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Windows 7: Does "Intel INF" ever really install anything?

10 Oct 2012   #1

Win7 Home 64b
Does "Intel INF" ever really install anything?

I'm trying to find out if I have the latest chipset drivers. I'm more stubborn than skilled, I hope someone here knows more about how drivers work.

Take first, as a simpler and more straight-forward example of how I thought it always worked, the most common Realtek LAN driver. In the downloaded package, in the same folder as the .inf file (rt64win7.inf), there also is a .sys file (rt64win7.sys) which I assume is the driver, and there also are 2 DLL files (RtNicprop64.DLL and RTNUninst64.dll) and I can guess they are used for viewing properties and uninstall. If I look at my NIC in the Device Manager, under Drivers / More Info, these 3 are listed as the driver files. Also, if I look in rt64win7.inf, there are references to all 3 mentioned .sys and .dll files (e g under heading [SourceDisksFiles]). So it all makes sense.

There are 2 chipset drivers. The ME driver seems understandable. But when it comes to Intel INF installer, there are several things that to me look like they are never used:
  • The downloaded package consists of only .inf and .cat files, no related code (as in .sys or .dll files).
  • If I run pnputil.exe -e, make a list of all oemXX.inf files that say "Intel", and open these in C:\Windows\Inf, then I can see the files from Intel that are actually being used, including the original file names (before Windows renamed them to oemXX.inf). And from that I can see that the .inf files in use never are the ones that came with the Intel Inf package (the used drivers I guess are something Microsoft found)
  • If I compare all .inf files in the downloaded Intel INF package with all .inf files in C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository, only 3 are in common: cougcore.inf, cougsmb.inf and SNB2009.inf. But in these, there are no references to any .sys or .dll file, and under the heading [SourceDisksFiles] it is just blank.
  • Looking closer at what driver is used for the SM Bus: In Device Manager I see that it uses intelsmb.sys (and intelsmb.inf, via Info / INF name), and that the device's ID is 1C22. I think the Intel INF installer is supposed to match that ID to what devices the .inf files list that they support. Now, with the Intel INF package there came a newer driver for the SM Bus, cougsmb.inf. Both cougsmb.inf and intelsmb.inf are in the FileRepository directory, so it looks like the system has tried to install them at some point. And in both these .inf files, 1C22 is listed under "supported devices". The cougsmb.inf is newer, and it is specifically for Cougar Point chipsets, which is what is on the H67 chipset boards like mine. Still the system uses intelsmb.inf.
So it looks like my system uses old chipset drivers (probably whatever Microsoft found at the original install), and that the files that should install new drivers are empty.

Am I missing something?

My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Does "Intel INF" ever really install anything?

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