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Having out of date drivers, especially network drivers, can cause problems with network reliability and stability. This was a particularly acute problem when Windows 7 was first introduced. In many situations network performance was much slower than Windows XP and/or not as reliable.

While the migration to Windows 8 appears to be going more slowly than it did from Windows 7 to XP, we are wondering if similar experiences and problems will arise in this new environment as well.

We’ve also found that using the Microsoft’s driver version update/check feature is unreliable. Often driver updates are available from the original equipment manufacturer’s website yet the Microsoft check utility reports that the driver is up to date.

Another challenge is that original equipment manufacturers sometimes have difficult to navigate websites and it is often not possible to establish what network adaptor/driver version is being used that requires updating. In a situation like this it is sometimes a trial and error process to determine which download is applicable to your situation. Add to all this a situation where you have many different PC’s with different LAN cards in use, and the difficulties escalate.

One solution to these problems we like is to use Advanced System Care to do the hard work automatically. The company provides a free version and besides checking and updating your drivers for you, it also includes various other disk and system clean-up tools that can improve your PC and network performance. We’re not paid to recommend this product. We’re mentioning it because it’s a good tool and it can save our users a lot of headaches, particularly if they are experiencing network related problems in their environment.