Windows

Video: Troubleshoot Windows Vista drivers with Driver Query and DriverView

When troubleshooting a Windows Vista driver error, it's always a good first step to gather information about that driver. Bill Detwiler shows you two handy tools that can help you solve those pesky Vista driver problems.

When Windows Vista was first released, many early adopters complained of device driver incompatibilities with older hardware. Since then, most hardware vendors have released updated, Vista compatible drivers, but unfortunately even updating your drivers doesn't always put a stop to erratic driver behavior. In this IT Dojo, I'll show you two handy tools that can help you solve those pesky Vista driver problems--Driver Query and DriverView.

For those of you who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or you can also read Greg Shulz's article, "Troubleshoot Vista system drivers more efficiently with these tools," on which this video is based.

For help troubleshooting driver problems, check out my previous IT Dojo video, "Find and delete hidden Windows Vista and XP device drivers," which shows you how to uncover old Windows drivers and root them out of your system once and for all.

I'd also like to find out which party garners most of your ire when you troubleshoot driver problems.

You can also sign up to receive the latest IT Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

32 comments
doug.kappler
doug.kappler

I cannot seem to get the driverquery command to work that creates a csv. I keep getting access denied. any suggestions? Done of Vista Ultimate and Win 7 Ultimate.

larryott3@hotmail.com
larryott3@hotmail.com

I installed Windows7 on a Sony PC and the vendor's website doesn't even have Vista's drivers for their hardware. Vendor's should be held with their feet to the fire and made to support the hardware they market.

reidera
reidera

I love the outtakes.

kwolf
kwolf

Went directly to Nirsoft site to download the Driverview utility. Trend Micro blocked the site with the following reason: URL address: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/driverview.zip Rating: Highly Suspicious Threat details: Associated with spam or possibly compromised. What the heck? Anyone else run across this? Update: the problem is not the site itself, but when you attempt to download the .zip file.

theiceman.ice
theiceman.ice

So lame, you didn't show any thing but how to solve drivers problems, U just show how to use an application. must say i'm very disappointed. for a sec a thug i'm about to learn how to pin point a problematic Driver.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Windows is notorious for driver problems, and even Mac OS isn't without a driver hiccup now and then. Whether you're troubleshooting your own machine or a client's, when you encounter a driver problem, who deserves most of your wrath? Take the poll: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=851

jprice
jprice

Just tried the driverquery command on on my XP Pro machine. Works the same. Cool tip Bill.

kmdennis
kmdennis

And check the permissions of the folder you are trying to extract it to. Maybe simply copy the file to your own created folder and run it from their, or specify a different path to dump the file

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

If the command is failing to create the CSV file, you likely have a permissions issue. It's possible that the account from which you're running the command can't write to the root directory on you C drive. Try redirecting the output file to a different location, such as a temp folder. You'd do this will the following command: Driverquery /fo csv /v > %temp%\\alldrivers.csv

jimduty
jimduty

The problem is not the driver, it is the OS. WinXP is the international standard for business computing. Companies have trillions of dollars worth of peripherals for which there is not now, and never will be a Vista or Vista 2.0/Windows 7. In this economy no manufacturer is going to spend money to rewrite drivers for products they no longer sell and no company is going to replace old equipment that functions perfectly well just to accommodate a new non-standard OS.

tonycopp
tonycopp

Why should vendors be forced to modify their perfectly useable hardware under the full range of OS conditions when the device was conceived and executed to support future business hoops that M$ invents to own and control the business which is their only business model: DOMINATION?

kmdennis
kmdennis

I will try it at work tomorrow since we use Trend. Maybe just disable and download. I use McAfee and it was good. Maybe Trend is just too restrictive. Set a rule to allow Zip for you machine or download it on a Flash drive.

paul.willy
paul.willy

Thanks for the reminder about driverquery, I forgot about it. I have solved more problems with pnputil, i.e. adding drivers to the driver store so non-admins can install pnp hardware without needing me, and enumerating 3rd party drivers in the driver store. Paul

pjthomas
pjthomas

In the past I have used RadarSync which is free and will potentially identify software and drivers that are out of date. The free version won't take you to where you need to go to update the software or drivers but you can do that yourself once you know what software or driver is out of date etc. You can get Radarsync from here http://download.cnet.com/RadarSync-Free-Edition/3000-20432_4-10265194.html

kmdennis
kmdennis

Not only is this pathetic kind of misleading. >>>When troubleshooting a Windows Vista driver error, it's always a good first step to gather information about that driver. Bill Detwiler shows you two handy tools that can help you solve those

TheFinalFrontier
TheFinalFrontier

Driver compatibility has always plagued Windows OS. I think the device manufacturer should provide a driver if the OS does not provide one. With the (thousands) of devices in the world, it's not always possible for MS to just know about everything that could conceivably be plugged in or installed. Note on the Nirsoft product. Works ok, but gives an error locating any file when selecting file properties from the interface (f8), Windows cannot find the file. I tried running in admin mode also with same results.

n.gurr
n.gurr

I just wanted to recommend two tools. Unknown Devices from Halfdone Software is a free tool that often provides more details on drivers which are coming up unknown after a rebuild. http://www.halfdone.org/ukd/ The other great tool that I have found is driver packs. These a slipstreamed onto a Vista or Xp disk to provide lots more drivers than the standard. It certainly has saved me a lot of time doing rebuilds, although it takes longer to install. http://driverpacks.net/ I am interested in tools that back up a working system's drivers, does anyone have any suggestions?

doug.kappler
doug.kappler

Bill, you are correct. What is odd is that I am logged in as the sole admin account and still cannot write to the root directory in Vista Ultimate and Win7 Ultimate. No problem, however, writting to root directory in XP Pro. Thanks!

kwolf
kwolf

the pages on the site are not being blocked. only the link that contains the .zip file for download gets blocked. Apparently the author of these tools has had and continues to have problems with anti-virus apps and false positives. See Bill Detwiler's post above.

kwolf
kwolf

I guess I will have to download it from home. Trend can be a pain sometimes.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I'm sorry you feel the video's description was misleading. Solving Windows driver problems is often a process of trial and error, and as I state in the video "it's always a good first step to gather information about that driver." Both of the tools I discuss in the video help you gather that information and are therefore helpful to the troubleshooting process. Once you have this information, you can consider removing and reinstalling the problem device, updating the device's current driver, rolling back to an earlier driver, or dumping the device altogether. Unfortunately, no "tool" exists that can solve all your driver problems. You can try things like Microsoft's Driver Verifier (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244617), but even that can't fix a badly written driver. There are countless combinations of operating systems, computers, and peripherals, and therefore countless possible solutions.

pjthomas
pjthomas

Great way of getting a list of all your drivers. I also tried verifier at run command but had trouble getting out of it when it just appeared to continually reboot my machine. Would like to see some advice on best way of identifying problem drivers and fixing them. All the 'pay for' software appears to be rubbish.

M
M

You wanted to know of a prog that will make a backup of all the drivers from a fully WORKING PC. The one I always use is 'DriverMax'. It collects all the drivers and dumps 'em to another drive in a neat hierarchy of folders.

mjbdiver
mjbdiver

Double Driver is the tool you're looking for. It lists all the drivers installed on your system and then lets you choose which ones to back up. Great tool. http://www.boozet.org/dd.htm

TLComp
TLComp

Bill: Thanks for showing these tools. Perhaps you could do a followup Dojo on how to use the info to help solve a problem? TimC

jimduty
jimduty

"Once you have this information, you can consider removing and reinstalling the problem device, updating the device's current driver, rolling back to an earlier driver, or dumping the device altogether." Or do the obvious, dump the OS and go back to back to the industry standard that has been working al along.

n.gurr
n.gurr

It looks really quite good, I will make use of it in future I am sure.