Musings of a PC

Thoughts about Windows, TV and technology in general

Unexpected benefit of rebuilding a PC

For most users, the longer you use a PC, the more out of date the drivers get because – let’s face it – hardware drivers aren’t normally the sort of thing you generally update. Applications, yes. Hardware drivers, not so often.

That sort of thing happens normally when you rebuild a PC, and this was certainly true for me when I decided to rebuild my Dell Precision 690. This is my dual-boot XP/Vista system – XP for video editing and Vista for day-to-day work. The release of Adobe CS4 and the new Matrox RT.X2 drivers have prompted me to do a complete overhaul and reinstall Vista for the day-to-day work and move to Vista 64-bit for video editing. The approach I have taken is to install the new day-to-day Vista over the XP partition as I can then flip between the two “day-to-day” partitions and then, when I’m happy I’ve got that right, wipe the old “day-to-day” partition and install Vista 64.

Back to the driver upgrade … selecting the latest and greatest stuff off the Dell support web site gave me an unexpected but very welcome improvement to the system. The Precision 690 has a multi-format card reader and so far, each of the sockets presents an ordinary-looking removable drive icon. This makes it hard to know which drive to click on. That has now all been fixed! The latest firmware for the card reader and the latest driver presents different icons and names for each card socket, making it perfectly clear which driver letter goes with which card:

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So if you’ve got hardware in your PC like a card reader, why not go and see if there is a firmware update or a driver update. You never know – you too might get a feature improvement!

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