PC service station

Keep your drivers up-to-date automatically, for a fee.

A relatively new Web-based service we've seen more of lately is the driver maintenance site, a Web site that, for a fee, will scan your computer, identify incorrect or out-of-date drivers, and install the proper ones from a vast database of hardware and software drivers. One of them is PC Pitstop, which is both software and a Web site, www.pcpitstop.com. The visually intense site is both a storefront and a portal to forums, newsletters, and other information. It offers numerous free scans for various PC-related issues, all of which seem to lead to the same conclusion: you should get out your credit card.

To use PC Pitstop's services, you need to download Driver Alert, its free scanner tool. Driver Alert probes your system and returns a daunting list of fusty old drivers that simply can't cut it anymore. They're slowing down the team and need to be cut from the roster and replaced with vendor-fresh drivers. PC Pitstop can do that for you, and keep on doing it regularly, for a fee. Whether it's worth it or not depends on your PC maintenance skills, how much trouble you're having, and how much your time is worth.

Since nearly every PC has a few driver-related issues and many users lack the time or skill needed to update or reinstall their drivers, these sites make a good deal of sense for some. PC Pitstop is better than most of its competition. With all such sites, though, it's best to double-check their work yourself.

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