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Top tips for working with drivers

By rickporritt35 ·
I've tried a couple hardware identifyer utilities (belarc, everest etc.) which are certainly very useful but not always conclusive. I've tried a couple of driver manager utilities (Driver Detective and something else (?)) but with very little success with these to date. Can anyone give their top tips for quickly finding the correct drivers online (I've used driverguide.com many times which has been useful) or recommend a really consistently good driver utility of any sort. Any additional 'top tips' for drivers would be appreciated too.

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by TheChas In reply to Top tips for working with ...

The programs and sites you listed are great for finding out and backing up what is installed on a PC. But, very little help in setting up a PC with unknown hardware.

Your most important asset is your eyes.

Inspect the motherboard and plug-in cards. If you cannot identify the card manufacture and model, at least identify the chip-set on the motherboard and chips on the cards.

For really tough to identify PCI devices, check out this site:

http://www.hollgi.de/index_e.html

I myself do not trust or use driver backup utilities. I prefer to get the actual device driver installation files and install the full driver.

System inventory utilities like Belarc, only report what hardware is properly identified in the registry, and are not help with unknown devices.

When setting up a new system, the order of device installation is important.

For Windows Me and older, start with JUST the video card plugged in.

For Windows 2000 and XP, you can leave in all but unknown cards.

ALWAYS install storage device and chip-set drivers first.

I then install the latest supported version of DirectX for the video card, then the video driver and monitor driver.

Remaining devices, I install by my priority for the device.
NIC
Modem
Sound Card
USB and other auxiliary port cards.

After the known or main system devices, shut down and install other cards 1 at a time.

Finish up with outboard peripherals such as scanners and printers.

Then, run Windows update before installing user software.

Be cautious about driver updates from Microsoft. More than once, Windows Update has recommended drivers for devices that were not part of a system I was setting up.
More common is Windows Update wanting to install an older version of a driver because it is "Microsoft Certified".

Chas

Ignore if this is a double post, I received a TR error when I submitted my answer.

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by rickporritt35 In reply to

thanks to all - really useful stuff!

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by TheChas In reply to Top tips for working with ...

The programs and sites you listed are great for finding out and backing up what is installed on a PC. But, very little help in setting up a PC with unknown hardware.

Your most important asset is your eyes.

Inspect the motherboard and plug-in cards. If you cannot identify the card manufacture and model, at least identify the chip-set on the motherboard and chips on the cards.

For really tough to identify PCI devices, check out this site:

http://www.hollgi.de/index_e.html

I myself do not trust or use driver backup utilities. I prefer to get the actual device driver installation files and install the full driver.

System inventory utilities like Belarc, only report what hardware is properly identified in the registry, and are not help with unknown devices.

When setting up a new system, the order of device installation is important.

For Windows Me and older, start with JUST the video card plugged in.

For Windows 2000 and XP, you can leave in all but unknown cards.

ALWAYS install storage device and chip-set drivers first.

I then install the latest supported version of DirectX for the video card, then the video driver and monitor driver.

Remaining devices, I install by my priority for the device.
NIC
Modem
Sound Card
USB and other auxiliary port cards.

After the known or main system devices, shut down and install other cards 1 at a time.

Finish up with outboard peripherals such as scanners and printers.

Then, run Windows update before installing user software.

Be cautious about driver updates from Microsoft. More than once, Windows Update has recommended drivers for devices that were not part of a system I was setting up.
More common is Windows Update wanting to install an older version of a driver because it is "Microsoft Certified".

Chas

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by rickporritt35 In reply to

thanks to all - really useful stuff!

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by wcp In reply to Top tips for working with ...

You may try B?shrat the Sneaky?s DriverPacks.
The driver packs include
1. Chipset
2. CPU
3. Graphics
4. LAN
5. Mass Storage
6. Sound
7. WLAN

The packs are compressed and you need PowerArchiver or WinZip to extract the drivers and burn them to a DVD (Total of about 1GB) or to two CDs.

The packs were intended for unattended Windows XP installation. They would be slipstreamed to a Windows XP CD and XP will install any necessary drivers during Windows installation. You hardly need to install any drivers because the packs included practically al the drivers.

If you install Windows XP the usual way (not unattended), point to the CDs (or DVD) for Windows to install necessary drivers.

http://tinyurl.com/7msrv
http://tinyurl.com/q3xzz
http://tinyurl.com/rl2js
http://tinyurl.com/ounpr

If you need more info or help, please add a comment.

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by rickporritt35 In reply to Top tips for working with ...

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