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

Dot Net Framework 3.5 SP1 Full Download

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Just try and find this anywhere on Google!!!  What a mess.

Anyway, I’ve found the correct download.  btw, dotnet35.exe is NOT the correct download.  You can install it, but then when you do a Windows Update, yet another .Net 3.5 SP 1 update will be there, just as big.

The correct full install can be found in the “Microsoft Update Catalog“.   Do a search for 951847 and all the 3.5 SP1 downloads will show up.  It’s a bit confusing because there appear to be two identical XP x86 installs.  I think they’re the same.

When you download it, you get a folder with the following files:


The largest is the full install.  The others are merely updates if you already have 2.0 or 3.5 installed.  More confusion here with the filename including “IA64_AMD64” which makes it look like a 64-bit install.  But the file names begin with “X86” so they’re not for x64.

Here’s a direct link to the catalog page:

Update: This update doesn’t seem to work either. I still get the .net 3.5 SP1 220+MB patch required w/Windows Update after installing this one. I have no idea how to properly install this patch without going through WU. 😦

Categories: HowTo

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


    January 20, 2009 Leave a comment

    I was looking up DAT tapes on the OfficeMax site for a client and this is what I was offered as related:



    Categories: Uncategorized

    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