Friday, August 03, 2007

Driver Magician Lite Review

I must admit I really haven't been into loading a whole bunch of applications into Vista (XP is another story), as I have a hard drive that's quite limited on space. (20GB for Vista) However I guess now is a good time to start, and half the point of the reviews is to archive the applications so that I may download them again at a future date.

The first in a set of reviews is for an application called "Driver Magician Lite". What it basically does, is look through your device list, locate the drivers to said devices, shows wether or not the driver is installed in your operating system by default, and if it isn't, clearly marks it so that you could easily backup the drivers for the device. The application comes in two flavors, the "lite" version, which is freeware, and the full version, which requires purchasing in order to get the full use of the download. This review will focus on the "lite" version, since the full version requires a payment of 29.95 to use fully.

When the application is first loaded up onto the computer, you're presented with a list of hardware that's currently installed on the machine. As said earlier, the application clearly marks which drivers that come pre-installed on the Windows machine. The application window itself is quite clean, broken down into several groups, "Driver Description, Class, Version, Date, Provider." Unfortunately, when one attempts to resize the application window itself, it bugs and distorts, then jolts back to it's original size. Also, clicking on the top category name will result in, well, nothing at all, it doesn't sort the application names out in any shape or form. There is also, as stated earlier, a box just below the driver list which gives detailed information of the specific driver. Below that, in the "lite" version, is a list of three options.

Start Backup ~ Which allows you to easily backup the drivers you selected in the driver list.

Select All ~ Self-explanatory.

About ~ Pretty self explanatory as well. (See screenshot below)

After choosing Star Backup, you're presented with a Browse for Folder window, which, quite honestly, is lacking the "Create Folder" option, which could have been quite handy for this type of application. If you haven't created a folder before hand, you'll have to hit Cancel, and create one, then go back into "Backup". For this I've chosen the only two drivers that do not come included with Vista, the application places the drivers into two clearly labeled folders.

Honestly, the application is quite handy once you get past the many UI bugs, could save some time and trouble, however, it isn't completely useful in my case, since the only two drivers that are not included can easily be installed by ATi/AMD's driver installer. However, for those with a huge list of drivers that need to be installed, it saves quite a bit of time. The full version, which carries the price tag of $29.95 USD, includes the ability to restore the hardware from those backed up drivers. As well as many other features that are not found in the "lite" version.

Drive Magician Homepage

I apologize for the un-professional look of this blog entry, blogger's interface is as ugly and hard to deal with as Geocities's old "Create a Website" feature. You get this TINY little box to edit and write posts, of which I could have completely ignored and used Windows Live Writer to post with, if Google hadn't locked image uploading.. -End of angry rant-


Anonymous said...

Informative review =)
Saved about a weeks worth of driver hunting after I reformatted my laptop.

(I hate acer customized hardware...)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, much appriciated and good find!