Manufacturer vs OEM vs Windows 11 drivers?


I always use Windows Update unless I receive a notification, then I use the program that gave the notification or their website. Many updates are for different machines or programs to mine, especially Nvidia drivers.
Exactly, if Nvidia, AMD, intel tell me I need an update, then I’ll update, the rest pretty much are what Windows says
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro Beta, 11 Dev, W11 Canary
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R6
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900HX
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3070 8GB GDDR6
    Hard Drives
    1 x Samsung 980 Pro 1TB
    1 x Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB
Exactly, if Nvidia, AMD, intel tell me I need an update, then I’ll update, the rest pretty much are what Windows says
I agree, it is easy to over the top with updating
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware M18 R1
    CPU
    13th Gen Core i9 13900HX
    Memory
    32GB DDR5 @4800MHz 2x16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Geforce RTX 4090HX 16GB
    Sound Card
    Nvidia HD / Realtek ALC3254
    Monitor(s) Displays
    18" QHD+
    Screen Resolution
    25660 X 1600
    Hard Drives
    C: KIOXIA (Toshiba) 2TB KXG80ZNV2T04 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
    D: KIOXIA (Toshiba) 2TB KXG80ZNV2T04 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
    Case
    Dark Metallic Moon
    Keyboard
    Alienware M Series per-key AlienFX RGB
    Mouse
    Alienware AW610M
    Browser
    Chrome and Firefox
    Antivirus
    Norton
    Other Info
    Killer E3000 Ethernet Controller
    Killer Killer AX1690 Wi-Fi Network Adaptor Wi-Fi 6E
    Bluetooth 5.2
    Alienware Z01G Graphic Amplifier
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware Area 51m R2
    CPU
    10th Gen i-9 10900 K
    Memory
    32Gb Dual Channel DDR4 @ 8843MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia RTX 2080 Super
    Sound Card
    Nvidia
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Hard Drive C: Samsung 2TB SSD PM981a NVMe
    Hard Drive D:Samsung 2TB SSD 970 EVO Plus
    Mouse
    Alienware 610M
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton
Let's face it, there is no one way suits all method when talking drivers.
I bought an Acer Predator desktop back in 2018, I did the thing most people would do at first, wipe the drive and clean install to remove any bloat and set Windows up the way I wanted.
Next I looked at the driver situation and realised (apart from the Nvidia graphics drivers) that everything worked and was fully supported, but I checked Acer's site and saw that apart from Acer proprietary bloatware apps (Acer Care Centre etc) the listed drivers were either the same or older than the latest Windows/ Intel supplied ones.
The same desktop was upgraded to Win11 on October 5th 2021 (and then clean installed) and apart from Nvidia again, uses only drivers supplied through Windows Update.
Previous to this I had a Toshiba laptop where half the features would refuse to work/ work with reduced functionality without OEM drivers on top of Windows supplied ones, and it is even possible to make a laptop worse by not using OEM drivers, especially when it comes to graphics drivers as they tend to be heavily customised to work on that device.
If your device uses industry standard components there is a good chance Windows supplied drivers are all you need, since Intel, Nvidia, AMD etc supply Windows update with their own drivers.
The more customised or obscure the components the more chance you will need the OEM's drivers for full functionality or indeed any functionality.
Another issue is that hardware manufacturers will not in general keep updating drivers for ever nor will OEMs (there are exceptions, thankyou Brother), but Microsoft understand that Windows is used on hardware that can be very out of date, as far as the industry is concerned, and is much more likely to maintain a usable driver base for these older systems.
Do what the device needs to perform the functions you bought it for properly, this may differ from person to person, device to device.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 22H2, build: 22621.521
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Scan 3XS Custom 1700
    CPU
    Intel i7-12700K 3.6GHz Base (5.0GHz Turbo)
    Motherboard
    Asus ProArt Creator B660 D4
    Memory
    64GB DDR 3600Mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus Tuff RTX 3080 10GB OC
    Sound Card
    Onboard Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Gigabyte G32QC 32inch 16:9 curved @2560 x 1440p 165Hz Freesync Premium Pro/ Dell SE2422H 24inch 16:9 1920 x 1080p 75Hz Freesync
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440p & 1920 x 1080p
    Hard Drives
    WD SN570 1TB NVME (Boot), Samsung 870QVO 1TB (SSD), SanDisk 3D Ultra 500Gb (SSD) x2, Seagate 3Tb Expansion Desk (Ext HDD), 2x Toshiba 1Tb P300 (Ext HDD)
    PSU
    Corsair RM1000X Modular
    Case
    Corsair 4000D Airflow Desktop
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H150i RGB Pro XT 360mm Liquid Cooler, 3 x 120mm fans, 1x Exhaust
    Keyboard
    Microsoft Ergonomic
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Internet Speed
    800Mbs
    Browser
    Edge Chromium
    Antivirus
    Defender, Malwarebytes
Let's face it, there is no one way suits all method when talking drivers.
I bought an Acer Predator desktop back in 2018, I did the thing most people would do at first, wipe the drive and clean install to remove any bloat and set Windows up the way I wanted.
Next I looked at the driver situation and realised (apart from the Nvidia graphics drivers) that everything worked and was fully supported, but I checked Acer's site and saw that apart from Acer proprietary bloatware apps (Acer Care Centre etc) the listed drivers were either the same or older than the latest Windows/ Intel supplied ones.
The same desktop was upgraded to Win11 on October 5th 2021 (and then clean installed) and apart from Nvidia again, uses only drivers supplied through Windows Update.
Previous to this I had a Toshiba laptop where half the features would refuse to work/ work with reduced functionality without OEM drivers on top of Windows supplied ones, and it is even possible to make a laptop worse by not using OEM drivers, especially when it comes to graphics drivers as they tend to be heavily customised to work on that device.
If your device uses industry standard components there is a good chance Windows supplied drivers are all you need, since Intel, Nvidia, AMD etc supply Windows update with their own drivers.
The more customised or obscure the components the more chance you will need the OEM's drivers for full functionality or indeed any functionality.
Another issue is that hardware manufacturers will not in general keep updating drivers for ever nor will OEMs (there are exceptions, thankyou Brother), but Microsoft understand that Windows is used on hardware that can be very out of date, as far as the industry is concerned, and is much more likely to maintain a usable driver base for these older systems.
Do what the device needs to perform the functions you bought it for properly, this may differ from person to person, device to device.
That's why this is chaos to me. I have Asus TUF A15 and when I leave all the drivers to Windows, especially after the clean Windows installation there are some problems. For example Realtek audio driver - Windows automatically downloaded the same version as the one on Asus website but the drivers isn't the same. Microphone volume is too low I barely hear something even if volume is maxed out. When I installed the same version of Asus driver everything was fine.
Another problem - AMD driver. Nowadays control panels for graphic drivers come from MS Store. AMD driver from Windows comes with old "AMD Radeon™ Settings Lite". When I download the same driver from Asus it comes with new version called "AMD Radeon Software". Why is there two different versions of one application in MS Store? I don't know. It's a mess.

This is why I would like to know what is the best way to install laptop manufacturer drivers.
The "offline Windows installation method" with manufacturer drivers prepared on USB seem to be the most logical way to install these drivers because in this case I don't need to uninstall the old applications that windows installed (in case of the AMD control panel issue) and I don't need to install these drivers on top of OEM drivers from Windows.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS TUF A15
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GDDR6 4GB
The best method is to use the drivers/ utilities available on the OEMs website as they may have been customised to work with your device, although it is possible to have a laptop using "industry standard" hardware in which case Windows/ Intel/ Nvidia/ AMD drivers could work fine without loosing functionality.
If you are strictly talking laptops then I would imagine the factory restore partition would hold the original drivers supplied with the device, unfortunately a lot of people tend to remove that partition thinking it is a waste of disk space, ideally you would image the partition and store it for potential future use.
Another method, mentioned in this thread and elsewhere on these forums, is to export the drivers when you first get the laptop (or later if you have a perfectly working system you want to preserve the setup for), this enables you to re install them from that export, while offline if you want, after maybe updating the Windows build/ feature version.
If your laptop is considered EOL then getting the OEM drivers for it is going to be harder the further past that time it is, in this case you might be better off relying on Windows drivers if they actually provide the functionality you require, or search for sites that might maintain a repository of original drivers for older devices, but be aware of security issues.
Another point to make is that the latest driver, who ever it's from, is not necessarily the best driver for your device and usage, just browse the audio section of these forums to see what I mean, also a lot of the big tech companies have changed how they apply version numbers and dates to their drivers so that, for example, Microsoft and Intel drivers can be over written with newer 3rd party drivers that may have a lower version number (I think that is what they intended).
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 22H2, build: 22621.521
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Scan 3XS Custom 1700
    CPU
    Intel i7-12700K 3.6GHz Base (5.0GHz Turbo)
    Motherboard
    Asus ProArt Creator B660 D4
    Memory
    64GB DDR 3600Mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus Tuff RTX 3080 10GB OC
    Sound Card
    Onboard Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Gigabyte G32QC 32inch 16:9 curved @2560 x 1440p 165Hz Freesync Premium Pro/ Dell SE2422H 24inch 16:9 1920 x 1080p 75Hz Freesync
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440p & 1920 x 1080p
    Hard Drives
    WD SN570 1TB NVME (Boot), Samsung 870QVO 1TB (SSD), SanDisk 3D Ultra 500Gb (SSD) x2, Seagate 3Tb Expansion Desk (Ext HDD), 2x Toshiba 1Tb P300 (Ext HDD)
    PSU
    Corsair RM1000X Modular
    Case
    Corsair 4000D Airflow Desktop
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H150i RGB Pro XT 360mm Liquid Cooler, 3 x 120mm fans, 1x Exhaust
    Keyboard
    Microsoft Ergonomic
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Internet Speed
    800Mbs
    Browser
    Edge Chromium
    Antivirus
    Defender, Malwarebytes
Apart from the Optane problems discussed on these boards I've had loads of laptops over the years and really have never needed ANY extra special drivers from the manufacturers websites or elsewhere other than a generic SD card reader.

(Externally attached devices are another matter of course but here I'm just considering a basic bog standard PC or laptop).

I'm always totally fazed about how many people seem to have problems with drivers for their PC's. (Optane is of course a well known exception). -- Of course some drivers are always required e.g some printers for example but I think here we are talking about basic drivers just to get the PC to work properly in the first place,

Do I just have a "Charmed life" or is it beginners luck. I can really say over the last 25 years or so I've never had a single issue with drivers for a PC including various laptops from a variety of manufacturers.

Optane obviously is an exception here but I don't have laptops with that hardware. I use also mainly INTEL Mobos and Intel / NVIDIA graphics so perhaps there's no problems there --AMD systems from RYZEN onwards seem to cause most problems.

Perhaps in the words of "The immortal Bard " : "Methinks the Lady doth protest too Much" (William Shakespeare).

(As an extra remark --it's amazing how many Linux live distros boot up from a USB device on almost any hardware thrown at them without complaining about "Missing Drivers").

Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7
So am I the the only one here that disabled Windows update driver installations? For me they were causing constant headaches. Kept installing a bad network adapter driver that would put one machine into a continuous BSOD loop. Every time I removed it WU reinstalled it. Also WU kept installing older intel drivers over the new drivers that intel driver & support assistant would install on both machines.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 22H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware M17 R3
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-10750H (Comet Lake)
    Motherboard
    Alienware
    Memory
    32GB DDR4
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 and Intel UHD Graphics
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC3281-CG
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160
    Hard Drives
    Micron 2300 NVMe 1TB
    PC SN530 NVMe WDC 512GB
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    60mbps
    Browser
    Vivaldi and Firefox
    Antivirus
    MS Defender and Malwarebytes Free
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 22H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-1065G7 (Ice Lake)
    Motherboard
    Microsoft Corp.
    Memory
    16GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus Graphics
    Sound Card
    Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.5” PixelSense Touchscreen Display
    Screen Resolution
    2256x1504
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba Memory 512GB
    Mouse
    Surface Arc Mouse
    Internet Speed
    60 mbps
    Browser
    Vivaldi and Firefox
    Antivirus
    MS Defender and Malwarebytes Free
Let's face it, there is no one way suits all method when talking drivers.
I bought an Acer Predator desktop back in 2018, I did the thing most people would do at first, wipe the drive and clean install to remove any bloat and set Windows up the way I wanted.
Next I looked at the driver situation and realised (apart from the Nvidia graphics drivers) that everything worked and was fully supported, but I checked Acer's site and saw that apart from Acer proprietary bloatware apps (Acer Care Centre etc) the listed drivers were either the same or older than the latest Windows/ Intel supplied ones.
The same desktop was upgraded to Win11 on October 5th 2021 (and then clean installed) and apart from Nvidia again, uses only drivers supplied through Windows Update.
Previous to this I had a Toshiba laptop where half the features would refuse to work/ work with reduced functionality without OEM drivers on top of Windows supplied ones, and it is even possible to make a laptop worse by not using OEM drivers, especially when it comes to graphics drivers as they tend to be heavily customised to work on that device.
If your device uses industry standard components there is a good chance Windows supplied drivers are all you need, since Intel, Nvidia, AMD etc supply Windows update with their own drivers.
The more customised or obscure the components the more chance you will need the OEM's drivers for full functionality or indeed any functionality.
Another issue is that hardware manufacturers will not in general keep updating drivers for ever nor will OEMs (there are exceptions, thankyou Brother), but Microsoft understand that Windows is used on hardware that can be very out of date, as far as the industry is concerned, and is much more likely to maintain a usable driver base for these older systems.
Do what the device needs to perform the functions you bought it for properly, this may differ from person to person, device to device.
I generally try to avoid buying laptops from those specific laptop brands that are known to have problems with the generic drivers provided directly by Intel/Nvidia/Realtek/etc. because these generic drivers are updated much sooner, more frequently and for a longer period when compared to the ones provided on the laptop manufacturer's website─also generally. Being able to keep drivers as up-to-date as possible is a good thing, if only for security reasons.

The dev teams who continue to make driver updates are getting paid to make them. Nobody in their right mind would want to pay for drivers if they weren't important. Especially big hardware manufacturers like Intel/Nvidia/Realtek probably wouldn't. So, I decided to use latest drivers and revert back only in the possible event that they don't work properly. And each time when I buy a new laptop I use my wallet to vote on a specific brand that doesn't give me too many hard troubles, least of all hardware troubles or ones that relate to the category of drivers and compatibility.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus TUF Gaming F16 (2024)
    CPU
    i7 13650HX
    Memory
    16GB DDR5
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce RTX 4060 Mobile
    Sound Card
    Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme; Emotiva UMC-200; Astell & Kern AK240
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia XR-55X90J
    Screen Resolution
    3840×2160
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD internal
    37TB external
    PSU
    Li-ion
    Cooling
    2× Arc Flow Fans, 4× exhaust vents, 5× heatpipes
    Keyboard
    Logitech K800
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Internet Speed
    20Mbit/s up, 250Mbit/s down
    Browser
    FF
  • Operating System
    11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Medion S15450
    CPU
    i5 1135G7
    Memory
    16GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme; Emotiva UMC-200; Astell & Kern AK240
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia XR-55X90J
    Screen Resolution
    3840×2160
    Hard Drives
    2TB SSD internal
    37TB external
    PSU
    Li-ion
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Keyboard
    Logitech K800
    Internet Speed
    20Mbit/s up, 250Mbit/s down
    Browser
    FF
By their nature laptops, tablets etc tend to use custom hardware and drivers, it is the price of shoe horning powerful hardware into something so slim and power efficient. It is getting harder to find laptops with 'standard' components.
The issue most people face from what I have seen is when they buy a laptop that has, for example, a high end Nvidia card built in, they then update to the latest drivers from the Nvidia site and find their laptop now has serious issues.
The laptop maker has usually customised their version of the Nvidia drivers to allow for the engineering they use to squeeze a high power GPU into such an enclosed space without frying itself and the surrounding hardware, often incorporating the ability to switch to an iGPU when not under load and of course how the GPU interfaces with the V-Bios, motherboard and chipset, all things that can be broken by installing the latest drivers from Nvidia.
Updating drivers for security issues is of course desired, for performance though it does not always mean it is the best option for everyone, especially if the update removes features you rely on for whatever reason the developer has decided on.
Sometimes the security and feature updates are linked, a feature removed or altered because it contributed to the security issue, now the thing you used to do no longer works, so it is not always a case of updated driver = better.
That is why I said you can't really say there is only one method that is best, you can offer a general approach that might be suitable in a large number of cases, but it can also be very situational in a lot of other cases.
Just my view of the subject. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 22H2, build: 22621.521
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Scan 3XS Custom 1700
    CPU
    Intel i7-12700K 3.6GHz Base (5.0GHz Turbo)
    Motherboard
    Asus ProArt Creator B660 D4
    Memory
    64GB DDR 3600Mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus Tuff RTX 3080 10GB OC
    Sound Card
    Onboard Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Gigabyte G32QC 32inch 16:9 curved @2560 x 1440p 165Hz Freesync Premium Pro/ Dell SE2422H 24inch 16:9 1920 x 1080p 75Hz Freesync
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440p & 1920 x 1080p
    Hard Drives
    WD SN570 1TB NVME (Boot), Samsung 870QVO 1TB (SSD), SanDisk 3D Ultra 500Gb (SSD) x2, Seagate 3Tb Expansion Desk (Ext HDD), 2x Toshiba 1Tb P300 (Ext HDD)
    PSU
    Corsair RM1000X Modular
    Case
    Corsair 4000D Airflow Desktop
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H150i RGB Pro XT 360mm Liquid Cooler, 3 x 120mm fans, 1x Exhaust
    Keyboard
    Microsoft Ergonomic
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Internet Speed
    800Mbs
    Browser
    Edge Chromium
    Antivirus
    Defender, Malwarebytes
By their nature laptops, tablets etc tend to use custom hardware and drivers, it is the price of shoe horning powerful hardware into something so slim and power efficient.
Mine doesn't use any custom drivers whatsoever BTW. The downloads section on the official webpage for this laptop simply states that the latest drivers are provided automatically by Windows.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus TUF Gaming F16 (2024)
    CPU
    i7 13650HX
    Memory
    16GB DDR5
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce RTX 4060 Mobile
    Sound Card
    Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme; Emotiva UMC-200; Astell & Kern AK240
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia XR-55X90J
    Screen Resolution
    3840×2160
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD internal
    37TB external
    PSU
    Li-ion
    Cooling
    2× Arc Flow Fans, 4× exhaust vents, 5× heatpipes
    Keyboard
    Logitech K800
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Internet Speed
    20Mbit/s up, 250Mbit/s down
    Browser
    FF
  • Operating System
    11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Medion S15450
    CPU
    i5 1135G7
    Memory
    16GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme; Emotiva UMC-200; Astell & Kern AK240
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia XR-55X90J
    Screen Resolution
    3840×2160
    Hard Drives
    2TB SSD internal
    37TB external
    PSU
    Li-ion
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Keyboard
    Logitech K800
    Internet Speed
    20Mbit/s up, 250Mbit/s down
    Browser
    FF

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