SlimWare's products use a combination cloud and crowd-sourcing input to guide their tools' decisions and recommendations for user hardware and software configurations, "to gather input from IT professionals and make unique, personalized decisions that improve a consumer’s computer hardware and software configurations."
"All of our applications talk to the cloud," said Cope. "We aggregate the configurations of computers that use our software, to build a database of what's in use. The configuration data helps us know what motherboards have what drivers installed, for example, so we can recommend the optimum configuration."
Additionally, according to Cope, "We repackage the drivers inside our cloud, so a user doesn't have to sort out whether they've found the 32-bit versus 64-bit driver, or find and download drivers from multiple sources. Our system finds and installs the proper driver, and while one driver is being installed, it's working on the next one, which also removes risk of installing the wrong driver, or in the wrong order."
Both SlimDrivers and DriverUpdate scan a computer for missing, broken or out-of-date drivers or missing components, identifying when a driver needs updating and the proper executable for a system, along with updates for software like Adobe, Java and Microsoft Windows.
Rathbone pointed out, "Software companies do a fairly good job pushing through new patches. But most hardware companies just post the new driver on their website. The only people taking advantage of the updates are those few who know where to look."
SlimDrivers manually downloads updated drivers. DriverUpdate does the download automatically. "SlimDrivers provides a more self-directed experience for tech-savvy IT users," according to the company. "DriverUpdate automatically starts the installation process for multiple drivers, allowing users to update all their drivers software simultaneously."
It can take hours to manually download and install drivers," noted Cope. The tools include backup and restore features for drivers and settings, allowing the user to revert to previous configurations.
While Windows 7 does perform some driver updates automatically, "You're still limited by what Microsoft has in its database, and many companies still have legacy hardware," said Cope.
In addition, they both implement the latest developments in analysis technology, coordinating checks with the Windows Device Manager, Windows System Manager and Windows Update Online.
SlimDrivers and DriverUpdate work with Windows XP, Vista and 7.
Both products are available for download from the company's website. SlimDrivers is available free; DriverUpdate costs $29.97 for a one-year subscription.