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Windows 7: Best upgrade policy for an AMD system for office use

20 Oct 2015   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
Best upgrade policy for an AMD system for office use

I'm trying to build a healthy base just after reinstall, for the AMD PC described in my system specs. Integrated graphics, no games, office-type use with much Internet.

1. Would you advise installing the most recent drivers, on the basis that "newer is more compatible" ? Those that were current at the time of my original 2010 build, on the basis that "it worked then" ? Something in between ?

2. Regarding the bunch of software that comes under the guise of "chipset drivers" or "display driver", and is installed by ATI Catalyst Install Manager,
  • I tried the display driver that was delivered by my motherboard manufacturer at the time of my build in 2010, the "legacy" version for my now-discontinued graphic chip which is the most up-to-date available, and (I think) something in-between. They all work (apparently). Any preferences ?
  • Depending on the driver package version, Catalyst Install Manager offers to install Visual C++ in various versions (I think I have come across 2008, 2010 and 2012 -- but Microsoft has 2015 on its site). All these versions install side by side, instead of replacing each other. Is Visual C++ needed ? Is it important to have the latest version ? To keep them all together ?
  • Catalyst Install Manager offers to install various pieces of software whose aim is obscure to me, but seem related to gaming and powerful add-on graphic cards, all of which are not in my league : AMD App SDK Runtime, AMD Accelerated Video Transcoding, AMD Drag and Drop Transcoding, AMD Foundation Decoders.... Can I dispense with them ? Or are they better installed "just in case" ?
  • Any views on AHCI drivers ? I have different ones, of different age, from different sources. I'm a bit pissed off because my external hard disks, which I hot-swap into a rack, are (I think) less responsive than before (when I first click into them in Windows Explorer, I have to wait a while before the file structure is displayed ; I don't know if it might be related to drivers ; then again, it might be a misconception on my part and this delay may have existed before).
3. I don't like at all what I have been drawn to do up to now, which is multiple installs / reinstalls over existing drivers / uninstalls, variously installing in recommended default locations / changing the location. Ideally, I would restore an image from an early stage and start all over again. However, Windows Updates is so slow these days that I'm weary to erase them all and start from an un-patched Windows.
  • Is this track record detrimental to building a clean image I can go back to in the future if anything goes wrong ?
  • Should drivers be un-installed before being re-installed ? What is the best way to do this : Catalyst Install Manager ? Windows Device Manager ?
Many thanks in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2015   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium

For what its worth, I never update drivers unless there is a real need to do so. I like the analogy "if its not broke don't fix it". I have seen where updating a driver causes issues. Not always but enough to aggravate me. I have many computers, some old and some new. I have not had issues by not updating drivers. When I do an install of the OS and need to load drivers I go to the manufacture if the computer and install what they have. I do not use any software to monitor and/or update my drivers. had issues before by doing this.

Again this is my 2 cents worth. I am not an expert on this topic. Just relaying my experiences and what I have been told by others.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2015   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)

Thanks, Copiman. I'm quite aware of that line of thought, and indeed it seems quite reasonable. However, the urge to have the last and best (?) is sometimes irresistible. Also, Windows Updates sometimes dishes it out to you ! And it's remarkable (in a negative way) how little information it gives you about those drivers it insists on updating : it doesn't even state the version number !
My System SpecsSystem Spec

26 Oct 2015   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium

If it comes in the Windows Important Updates I allow it to install. Never had issues by doing that. The updates outside Windows are the ones I normally leave alone until i have an issue. I know that starting out with a good base is a good thing. I have just issues when updating drivers to be updating drivers. Heck, it could be me as the problem but I have not found it important to update unless it is a fix. I use my computers every day and all day long for work, school, and pleasure and they have performed well with out keeping drivers updated to the latest. Again this is my experience. Maybe someone on this site with more experiance than me could have some input. I would appreciate that as much as you would. Just visiting this even when I don't have an issue to post, I learn an enormous amount form others.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Best upgrade policy for an AMD system for office use

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