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Drivers & Software


When downloading drivers for your system, make sure it’s from a trusted source. As an example, you should only download drivers for an AMD graphics card from AMD themselves. I never recommend downloading drivers from an alternate source, as the software could be tampered with and could infect your machine. Generally speaking, Windows has very good compatibility with hardware now, but there are still cases where you will need to download drivers to get a piece of hardware to function properly.

Please keep in mind that Windows will automatically install drivers. In the case of graphics cards for example, these drivers can be out of date and in general be unstable. While Microsoft has improved the driver install through Windows Update quite a bit, I still recommend you install drivers manually for the GPU in your machine. These days, the graphics card manufacturers are Intel, AMD, and Nvidia.

I don't recommend using third party driver updater software to keep drivers up to date. Some of the driver updater software is actually malware. This is a step that is best performed manually. There are also times that the newest drivers can cause crashes, such as with graphics card drivers. It’s a slight inconvenience to have to do this, but the high risk of malware from supposed driver updater software isn’t worth it.

One thing I see a lot is people will run older graphics card drivers on their devices. Usually it’s because there’s compatibility issues with a new version. This seems to be a frequent case for AMD cards. A look through Reddit posts and forums will reveal a huge amount of people that have constant issues with their drivers.

I get the compatibility issues that come with newer drivers, but even graphics card drivers are affected by critical vulnerability exploits (CVE). A Google search will show these issues are present with all the GPU makers and it’s just the nature of the beast with software. All it takes is for one small mistake like running old drivers and your life could be disrupted by malware.

Something else that’s overlooked a lot is chipset drivers. Chipset is a part of the motherboard. These drivers will come from AMD or Intel. You could go with the vendor specific drivers, i.e. download chipset drivers for your ASUS Intel motherboard from ASUS, but they will usually be out of date instead of going through Intel directly. There will be other drivers that the motherboard manufacturer will release as well, such as any LAN drivers, soundcard drivers, etc, so feel free to grab those. Windows Update should take care of this step automatically, but as with the GPU drivers, sometimes it won’t push the latest updates.


When using software, it’s best to think ahead of time what your use case is going to be and what features you want it to have. Using cloud backup providers as an example, OneDrive is bundled with Windows and is plug and play. If you wanted to use another provider like Google Drive, it would be important to check that they have a usage plan that suits your needs, has a desktop client, etc.

From a security and privacy perspective, the more software you install, the wider your attack surface becomes and the more trust you have to have in the developers. A perfect example of this is antivirus software. This runs at the kernel level and has access to your entire system. You can choose to use Defender as MS already knows everything you do with your computer, or you can use a third party and trust yet another party with all your sensitive information.

This extends in ways that you wouldn’t think of. Windows has massive privacy issues and that’s just the way it’s designed. There are ways to mitigate a lot of them, but complete privacy is not achievable. Let’s build on my previous paragraph. If you install Steam and run a dozen or so games, a lot of those will come with DRM. DRM is a massive privacy nightmare, regardless of the provider. Many of them try to BS consumers and say otherwise. Most DRM runs at the kernel level and collects massive amounts of private information.

With all that in mind, you can start to think about how to secure your system and design around privacy as much as you are able/want to. If you are really concerned about privacy and/or anonymity, you will need to build a threat model. For the average user, Windows isn’t an issue other than it’s a massive telemetry machine. MS isn’t trying to scam you, they just want to learn as much about you as they can to sell targeted advertising. That has become a massive business these days.

I’m also going to add a note on open source software. Some of the tech community will tell people that the only software that should be used is open source software, which is free to use and has code that the public can see. Just because software is open source doesn’t mean that it’s automatically trustworthy. There have been many instances where malicious code was written into an update and it wasn't caught until machines were getting infected. There have also been cases of software which had been infected coming from places like GitHub. When it comes to determining the software you want to use, you again need to do your due diligence in selecting what is right for you.