Uniblue DriverScanner 2009

Reviewed by: Mark Goldstein , December 2009
Published by: Uniblue
Requires: Pentium 4 or faster(?!), Windows XP or Vista 32-bit (not that we'd like to try running XP or Vista on a Pentium 4), Windows 7
MSRP: US$39.95 (US$29.95 direct)

DriverScanner is designed to scan a PC and report which device drivers need updating. The DriverScanner utility also downloads required drivers and installs them if you set it up to do so. For all of those people wondering about occasional laptop and desktop PC lock-ups, crashes and slow downs, note that out-of-date and/or buggy drivers can often be the main cause of your PC or laptop grief.

Uniblue has been quietly poking away at the successful development of a number of interesting and useful software utilities over the past few years. Uniblue has also been working hard to make its PowerSuite product a truly comprehensive set of PC maintenance utilities (it consists of Registry Booster, SpeedUpMyPC and DriverScanner). Not everybody needs or wants a utility suite however, so Uniblue also offers DriverScanner 2009 as a standalone utility.


So why should you, with your busy business or home computers, and peer-to-peer or server-based network, care about anything like DriverScanner? The simple answer is that every time Microsoft updates Windows in any significant way with it's monthly operating system patches downloaded and installed on your computers, there's a chance that a driver incompatibility will occur. Frankly, Microsoft does a very good job of testing thousands upon thousands of printer drivers, video card drivers, sound card drivers, screen drivers, USB drivers, FireWire drivers, network card drivers, Bluetooth drivers, WiFi card drivers, CD/DVD (optical) drivers, and on and on. But every so often, disaster strikes and some piece of hardware stops working properly after a Windows update. As well, using a particular driver long enough may sometimes reveal a rare flaw in an otherwise decent driver of some sort. More important, the manufacturers of all the aforementioned devices are constantly updating their drivers to anticipate changes to Windows and to squash bugs in their drivers. The point is that for any of us to find the time and energy needed to regularly and systematically track down any and all available driver updates for everything percolating along in each of our computers, we'd have to be superhuman. It just can't be done. Obviously, there's good reason for DriverScanner to exist.

We installed DriverScanner on half a dozen Windows XP, Vista (both somewhat unstable PCs) and Windows 7 machines running a variety of CPUs (including the latest i7 chips). No problems and no instabilities — DriverScanner is a relatively simple utility. It scans your system to create and track a list of all installed drivers, backs up all of your drivers if you so choose, restores drivers if you so choose, and can be set to automatically download updates for any drivers currently installed in your system. You can choose which updated drivers to install at your convenience. The DriverScanner interface is easy to understand and provides a set of tabs — one for each control set (Overview, Scan, Backup, Restore and Settings).

That's about it. DriverScanner is a useful little utility which will from time to time help you avoid the sort of driver crashes and system instabilities caused by out of date drivers which leave millions of Windows computer users scratching their heads in confusion every day. The two Windows Vista systems we used for testing in our research offices still sport DriverScanner because the utility did a good enough job on the two machines to stabilize them.

Cons: The tabbed DriverScanner interface, while relatively straightforward, does require users to have a reasonably thorough knowledge of the PC running the software. There's no real online help system within the utility, so we advise hitting the Uniblue or LIUtilities web site to read the help pages. For some reason, an obvious DVD driver update for a late model LG optical drive didn't get picked up by DriverScanner. That's going to happen even with a dedicated utility like DriverScanner — there are just too many devices out there.

Pros: It works! While we didn't delve into updates for every single driver in each of the PCs on which we tested DriverScanner, everything we touched worked just fine. Printer drivers updates from Epson and HP were tracked and downloaded, nVidia video card driver updates were no problem, and so on. We think DriverScanner makes a good addition to any set of system maintenance utilities. Run DriverScanner once per month on all your Windows computers to ensure you're using the latest (non-beta) drivers and you're likely to improve system stability and reliability. Recommended.

KSN Product Rating:



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