SL User/Age Trends and New Official Instagram Account

Do I Really Need a System Image Backup?

Recently did some Spring house cleaning on my computer the other day, furiously sweeping away the detritus of years of web browsing, software downloads, photo editing, grocery shopping lists, and other geeky pursuits. My hard drive was clean, shiny, and well organized. And then I asked myself ‘How can I keep it this way?’ Read on for the answer to that question, as well as some tips on scrubbing and optimizing your own hard drive…

Clean, Organize and Preserve Your Perfect Hard Drive

The first step in my spring cleaning was to run a deep scan for malware, using both Avast and MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. Fortunately, both of those scans came up clean. Why a “deep scan,” you may ask? That’s because the default behavior of computer security tools is to examine only the most common malware hiding places.

Next, I optimized my system with help from Advanced System Care Ultimate 11, a trusted name that’s getting more ludicrous with each “new, improved” generation. (If you prefer understated numbers, this is version 11.0.1) CCleaner and Privazer are also good options for this optimizing task.

I then poked around for unwanted and duplicate files, and got rid of those. I even deleted windows.old, the file folder that contained my old Windows 7 installation. There’s no going back for me now; it’s Windows 10 or Linux, and I’m not ready to go full Linux. By the way: do not try to delete windows.old with the standard “delete” button, you will find an endless supply of “you do not have permission to delete” blockades in your path. Here is the proper way to erase the windows.old folder

Type “disk cleanup” in Windows’ search box and open that app. Select your Windows 10 drive to clean up and click OK. In the lower-left corner of the screen, click the “clean up system files” button. The refreshed list of files that can be deleted will then include old Windows installation files. You’ll find they can amount to 6 or 8 GB of wasted space, so check the box next to such things and let Cleanup get rid of them.

After all that, I organized all my data files in neat, clearly labeled folder trees. Finally, my PC’s hard drive was a model of tidiness and efficiency! Everything ran faster; not just a little faster but “holy cow, what have I been missing!” faster. And then I had a sad thought.

“Sigh. If only it would stay this way,” I mused, remembering my high school chemistry lesson on the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a nutshell, it states that chaos will inevitably creep in with every passing second. All systems tend to go from order to disorder. In the world of your computer, this happens as a result of web browsing, installing, using and removing software, and keeping your operating system current with updates. There are ill-behaved apps that make changes to the registry and leave unneeded files laying around. Malware is constantly looking for new attack vectors. Power glitches may cause unexpected shutdowns that damage open files. Hardware failures (sometimes subtle) are not uncommon. One very smart friend of mine who designs electronic equipment tells me that even cosmic rays can twiddle the bits in your files, causing data corruption.

A Forehead Smack

All of that is what keeps computer software developers in business. But still, if only I could always have this perfect hard drive… Then it hit me… “Hey, wait a minute, I CAN keep my hard drive perfect forever!” I suddenly realized in one of those forehead-smacking “Eureka!” moments that consisted of two words: SYSTEM IMAGE!

A system image file is a type of backup, and can be thought of like a ZIP file, which is a single file that contains the contents of multiple files. A system image file is also like a bucket of sand. Copies of EVERY file on your hard drive, including hidden system files you never see, are simply poured bit by bit into the system image file. You cannot (easily) retrieve a specific file from a system image file. But you can have an exact duplicate of your perfectly organized and optimized hard drive, forever, and you can restore your hard drive to exactly that perfect state at any time.

Of course, a system image file does not contain any new files added to your hard drive after the system image was created, nor does it reflect any future modifications to the data it contains.

A system image file is a much better place from which to start re-installing Windows than your older Windows installation disc or even the latest version of Windows 10 installed by the Microsoft Media Creation Tool. That’s because your system image file is more current than the one on the Windows installation disc, and more customized for you than the one created by the Media Creation Tool.

A huge plus is that your system image file includes all of your application software and personal data! When a system image file is restored to your hard drive, everything will be there and work just as it did before whatever calamity forced you to restore from a system image file.

Ready to Make a System Image?

I hope you are now eager, or at least willing, to create a system image file. Here is what we are going to do:

Find a place to put our system image file. As a temporary test case, you can store the system image file on the same hard drive as the source drive, but if that drive fails then your system image goes away along with the source. A second internal hard drive, or an external hard drive is the best option, but a USB flash drive of sufficient capacity will also do. I do not recommend a series of DVD discs; you’ll be stuck at the keyboard, swapping and labeling and trying to keep discs in order for an hour or more. The other options let you go watch a ball game while the system image file is created in one unattended operation.

Find and launch the “system image creation” app. For some reason, Microsoft hides it; typing “system image” in Windows’ search box will not produce the app you need. So open Control Panel; in the top-left corner, in the “System and Security” section, you will see “Backup and Restore (Windows 7).” Click on that link and then on “Create a system image” on the next page. (Yes, the Windows 10 system image app is the same one used since the feature was introduced in Windows 7.) If you’re still using Windows 7, you’ll find the “Create a system image” link by clicking “Back up your computer” on the Control Panel screen.

Follow the app’s prompts to start the creation of a system image file. Mine ended up being about 60 GB and the whole process took a bit over an hour. Your time will depend on how much data you have, the speed of your source and target drives and the connection between them, and whether you try to get work done while the system image file is being created (not recommended).

Let me pause here for a moment and mention that you can also create a system image file using third-party backup utilities. I use Macrium Reflect, but there are other tools for this task, including EaseUS Todo Backup Free and AOMEI Backupper.

When the system image has been created, the app will ask if you want to create a restore disk; the correct answer is “Yes!” Without a restore disk you cannot restore the system image file to your hard drive. So make one.

The restore disk is bootable, which is handy if your primary boot disk has blown up. It’s also necessary because a system image cannot be copied to a hard drive that is in use by an operating system or other software. If your primary boot drive cannot boot, then your system’s BIOS will check other drives to see if it can boot from one of them. If your primary boot drive is fine and you’re just testing system image backup/restore, you need to make sure the BIOS checks the drive that will hold your restore disk before your primary boot drive; otherwise, Windows will boot instead of the utility on the restore disk. Consult your PC’s user manual for “setting boot order” of drives in your PC.

Restoring your perfect hard drive from its system image copy takes just as long as creating the copy did. When the process is all over, you will feel a certain virtuous satisfaction that comes with a Spring cleaning job well done. You will also have a “better than new” system, lively and fun to work on. I recommend making a fresh system image file once a month, so if you need to restore from it there won’t be too many missing changes to worry about. If you’re adding, updating and deleting files frequently, consider a weekly image backup.

Have a great week

ZI Staff

SL Land Owners Know your Rights! Parcel Ownership and Menus 101!

Residents of Zoha Islands –

I’d like to take a moment to ask people to turn off open build on your parcel.

If you need to give certain members rights to build, rez etc, do so via deeding your land to a group.

This can be done by

  1. Go to the land and right-click it. Select About Land from the pie menu.
  2. Click on the General tab.
  3. Click the Set button next to the Group name. A list of groups will appear. (please not you will want his to be a group you personally own so you can have full control)
  4. Select the group you want and click Set.
  5. Check the Allow Deed to Group box and click the Deed button that shows up after.

Then go into your options tab and set build and object entry to group only and give members the corresponding rights that you want them to have via roles in group. 

This prevents griefings via object littering and scripts griefing…in those objects.  It stops replicating objects from spilling over into your personal parcels as well, thus not affecting your items.

Below you will find a list of each tab via about land and what each corresponding tab represents.

General Tab

Name – The name of the parcel which will show at the top of the screen when you are on the parcel, and in search if the parcel is set to show in search.

Description – Additional description of the parcel which is visible in this window and in search results if the parcel is set to show in search.

Type – The type of map region the parcel is located on from among Mainland or Estate/Full Region, Homestead, or Openspace

Rating – The maturity rating of the map region from among PG, Mature, or Adult

Owner – The avatar name or “Group Owned” if such who “owns” the land parcel. Normal users do not actually have ownership rights in the virtual land in the common real life sense of owning something. They have control over the parcel as long as they pay maintenance fees directly or indirectly to Linden Lab, who actually own the servers the map region is hosted on. In this sense it is more like a lease in real life. Governor Linden is the Account set up by Linden Lab to hold parcels assigned to them, as opposed to their customers (users). In this case, the listed owner and the actual real life owner is the same.

The info button will open the ‘Profile’ floating window for the listed owner.

Group – The group assigned to this parcel for the purpose of access or controlling settings. This is distinct from group ownership. The Set button will open the Groups tab of the Communicate or Contacts window in order to set or change the group assignment.

Allow Deed to Group – Permits a landowner to sell the parcel to the assigned group. The owners of the group effectively become the new owners of the land. The Deed button opens the ‘Deed to Group’ floating window in order to transfer ownership.
Owner Makes Contribution With Deed – When transferring ownership to a group, this check box also assigns land area from the owner’s land allowance to the group at the same time.

For Sale – Shows for sale or not for sale status. If for sale, shows price and whether for sale to anyone, or a specific person. If you own the land, buttons to set for sale, not for sale, or abandon the land will appear.

Claimed – The date and time the current owner became the owner of the parcel.

Area – The horizontal area of the parcel. Sloped land is measured in the XY horizontal plane, not along the slope. Land is divisible into units 4×4 meters in size, so the minimum parcel area is 16 sq.m., and can be any multiple of 16 up to the full area of a map region (256x256m or 65,536 sq.m.). A single parcel must be entirely within the boundaries of one map region, but may consist of discontinuous pieces.

Traffic – The number of avatar-minutes present on the parcel over the last measurement interval. Thus one avatar present for one hour = 60 traffic. The normal measurement interval is over the previous 24 hours, and is updated 2 times a day.

Covenant Tab

Estate: – Estates consist of one or more map regions with a single owner who has overall control over the estate and can set rules over and above the general Second Life rules. These rules are detailed in the text box of this tab.

Name: – The name of the estate. There are approximately 5000 regions on the ‘mainland’ estate. These are grouped into 9 ‘continents’ (large groups of adjacent regions). Other large estates include Dreamland (# of regions?)… There are an estimated X total estates, consisting of nearly 29,000 regions total on the main Second Life grid or 3D world.

(Untitled) – Text Box for entering and showing the Estate covenant.

Last Modified: – Date and time the covenant was last edited

Region: – Map regions are the standard unit of the 3D world, with a fixed location in the 3D world map. They are 256×256 meters horizontally and unlimited in height, although placing objects is limited to below 4096 meters altitude.

Name: – Each map region has a unique name up to X characters long.

Type: – Regions may be Mainland or Estate, and Full, Homestead, or Openspace. Mainland regions may be owned in units of less than a full region, while Estate regions are only sold in full region units. Limits on number of objects and avatars are set according to type. Full regions may have 15,000 objects and 40-100 avatars, Homesteads may have 3,750 objects and 20 avatars, and openspaces may have 750 objects and 20 avatars.

Rating: – The maturity rating of the region determines the kind of activity and content is allowed in the region. It is one of PG, Mature, or Adult, and is set by the estate owner, or Linden Lab for mainland regions.

Resale: – (who sets these?)

Subdivide: – (who sets these?)

Objects Tab

WARNING: Returning objects en mass using this tab can easily remove items you did not intend to remove, so use with care, or return individual objects using the object context menu.

  • Simulator primitive usage: – Shows the number of ‘primitive shapes’ (prims for short) used on the land parcels owned by the same owner in this region. If you own more than one parcel, the total for all parcels in this region are given. Also shows the total number allowed, and number not used. Complex objects are made of more than one primitive shape, so it is not the same as the number of objects.

Prim allowances are shared among all parcels owned in the same region. You may distribute you actual objects as you see fit. For example, if you own three parcels, you can place all your objects on one of them, using the combined allowance of all three, and leave the other two empty.

  • Primitives parcel supports: – Shows the number of primitive shapes the currently selected land parcel can have located on it. If the geometric center of an object is located within the parcel boundaries, all of its component prims are counted, even if some parts overhang onto other parcels. Prim allowances are proportional to land area as a fraction of the total allowed in the region. Hence if your parcel is 4096 sq.m., which is 1/16 the area of a full region, then it would receive 1/16 of a full region’s allowance of 15,000 prims, or 937 prims.
  • Primitives on parcel: – Shows the actual number of prims on the parcel currently. The “Show” buttons under this heading will highlight the class of prims with white outlines, to make them easier to find. The “Return” buttons will take them off the parcel and return them to the “Lost and Found” folder of the owner.
  • Owned by parcel owner: – The number of prims owned by the avatar listed as the parcel owner.
  • Set to group: – The number of prims set to the same group as the General tab shows for the parcel.
  • Owned by others: – The number of prims owned by avatars other than the owner or group.
  • Selected/sat upon: – The number of prims currently selected or sat upon.
  • Autoreturn – Allows a timed return of objects other than owner or group owned. If set to 0 the timer is off, otherwise will return items after a set number of minutes. This allows temporary placement of items.
  • Object Owners: – If you have the correct ability as owner or group member, provides a detailed list of object owners by name and allows returning those objects when highlighted.

Options Tab

This tab controls permissions and restrictions on the parcel for users other than the owner. Generally the parcel owner keeps full abilities on the parcel.

  • Allow other residents to:
Edit Terrain, Create Landmarks, Fly – If checked, then other residents than the parcel owner are permitted to do these actions.
Create Objects, Object Entry, Run Scripts – These permissions are divided into “All Residents”, and “Group”, which refers to the group set on the General tab. Object Entry refers to objects not attached to an avatar, such as a bullet fired from a gun. Run Scripts refers to all scripts, whether in attached or detached objects.
  • Land Options:
Safe (no damage) – If checked, the health % level is not displayed on the top menu bar, and avatars cannot be sent home when “killed” (health falls to zero %). Most land is set safe, except for areas intended for combat.
No Pushing – If checked, then pushes from objects is disabled. Pushing another avatar is often used to annoy them, and most regions have turned on this item to prevent it.
Show Place in Search – If checked, the parcel will be listed in the “Search” floating window with the name and description from the General tab, and the snapshot below from this tab. A fee of L$30 per week is charged for listing in search, and optionally a category can be chosen from the dropdown menu on this item.
Mature Content – One of the region maturity ratings is “Mature”, but parcels are not required to have mature content on Mature rated land. This item is intended to indicate that there is mature content on the parcel.
  • Snapshot – This image will be displayed in the “Search” results and landmarks created for the parcel. Clicking the image area will open the “Pick: Texture” floating window so that you can choose the image to display. Alternately, your chosen image can be dragged from your inventory to the image area.
  • Landing Point: – Lists the coordinates of the landing point if set, or (none) if not set. The set button will set the landing point to your current avatar position, and the clear button will unset it.
  • Teleport Routing: – Determines where teleport landings are allowed for other users. Blocked = Teleports into the parcel are not allowed. Landing point = teleports are limited to the landing point set above. Anywhere = teleports may arrive at any location on the parcel.

Media & Sound Tab

This tab sets audio and video settings for the parcel. In general, only one audio and one video stream or web page may be set at a time on a single land parcel.

  • Media Type: –
  • Media URL: –
  • Description: –
  • Replace Texture: –
  • Media Options: –
  • Media Size: –
  • Music URL: –
  • Sound: –
  • Voice: –

Access Tab

This tab controls who may enter the land parcel.

  • Allow Public Access – If checked, any user may enter, subject to any restrictions set below.
  • Block Access By: – These two options are additive, if both are checked, then a user will have to have given both types of info to enter the parcel
Residents who have not given payment info to Linden Lab – Payment info is a credit card or Paypal account which can be used to pay for Second Life services. If this box is checked, then accounts which have NOT given this information will NOT be able to enter the parcel.
Residents who are not age verified adults – Age verification is providing ID information on the appropriate Second Life website page to show the account holder is over 18 years of age. If this box is checked, then accounts which have NOT given this information will NOT be able to enter the parcel. NOTE: This function is known to work erratically.
  • Allow Group Access: <Group Name> – If checked, members of the listed group may enter.
  • Sell passes to: – Seldom used, gives temporary access to the parcel by paying a fee.
  • Allowed Residents – Gives access to individual users by name. Limited to 300 names.
  • Banned Residents – Blocks access to individual users by name. Limited to 300 names.

The Add buttons for the last two items will open the “Choose Resident” floating window. Highlighting one or more names on the lists, and clicking the Remove button removes them from the list.

Experiences Tab

Link to experience wiki and information.

Linden Lab CEO To Make Rare Second Life Appearance On April 20

Windows 10 Spring Update – Embrace Or Delay?

The year’s first of two major feature updates to Windows 10 will occur in April (the second will come in November). Microsoft allows some customers to delay major updates for up to a year. Are you among those chosen ones? Should you postpone major updates or let them happen on schedule? Read on to learn the answers to these and other burning questions about Windows 10 Spring and Fall updates… You’re asking yourself whats this got to do with Second Life? Well it’s always been my opinion that without proper running OS/updated (operating software) Then the rest of the software/hardware on your computer won’t work as well. So if you are still running Windows XP to 8 it’s about time you upgraded and update.

Should You Postpone Windows 10 Updates?

First, if you activated Windows 10 less than 30 days before any major update is due to happen, you get a pass; the update will not come to such “young” Windows installations. Presumably, that’s because infant Windows 10 installations are born current.

Second, if you have not been updated to the last major update, then the next one will not be delivered to you, and you will not be able to install it manually. The 2017 Fall Creators Update is Version 1709 (Each Version number consists of the year [‘17] and month [09 – September] of the update’s scheduled release). It is important to have Version 1709, else Version 1803 will not install.

(Yes, it looks like this 2018 Spring Creators Update slipped its schedule by one month; it should have started rolling out in March. Recall that Version 1709, scheduled for September, 2017, became known as the November Fall Creators Update.)

You can check to see if Version 1709 is installed by typing “winver” in the “Search Windows” box and pressing Enter. You should see “Version 1709” on the second line of small type, under “Microsoft Windows.”

Windows winver windows version

If you need to install Version 1709, use the Media Creation Tool to do an automated re-install of Windows 10; it’s the easiest and most foolproof method. You can find instructions on Microsoft’s Download Windows 10 page.

If you have the Home Edition of Windows 10, you cannot postpone major updates. Only users of Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education Editions are allowed to delay major updates, presumably because their IT departments carry more weight with Microsoft than your family does.

Should you defer major updates if your Edition of Windows 10 permits it? It depends on how well Version 1709 is serving you right now (or soon after you finally get it installed). I have few complaints or unfulfilled wishes; so I will defer the Version 1803 update a few months to give Microsoft time to iron out the inevitable wrinkles.

What’s Coming in the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update?

How-To Geek has an exhaustive (and exhausting) review of all new features coming in Version 1803. “Easy Wireless File Sharing” piques my interest. A new app called “Diagnostic Data Viewer” shows exactly what data Win 10 is transmitting back to Microsoft; it’s “too much information” for all but the geekiest readers. “Quick Pairing for Bluetooth Devices” should have been here long ago.

“Progressive Web Apps” will run in their own windows, have their own taskbar shortcuts, and generally behave as desktop apps should; unfortunately, they work only with the Edge browser. But PWA is a new standard for apps that Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, and even Apple are supporting, so it’s something you and I had better get used to. Just not at the same time as everyone else, please!

Better user control over the permissions granted to apps is a welcome security feature. So is the improved “don’t let apps use my webcam” option.

The Home-group concept is gone with Version 1803. Sharing files, printers, and other resources with a group of known or unknown users is better done with cloud storage and other modern solutions.

The list of new features gets a little tedious after the above. If you can live without paired Bluetooth devices for a few months, you might avoid the pain of a new version’s bugs.

How to Defer Windows 10 Updates

So let’s see exactly how to defer the Spring and Fall updates, The following instructions assume you have Version 1709 installed.

Go to Settings > Update & security > Advanced options. You will see three options.

Option 1 lets you defer updates until Microsoft declares them “business ready.” That’s usually about four months after an update’s initial release. To enable this deferment, simply change “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)” to “Semi-Annual Channel.”

Option 2 works only on Enterprise, Education, and Pro Editions of Windows 10. It lets you add additional time to the update delay set by Option 1. You can add as many as 365 days, in which case you won’t see any major updates until mid-year, 2019.

Option 3 has nothing to do with Spring or Fall feature updates. Instead, it lets you defer security updates for up to 30 days after their release date. I would pick about one week, giving Microsoft time to fix any bugs while limiting the time my system remains vulnerable.

If you plan to ride out the (quite possibly imaginary) storm of the update, the first two weeks of April should be a time of heightened backup discipline. Create a new System Restore Point at least once a week until you get Version 1803. Make a system image file on an external drive, or store it in the cloud. (Did you make a backup on World Backup Day?)

Remember, 99% of the things we worry about never happen. Just be prepared in case they do.

Have a Great Week

Zi Staff

Keeping Your Software Updated

Many computer problems can be avoided or cured simply by keeping all of your software up to date. Updates include patches for security vulnerabilities as well as fixes for bugs, new features, and improvements of existing features. Check out these free programs that will do the job for you…

Do You Need a Software Updater, Driver Updater, Both, or Neither?

Over the years, I have consistently exhorted readers to “keep your software up to date.” The efficiency of your computer system depends upon this basic maintenance chore. So does the security of your system, the information stored on it, your identity, your credit rating, your ability to rent or buy a home… well, let’s just say a lot of important things depend upon how well you keep your software up to date.

An old version of any program may seem “good enough” but it is constantly getting worse in terms of vulnerability to hackers and conflicts with more recent software. So it is essential to keep your all software up to date. Unfortunately, that’s no easy task.

Most important is your Windows operating system, and fortunately, that’s taken care of by Windows Update, which runs automatically. Windows Update also auto-updates Microsoft Office and other Microsoft software. But you probably have other vendors’ software that also needs updating. Some vendors provide auto-update utilities similar to Windows Update, others do not.

Some up daters are notorious resource hogs or may be so buggy that they disrupt normal operation of your system. It is not uncommon for users to disable problematic up daters, leaving the software they support vulnerable to hackers and the increasingly inferior performance of obsolete software. That’s where third-party “software updater” software can come in handy.

SUMo (Software Update Monitor) is one such program that was brought to my attention. Developed and supported by the French firm, KC Software’s, SUMo replaces all those one-trick software updater ponies with something akin to Windows Update. SUMo loads at startup, and consumes far fewer system resources than umpteen software up-daters. SUMo learns what programs are on your system and checks for updates of them automatically or manually.

SUMo downloads and installs software updates so you don’t have to, and so that your system remains as secure as possible. You can even access DUMo, KC Sofwares’ Driver Update Monitor. (More on driver updates later.) But the free version of SUMo is effectively demo-ware; it will show you what needs updating but won’t update anything. A license to use SUMo on up to 4 machines per user, plus a 1-machine license for a second user, costs 14.99 EUR ($18.49) per year; a lifetime license costs 29.99 EUR ($36.98). Another (much more serious) problem with SUMo is that third-party crap-ware is bundled with the software updates.

One Ring Updater to Rule Them All?

That’s unacceptable! Fortunately, there are software up-daters that are free, and have the smarts to strip out those unwanted (and sometimes dangerous) extras. Let’s take a look at two I believe are best of breed.

Patch My PC silently updates over 300 popular programs. I like that it downloads your updates directly from the software vendor websites, to ensure you’re getting the official version from the most up-to-date source. It takes only a few seconds for it to identify any software that needs updating. Even better, it strips the foist ware out of installation packages before installing updates; no toolbars or browser hijackings!

Also nice is that programs update silently, bypassing the “install wizards.” There’s an option to create a restore point before updating, and you can also use it to quickly uninstall any unwanted programs. Patch My PC is 100% free and downloads quickly. The user interface is a bit cluttered, but just keep in mind that outdated software will show in Red, and software that’s already up to date will show in Green. You can scroll through the list of suggested updates in the left column and uncheck any items that you do not want to update.

Ninite is a similar tool for software updates. It doesn’t scan your system for outdated software, but instead focuses on simplifying the process of downloading, installing and updating your programs. Ninite bundles software installers and updates into a single, foistware-free package. Just check boxes next to the programs that you want to install or update, click “Get Your Ninite” and Ninite does the rest.

It fetches the latest files from the vendor websites, bundles them in a Ninite installer package, and downloads just one file to your computer. When the Ninite installer is run, it installs and/or updates everything in the background, stripping the foistware out of each. And my favorite part, it eliminates all the Next, Next, Next button clicking during the installation.

Aside from the fact that Ninite does not identify software in need of updates, there’s one other issue to be aware of. The free web version of Ninite lets you easily select and install software, but there is no mechanism to keep things automatically updated. You must remember to re-run the installer that Ninite creates for you. To solve that problem, you can download the Ninite Updater ($10/year) which runs on your computer and automates the process of checking for and installing the updates.

What About Device Drivers?

Device drivers, more commonly called “drivers,” are small programs that act as translators between your operating system and the hardware devices it uses. Every hardware device needs a driver. Your printer, scanner, mouse, keyboard, hard drive, graphics card and network adapter are all examples of devices that require a software driver in order to respond to commands from the operating system. For example, when you hit the Print button, Windows issues the generic command “print,” and a device driver translates that command into the specific instructions needed to enable your Dell computer communicate with your Epson printer.

I’ll keep this simple — you do not need a third-party driver updater. Windows Update handles typically the task of updating drivers, pushing them out to users when hardware vendors make them available. Some devices have built-in driver update features that download from the vendor’s website. The only time I’ve ever needed to manually update a device driver is when upgrading to a new version of the Windows operating system, and some hardware device was not working properly.

Have a great week

ZI Staff