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Windows 7: A better way to find drivers

23 Sep 2010   #1

 
A better way to find drivers

Heres how I identify unknown devices and find system specific driver to replace generic windows drivers
To demonstrate, I'm going to identify the "high definition audio device" on a Dell Latitude that was manufactured in 2006 and isn't supported for windows 7
Attachment 99869Attachment 99870

First open device manager.. the easiest way is just to type it into the search bar
right click on the device in question and select properties


click the details tab, select Hardware IDs, and the first thing you want to is find the 4 digit alphanumeric vendor ID number and device ID.
Attachment 99871

Then go to pcidatabase.com and enter the vendor and device number into the two search boxes
Attachment 99874

Then go back to the your computer manufacturers' site and search for the device.. in this case there isn't to be found at either dell or the hardware manufacturer, but this method works even when your device manager comes up as unknown device, although this won't work for everything
Attachment 99872

Attachment 99875

If you don't find a driver that way, try the hardware vendor's website. CNET.com is also a safe place to check as they have a huge variety of drivers. I usually use them as they tend to have newer versions than are available anywhere else

Attachment 99893

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jav View Post
quick question:
For laptops: manufacturer drivers should be priority to hardware one, right?
Most of the time, manufacturers' customizations to drivers simply consist of adding a ton of bloat and the hardware vendors' drivers will work more efficiently. (For example, Dell adds about 60 MB and a completely unnecessary set of processes to wireless drivers but I found one on CNET that works perfectly without anything added. But if you're not highly experienced in setting up laptops use these sources in the following priority:
  • Microsoft update
  • Manfacturers' support site, e.g. support.dell.com, support.toshiba.com, etc
  • HW vendors site
  • Cnet or sourceforge.com
  • other manufacturers' sites (take a lot of skill to make this one work)


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Sep 2010   #2

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

You can also try Unknown Devices 1.4.20
Nice little app that does run portable from USB, that I do believe still works in 7.

It's not a perfect or finished tool, but does provide a lot of information more easily.

After further reviewing this tool in Win 7. It seems a little inadequate any longer.
Well for newer hardware as mentioned in a below post.

It does appear to be a daunting task to keep the tool updated (which can be done).
But certainly not something anyone really wants to do, i do not think.

So, could be a good tool under certain situations, But otherwise, not worth it on newest hardware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #3

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
You can also try Unknown Devices 1.4.20
Nice little app that does run portable from USB, that I do believe still works in 7.

It's not a perfect or finished tool, but does provide a lot of information more easily.
Good tip.. even though it's based on a vendor list from 2007.. I've always done it the hard way though
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Sep 2010   #4
jav

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 SP1
 
 

quick question:
For laptops: manufacturer drivers should be priority to hardware one, right?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2010   #5

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jav View Post
quick question:
For laptops: manufacturer drivers should be priority to hardware one, right?
That depends on the Laptop or Manufacturer itself.

If the Manufacturer does not heavily tweak the crap out of the system and pretty much leaves everything stock harware/driver wise, then You can get them from either. Whoever has the newest.

But some (Like Dell) can make this slightly difficult due to the heavy manipulation of the hardware itself, and the fact that some of the systems do not get all that heavily supported buy hardware manufacturer.

such as, the Dell 1764 is a 64Bit only system. And they have fixed a lot with the BIOS that has allowed 32Bit 7 to work with certain drivers from direct from Intel along with some drivers that do contain 32bit drivers also.

So, really it all depends on the Laptop.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2010   #6

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jav View Post
quick question:
For laptops: manufacturer drivers should be priority to hardware one, right?
That depends on the Laptop or Manufacturer itself.

If the Manufacturer does not heavily tweak the crap out of the system and pretty much leaves everything stock harware/driver wise, then You can get them from either. Whoever has the newest.

But some (Like Dell) can make this slightly difficult due to the heavy manipulation of the hardware itself, and the fact that some of the systems do not get all that heavily supported buy hardware manufacturer.

such as, the Dell 1764 is a 64Bit only system. And they have fixed a lot with the BIOS that has allowed 32Bit 7 to work with certain drivers from direct from Intel along with some drivers that do contain 32bit drivers also.

So, really it all depends on the Laptop.
Good point.. Exactly the reason I recommend letting windows update install drivers before looking anywhere else
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2010   #7

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Well, the problem with some drivers on Windows Updates is, they are not always right.

Many times I have had Drivers downloaded from Windows Updates break a system.
Mainly those drivers are Audio and Video.

The ones that are not usually a problem, are Network, USB, Bluetooth, and some other drivers.

Always get Video and Audio drivers direct from Laptop Manufacturer or Hardware Manufacturer.

Regardless if it is a Desktop or Laptop, or other device.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2010   #8

 

That has happened to me a few times, but not recently. After a few hundred computer set-ups in the past year I've started to get an idea of where to look depending on what kind of device is missing, but trying to put every exception into writing would require more organizational skills than I'm capable of
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2010   #9

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Yeah, or a Book that you could then sell for $29.99

I'm in.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2010   #10

 

I'd go in the process of writing it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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