After the wonderful hurrah of the Steam Sale, I’ve been thinking that now is a good time to start to play these Steam games that I’ve now bought. First on the list was PB Winterbottom, which I was quite looking forward to. Until the damn thing didn’t launch. It was either a corrupted file (Which something was off with one file, but I digress), or I needed to do a driver update. I really didn’t expect it to take so long to do. I totally understand why we need graphics drivers. I really do. But for god’s sake why does it have to be as complicated as it is?
It’s not that I couldn’t do it, but the fact I have to delete old drivers, and install new ones. And restart after both of those events. I do not like turning my PC off. I like to hibernate, and so does my PC. So it is a bit of pain when software updates tell me to restart my machine, because it just bugs me. All I was thinking during this was “Why am I having to do this manually?” while I was making coffee and cookies as it downloaded and installed.
Now, I know that Windows Update is a pain to use. I also know that Windows Update can include drivers for 3rd party software. Imagine if your graphics drivers were included in Windows Update?* No more thinking ‘Erm, what graphics card do I have?’ or downloading some other software to tell you which you have or annoying sites which don’t allow you to update drivers easily. Just a nice simplified experience for everyone to use.
Of course, Microsoft would charge for that, and drivers are patches which should be free. But what’s stopping the distributors when they give you the driver disc to have an extra tool that checks your driver every few days and tells you “Oh, you don’t appear to have the latest driver. Would you like me to go and get it for you?”. Then it can trundle off and sort it all out, with a quick note saying “You will experience some craziness on your monitor. This is normal”.
So why haven’t they? I really can’t see a reason why nobody has. Place all your devices in a damn MySQL table, with a field saying when the last driver was released and put a timestamp on every driver. Then a quick check when someone checks their driver and when a new driver is released, the table gets updated. It can’t be harder than what is currently used, and it certainly should be more complicated.
Of course, it’s easy for me to say all that. I have no idea how often drivers are updated, or how to actually write those sorts of programs (Though I imagine a check for updates tool would be simple, Piriform do it easily). Though if either of the big two companies implemented this approach, I can tell you that I would be buying from them and them alone. Sod the fact that ATi are cheaper and only slightly worse, if nVidia do a tool like this that makes driver updates quick and painless, I will be buying from them everytime.
As I said before, I can easily do all of the above steps. But someone who doesn’t know that you have to uninstall your last driver to prevent any chance of it not working and crying in your face could easily just download a new driver and install it. Yes it might work, and when it doesn’t I tend to get a call meaning I get monies, but I think it should be on the to do list of all graphics card manufacturers.