XPS Desktops

Last reply by 08-19-2022 Unsolved
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1 Copper
1 Copper

Drivers question

Are there any advantages to using Reference drivers vs Dell drivers?

Driver Booster Pro says I need 10 new drivers, DellUpdate says it's all up-to date.

Who to believe?

Replies (13)
10 Diamond

Dell typically doesn't offer the latest hardware drivers. But they validate drivers for their hardware before offering them.

Doesn't mean the component manufacturer's latest drivers won't work. If you update and something isn't right, you can always roll back to the previously installed driver using the roll-back option in Device Manager.

Also consider what the latest driver adds, improves or fixes to see it you really want/need it...


   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

4 Beryllium

When you say 'Reference Drivers', I assume you meant Video drivers.

Dell supplies and provides updates only for ones it verifies. They do not update anywhere as fast as the Video card vendor's do.

Matter of fact, when I had Nvidia problems Dell Support suggested I get the latest from Nvidia. In that particular card case, Dell's Nvidia cards are manufactured for them by 2 companies, one being MSI. On the MSI site for driver download you are told to go to Nvidia to get them.

I suspect all drivers are in the same ''state', latest Dell Verified to work with the system. Doesn't mean newer ones will work or not produce problems.

Can try them and Rollback if need be I guess?

I guess it is a personal choice, be safe and sure or go to the latest, especially if it is known to fix a problem you might have or, in the case of a video driver, support a new game you want to get or fix an old one. Nvidia does describe these new items in its Read Me's.


Irv S.

8 Platinum

@rstepper wrote:

Are there any advantages to using Reference drivers vs Dell drivers?

Driver Booster Pro says I need 10 new drivers, DellUpdate says it's all up-to date.

Who to believe?

I think you can just go-ahead and completely uninstall Driver Booster Pro.

You can get your BIOS/Firmware updates from Dell (also updates for any Dell-Developed software).

You can get everything else you need from Windows-Update ... except your video drivers which you can get from nvidia.com or amd.com .... if you want (or just run on the ones you have installed now).

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5 Tungsten

Do not use/trust third party Drivers app. In my experience they create problem and some times on purpose to keep the consumer pay for their premium sub. Always use Dell drivers as they are released after thorough testing for your hardware. 

SupportAssist or Dell updates are best app for this. 



Well, from one Tech Expert to another, at least for the Nvidia drivers, even Dell Support will tell you to Try Nvidia's.

See, Dell DOES test what they post, and in some cases, they HAVE been 'tweaked' by the vendor to have them work well/better with the card they do install. If you look at the FAQ's for the various XPS's, like this one for the 8040, https://www.dell.com/community/Desktops-Wiki/FAQ-XPS-8940/ta-p/7675306 you'll see that for video cards, almost all the Nvidia ones are made for them by MSI. Yes, my Nvidia card IS different physically from what MSI sells. On their web site support page for drivers they do tell you to go to Nvidia to get the lastest drivers.

By the way, Windows Update will push drivers onto your PC that are newer than what Dell had installed or has for d/l?

I don't doubt your statement that some can cause problems, but it shouldn't be a blanket statement for all drivers.



Irv S.


I used the word Third party as OP is using an called "Driver Booster".  Even you run this app on a fully updated system it will tell you a Dozen updates are are available. In Windows 7 and earlier OS these third apps were helpful now they are not so only use mal practices to get more customer.  




I picked up on "Always use Dell drivers ".

Which is not always the case.

All of those 'we will find drivers for you' programs at best are, well, wrong. As you stated, they will show files for other Windows versions, if you have a license, they will show the next version you don't have a license for (V2 vs. V3), and even ones that wouldn't even install on your PC. They usually key off the version number you have solely. If you do know what you have, what the files is for, and why it is out of date, one could use them as a 'reference' only, not get the files via the program, but go to the vendors site and validate you need it and then get it from them.



Irv S.

3 Silver

Regarding Nvidia video drivers such as for GeForce RTX 2060 Super, how do you correlate the driver version between Dell and Nvidia?    Mine currently shows in device mgr it's (date: 5/4/2022) versus what is currently showing on nvidia.com as 516.94 (studio version) or 516.94 (game version) with same release date of 8/9/2022.  I have no idea if the one I have installed is for gaming or studio use.

10 Diamond

@ishmael  You can compare the numbers using the NVidia Control Panel and Device Manager.

Open NVidia Control Panel and click System Information link in lower left corner of that screen. For my  XPS 8930 (Win 10), the Control Panel says "driver version 516.40". 

Latest NVidia driver installed by Windows Update (yesterday) is listed in Update History under Driver Updates as, and Device Manager shows the exact same number (  So the last 5 numbers are the same as shown in the NVidia Control Panel, but the decimal point is in a different place.


   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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