Decoding driver versions

I’ve never had a great deal of success with my PCs at work. I’m currently on my 5th machine and even this one isn’t behaving itself.

Graphics cards issues

The issue appears to be to do with my graphics cards.  I have two running under Windows 7 Professional (64-bit):

  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 1400
  • NVIDIA Quadro NVS 285

And every couple of days when I boot up my PC at the start of the day I get a Blue Screen of Death complaining that there is an issue with my graphics card.

Of course, it took Windows 7 about 6 months of doing this before it gave me a clue that it was related to my graphics card.

So this morning I took the plunge and upgraded my graphics card drivers. After the post-install reboot everything appears to be OK; even the NVIDIA Control Panel is working again, which is good.

Versions

But the thing that often confuses me is the numbering system of a lot of hardware drivers.

For example, today I downloaded “Quadro driver release 265”, which also describes itself as “version 267.17” but once installed Windows reports that version “8.17.12.6717” has been installed.

Which is a bit like running the installer for version “banana” and then discovering that version “coconut-chipshop-apple-hamster” has been successfully installed.

Why do hardware manufacturers do this? Aren’t computers complicated enough? All I wanted to do was to make sure that the drivers had updated successfully.

It took a minute or two of staring at the two groups of numbers and a little Googling to discover this:

  • Installer version 267.17
  • Installed version: 8.17.12.6717

There are the installer version numbers at the end of the installed version numbers.

How obvious!

Dates

At least the dates should be the same, shouldn’t they?

  • Installer release date: 02 March 2011
  • Installed driver date: 17 February 2011
  • Release notes date: 22 February 2011

Maybe I should just go back to using my Psion 5mx for everything.

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