you’re too much of a novice to make any complicated decisions/choices, then just keep in mind that the vast majority of users on the ‘net would feel comfortable downloading drivers from trusted sites and trusted users.

DG

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

I’ve been with DriverGuide 3 years, why do I need to sign up again?

Friday, June 10th, 2005

I’ve been with DriverGuide 3 years, why do I need to sign up again?~Just1N

You’ve probably already seen the official notice, which is why you ask, but we’ll repeat it here before going any further:

As part of our site-wide upgrades, we’ve installed a new user login and signup system. This new system will add a great many features allowing us to customize your experience of the site, including such things as keeping track of the devices you have, searches you’ve performed, etc.

We were not able to import your original signup information, because we kept some of the data securely encrypted in a manner which is not compatible with the new system. We take efforts to protect your privacy, and must, herefore ask you to go through the sign up process again so that our system can create your new account. We apologize for the inconvenience, and trust that you will come to find the moment of annoyance worth it as our many new features come online.

It’s unfortunate that we have to ask people to signup again, but there are plenty of advantages to doing so, and more coming every day. We’ve already begun adding some features to the site that can only be used if you are a member under the new registration system, so we really do recommend people signup now rather than later.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

Do you support Windows x64 and Longhorn?

Friday, June 10th, 2005

Do you support Windows x64 and Longhorn? Fred

Absolutely, but we’re continually evolving and improving that support. Members and techs can currently upload x64 and Longhorn drivers, and can currently search for them. Our toolkit needs some tweaking to fully support x64 and Longhorn and we’re in the process of doing that now.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

Why does your DriverGuide Toolkit need to connect to your server? And what…

Friday, June 3rd, 2005

Why does your DriverGuide Toolkit need to connect to your server? And what is it sending??? jimbo

We occasionally hear from people wondering about this. Perhaps ZoneAlarm or the Windows firewall has popped up an alert. We’ve tried to explain/disclose it pretty well within the toolkit, but for those who might have missed it, there are two primary roles of the toolkit, one off-line and the other on-line. First, it collects/displays the information about the drivers and devices you have installed in your computer; you can then backup/restore your drivers, use the data presented for diagnostic purposes, etc. Second, it (optionally) sends the relevant parts of this device/driver data to our server so that we can find the latest drivers and device information for you. You have to use the toolkit in this way, you can use it entirely off-line, but most people derive the greatest value in the toolkit by allowing it to function on-line.

As for more specifically what data is transferred, the exact nature of the data depends on the operation, but is essentially just the device/driver data (which are not personally identifiable). To prevent abuse we also include an id unique to the toolkit, so that we can reduce piracy/etc. In the future we will also allow you to supply your DriverGuide account information within the toolkit so that we can create new management features on the site, allowing you to be alerted to new drivers without needing to run the toolkit.

All data is transferred via strong encryption.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

Why do you require cookies?

Friday, May 27th, 2005

Why do you require cookies? ANONYMOUS

We get a few such e-mails, so we’ll start by giving a bit of background about cookies, as they are often greatly misunderstood.

Cookies are harmless bits of text stored by your browser in your browser’s temp/cache directory. Our server asks your browser to remember some bit of text (a cookie), and your browser then sends that same bit of text (cookie) to us when you visit our site again. The cookies are generally used to provide personalization of web pages. A cookie can be used to store such things as the last 5 searches you did (so you can redo them) or your encrypted user id (so we know you are logged in, and who you are).

While cookies are themselves harmless, in the past they have been abused by some prevalent internet advertising companies, who (because of having their advertising banners on large numbers of sites) have been able to connect your visit to one site with your visit to another site (where they have advertising) and in this way develop a “profile” of you. This privacy issue is quite reasonably a concern. Fortunately, the web browsers released for the last several years provide protection for this type of third-party cookie abuse, as well as giving you control over which sites you allow to use cookies. It is therefore appropriate to now require the use of cookies to access the members areas of our site.

On a technical level, cookies are a practical necessity for web page personalization (which includes login/authorization management). Web browsers do not by design send web servers anything uniquely identifiable that allows us to accurately/effortlessly remember from one request to another who a user is. One mechanism for doing this before and since cookies has been to create a server-side “session id”, which is then passed around through every single link and every single form post. This accomplishes the same end as cookies, but it is a chain very easily broken, since every single link/form needs to be dynamically generated to include this session id. This is an approach which requires more programming resources to implement and maintain, and which is less reliable than cookies. We cannot rewrite every application (including third-party applications) that we use on our site to keep this chain in tact. And any attempt to guess the session based on the browser headers to reconnect the chain if broken is risky (both because it may not work and also because it may accidentally think one person is another person), because of request aggregation through big proxies like AOL, Earthlink, MSN, etc. and because of the privacy software often used by those who block cookies.

We have looked into this matter long and hard and have resisted requiring cookies as long as possible. We now feel, though, that the use of cookies no longer represents the same risk to privacy it once did, because of the large number of users who have current browsers which reduce the threat, because of the existant ability to allow/disallow cookies by site, and because of the wide usage of privacy software programs.

We track the number of users who have cookie settings which need to be modified to access our site, it is roughly 0.1% of our users. We ask for their understanding.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay