Intel motherboards are used in the majority of PCs and notebooks sold in recent years, and they contain a surprising amount of technology. It’s common to find HD audio, graphics, networking, and disk controllers on the motherboard.

Whether you’re using the original PC manufacturer image or a clean install of Windows, chances are one or more of those drivers are out of date. Tracking down updates manually is confusing, to say the least. Fortunately, Intel has now automated the process with a web-based scanner that inventories your current drivers and offers to install the most recent updates.

To start, open Internet Explorer and visit the Intel Driver Update Utility page. (This page also works with Firefox and Chrome, but I recommend those options only if you already have Java installed on your PC and are confortable downloading and installing a Java applet. On my computers, I avoid anything that requires Java.) Click the button labeled “Check your system for the latest updates.” More »

Microsoft released the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 installation software feature update just a couple of days ago, and users should make sure to deploy the refresh in order to make sure that installation tasks will go as smooth as possible.

Customers can also check out KB976902, the knowledge base article that is accompanying the update in order to get an idea of what the refresh is all about.

They’re bound not to miss Microsoft’s reference related to service pack deployments, and in this regard, Windows 7 SP1 will undoubtedly come to mind.

“This software update will be a prerequisite to install service packs. Additionally, this update improves reliability when you install or remove Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 updates and service packs,” the Redmond company states. More »

This is why the operating system received an update set up to ensure that there are no issues in Windows 7 RTM that could prevent the integration of SP1 or additional updates from the Redmond company.

A new release of the System Update Readiness Tool went live this week, and is currently available to customers either through Windows Update or as a standalone download via the Microsoft Download Center.

“This tool is being offered because an inconsistency was found in the Windows servicing store which may prevent the successful installation of future updates, service packs, and software. This tool checks your computer for such inconsistencies and tries to resolve issues if found,” Microsoft stated. More »

Microsoft Fix it got a boost this week with the introduction of an update designed to make it easier for users to find fixes to their issues with Microsoft software.

Fix it is the Redmond company’s online hub offering a comprehensive collection of automated solutions for problems impacting products such as Windows, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Xbox and Zune, Office, Windows Server etc.

Microsoft Fix it has been steadily growing both in terms of usage (the fixes were used an impressive over 156 million times) and as far as the number of fixes is concerned (in excess of 500), an aspect indicative of the initiative’s success.

The software giant has also put in effort to tailor the Fix it Solution Center to users in no less than 35 countries worldwide, providing help in their native language. More »

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.5 Beta testing program is now opened for early adopters with the bits available for download through Microsoft Connect.

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.5 is the successor of MAP Toolkit 5.0 which was released in the summer of 2010, and was focused on streamlining migrations to Windows 7 and Office 2010.

As the official label of the solution accelerator implies, the tool is designed to allow IT professionals to assess the environments in their organization and to plan migrations to such software as Windows 7, Office 2010, and Internet Explorer 8.

However, it appears that with version 5.0 of the MAP Toolkit, Microsoft is also lending a helping hand to admins that will upgrade to IE9. More »