Driver Updates

Recently I’ve been seeing the BSOD on a daily basis (9F = power driver failure coming out of standby and then C9 when I used the verifier). I have a Dell Latitude E5410. The problems have manifested themselves by mouse freezes, network not working and bluetooth not working when coming out of sleep/standby mode. Working for a big company I know it is not the hardware, as they were able to swap my hard drive into new hardware.

I’ve been looking at windbg and verifier.exe to help me out (more on that later). From those, I know that problems have been in: walvhid.sys, formerly known as vhidmini.sys and part of Windows (R) Win 7 DDK driver Longhorn. Unfortunately, I cannot find the original download for this. However, from posts I have been reading, it is usually not the windows component, but a third party component sitting on top. So, I went in search of driver updaters, knowing that I had a) at least 1 faulty driver in the virtual hid device area (human interaction), b) some problems with bluetooth especially coming out of standby, c) some problems with USB drivers not always working & needing to reinstall before the drivers worked.

Evaluated software presented in order of my preference:

  1. Driver Easy = free. 196 devices scanned. 13 outdated, 7 missing. Downloads at about 30kb/s. License also covers 3 machines. I liked this. Support pages link broken… but then worked later (http://www.drivereasy.com/supports – not support at end)
  2. Driver Detective / Mender / Medic / Oracle = 150 drivers: 7 out of date, 7 devices no driver, 110 up to date, 26 system drivers. Also detected my latop type (which is reassuring). Note Medic has more awards though than the others.
  3. Slimdrivers = free. Detected the 7 out of date drivers. However, note that after update, bluetooth no longer worked and Driver Detective still showed the same stats as above.
  4. Driver Finder = Good User Interface. identifies computer model. However cannot connect to server and so tells me all my drivers are up to date. Ran again – crashes. Windows applies compatability settings. On starting up again, 11 out of date found. Finds 203 devices. Same web type of web pages as Driver Easy, but 3 machines costs 10 USD more. Support seems better.
  5. Dell Client Systems Update = free, if you can find it. Really useful tool, but takes ages and asks you to reinstall the same patches all the time. More importantly did not fix the problem.
  6. Driver Max = “free”. Seemed pretty good. Identified 7 problems. But takes an age to download (a lot of artificial stops put in here to get you to buy). Can download 2 drivers per day. Strong links into internet.
  7. Device Doctor = free. However only found 1 driver problem – which none of the others identified (so probably a bad thing).
  8. Driver Checker = Found 90 drivers. Identified 1 for install. Fix requires buy.
  9. Driver Genius = 21 critical driver updates (?! – this I do not believe). Scanned 140 drivers. Did not identify the HID. Note same registration as Driver Detective / Mender which I thought was interesting.
  10. Driver Scanner = detected only 1 problem – but did appear to be the right one (USB input device). UniBlue software is a bit in your face though – automatic run on startup, automatic scan on run, etc.
  11. DriverPackSolution = 2Gb download (!?) with torrent = not happy. And then raised exception after scanning. But recognized computer. Tells me drivers are out of date – but does not tell me which. Asks me to download missing driver information, but interface quite hard to easy (mostly in Russian?)
  12. Driver Sweeper = appears to be more for graphic cards
  13. Driver Smith = could not get to website
  14. Driver Updater Pro = recognized 50 drivers – 16 out of date. False recognition of h/w (AMD not Dell).
  15. QuuSoft Driver Smart = same as one of the others above… but not sure which one as download did not work.