Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

More on hardware drivers

March 16, 2009 4 comments

The drivers that you see on Gateway’s, Dell’s, HP’s, et al, are only the drivers that the OEM took the time to test and approve.  Frequently, they never get around to testing/approving drivers that the hardware manufacturer publishes for their products.   That’s why, when you run into issues, you may need to go directly to the hardware maker for more current drivers.

As I said in my original review of DriverMax, I’ve run into problems with Adobe’s software that were only resolved with driver updates that Dell hadn’t “approved” yet.  Since DriverMax seems to have the most current drivers, it will be the utility that I’m using for now. 

The drivers that DriverMax recommends don’t work 100% of the time – sometimes you have to revert to the previous driver.  One huge advantage that RadarSync has is that it prompts you to create a system restore point before installing the driver update.  I wish DriverMax did that because I frequently forget to do that.  So far I’ve been lucky and haven’t needed it, but there’s going to be a day that I’ll regret not having that restore point.

With all that said, I only install the computer OEM drivers unless there are issues (usually video) that need to be resolved.  Although I’m using DriverMax on any computer with CS4 installed on it.

Categories: Tips, Troubleshooting

RadarSync vs DriverMax

March 13, 2009 7 comments

I finally had time to try out RadarSync this morning and there are pluses and minuses:

+ It finds updates to software as well as hardware.  Drivermax only does hardware.

+ It doesn’t appear to require registration for the free version.

+/- It downloads the driver updates to separate folders that you need to open and run the update manually.  An advantage to this method is that you can copy the folder to a central location so you can update multiple machines with the same hardware/software.

The major minus that I found was that while RadarSync found an update for the video and sound card, DriverMax found an additional, more current, update for the video card, and it also found major updates to the chipset and SATA system as well as a minor update to the NIC.

In the final analysis, I have to go with DriverMax.  I’m not too concerned with most software updates – I’m much more concerned with getting the hardware drivers current.  The concern with DriverMax is the registration requirement.  If that bothers you, then use a knock-off email address to register and you should be ok. 

It’s been about three weeks, and as far as I can tell, I haven’t been inundated with spam from the DriverMax publisher, Innovative Solutions.  I do receive a newsletter from them, I believe weekly, but there’s an opt-out option that I haven’t taken advantage of yet.

Categories: Tips, Troubleshooting

Hardware Driver Updates via DriverMax

March 5, 2009 4 comments

I’ve been trying out the “free” DriverMax program to update hardware drivers and so far it’s been outstanding!

The reason I tried it is that I had some serious issues with Adobe’s CS4 and Acrobat programs with some Dell computers at a client’s office.  After trying the normal updates and reinstalls to no avail, I updated all the hardware drivers with DriverMax and the Adobe issues disappeared!

If you try it and like it, let me know – likewise if you find an issue with DriverMax, I’d like to know that as well.

Categories: Tips, Troubleshooting

Vista – no IP from Cisco router

February 2, 2009 Leave a comment

What if your Vista computer can’t get an IP address from a non-Microsoft DHCP server?

At my client’s sites, I’ve run into an issue twice now with a Cisco T-1 line router; Vista refuses to acquire an IP address from the router’s DHCP server.

It turns out to be a modification in the operating system’s DHCP Broadcast flag setting.  It changed from XP to Vista, from being disabled to being required.

The fix is pretty simple, once you find it:

In the registry,

  • Locate and then click the following registry subkey:


    In this registry path, click the (GUID) subkey that corresponds to the network adapter that is connected to the network.

  • On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  • In the New Value #1 box, type DhcpConnEnableBcastFlagToggle, and then press ENTER.
  • Right-click DhcpConnEnableBcastFlagToggle, and then click Modify.
  • In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.

    Categories: Tips

    Bye Bye x86!!!

    January 10, 2009 Leave a comment

    The final reason for keeping my old 32-bit WinXP machine around has been eliminated!  Neatco has finally released the 64-bit version of their software.


    If you’re not familiar with NeatReceipts, check it out.  It’s the best way of organizing and storing receipts and documents.  Great for submitting expense reports!

    Categories: Tips

    Vista gadgets filling out

    November 22, 2008 Leave a comment

    One that I’m definitely going to be including on my clients’ desktops from now on is the Office Tips and Tricks gadget!

    image image

    Categories: Tips

    Video card for the Optiplex 755

    November 7, 2008 Leave a comment

    If you ordered one of those low profile Optiplex or some other low profile PCIe desktop PC, and later on the client decides they want a second monitor, you’ll need to buy just the right video card.  The wrong model won’t work or will not fit the tight space.

    It’s very difficult finding this stuff via the website and Dell’s after-market ordering process is not fun.  To save you some time, here’s the correct part:


    Part #A1350914

    Categories: Tips