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Windows 7: Installing and updating drivers in 7



Installing and updating drivers in 7

All the steps
Published by Frostmourne
30 Nov 2009
Published by

This guide is broken up into a number of parts:
  • Intro to drivers
  • Driver guidelines
  • Finding & updating drivers
  • Using Driver Sweeper
  • Device Manger updates
INTRO:

Drivers instruct Windows exactly what hardware you have and what it does, along with any specific features. Manufacturers usually release new drivers frequently to keep their products updated and add new features. Performance is also usually improved, so it is absolutely vital to keep all your drivers updated. Use a driver sweeper for some drivers too.


GUIDELINES:
  • Install them in safe mode if you can. Otherwise, use safe mode if a normal 7 install fails. If you've built a new pc, then you'll most likely install the drivers in 7, not safe mode.
  • Don't bother with driver programs. Get them yourself. Do you trust a random app to stick a driver in the right place and ensure its installed correctly on top of a driver install? Use them only - only - if you really can't find drivers and then uninstall them.
  • Reboot. Always reboot after each driver. Even better after you install them, reboot again later in the day.
  • Make sure it matches your hardware and for laptops, the model, and whether its x86 or x64.
  • Create a folder in your browser with links to your hardware and check this once a week.
  • Use Driver Sweeper for your graphics card and sound drivers. This will clean up any leftover junk in safe mode.
  • Try and find WHQL - Windows Hardware Quality Labs - drivers that have been certified by Microsoft.
  • Keep a backup of the latest drivers on an external hard disk in case 7 dies. If you use a backed up image, then recent drivers are available.
FINDING & UPDATING DRIVERS:

Finding drivers is usually easy. First you need to find out what is in your pc. I'd recommend HWInfo32. Install it and open it. Note the chipset and BIOS type/date then close the summary window. Then open up the tabs:

Name:  HWIN.png
Views: 10511
Size:  41.6 KB

The drivers you want to update:
  • Chipset
  • BIOS
  • NIC (Network Interface Device) for Ethernet and Wireless.
  • Sound
  • Graphics Card
  • DVD drive firmware if necessary
  • Anything proprietary if necessary, such as Webcam etc.
Once you know the drivers, google any with the manufacturer such as nvidia driver and then bookmark the link in a folder. Download the drivers and then reboot after each one. If you have any problems open a thread in the drivers sub-forum or PM me. The BIOS will be from the PC manufacturer or the motherboard manufacturer and chipset most likely from AMD, Intel, Nvidia, or SiS:


AMD: AMD Chipsets


SIS: SiS - Welcom to Silicon Integrated Systems Corporation.


NVIDIA: Drivers - Download NVIDIA Drivers


INTEL: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Sear...lation+Utility

DRIVER SWEEPER:

Use Driver Sweeper if you are updating some drivers. Driver Sweeper is a program that will remove leftovers from key drivers, namely graphics and sound. The first thing to do is to ensure that you have new and possibly old drivers on hand. Also, if you have 2 graphics cards - I have Intel and Nvidia in my ultraportable - don't do this. The manufacturer will most likely have different instructions. Otherwise, this should work, along with SLI/Crossfire. Uninstall the drivers from control panel with the exception of ATI drivers. If you have ATI run the new installer, uninstall the old drivers, reboot, and then use Driver Sweeper. Reboot into 7 again and then re-run the Catalyst installer, this time choosing to install the new driver. For anything else uninstall anything other related like control panels. Reboot at the end:

Installing and updating drivers in 7-installed.png

Reboot into safe mode and then run driver sweeper.

Installing and updating drivers in 7-sweeper.jpg


Select Analyse and then clean - choose the right drivers you want removed! It will be all of them, just select the right ones above. Reboot once more into safe mode and install the newest drivers. Then reboot into Windows. Use driver sweeper if it can clean up any of your drivers. This will most likely be sound and display, but the app is updated and some more support will come for other bits of hardware.

DEVICE MANAGER UPDATES:

In device manager, right click the device and select update, try the internet and then try choosing from installed drivers. Also, use the Unknown Devices app from Halfdone Development to identify any hardware (usually) that has a question mark.

Otherwise install any drivers over old ones unless you find different instructions for the piece of hardware. The .txt readme will have instructions or the site. Some installers uninstall old drivers, tell you to reboot, then run the installer again to install the new ones. After you install graphics drivers re-run the Windows Experience Index assessment. If you follow these simple steps your PC will run better and driver problems shouldn't exist.. If you can't get any 7 drivers, then it might time for new hardware that has support.



v2.0
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30 Nov 2009   #1
rsvr85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Nice tutorial, thanks Frostmourne

It's maybe worth mentioning that instead of using HWinfo32, using Device manager can yield very similar results without using a 3rd party app???
Also, the SIS & NVIDIA links are broken.

+1 rep

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

30 Nov 2009   #2
iseeuu

 
 

Nice job!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Dec 2009   #3
Frostmourne

Windows 7 Ultimate x86-64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by rsvr85 View Post
Nice tutorial, thanks Frostmourne

It's maybe worth mentioning that instead of using HWinfo32, using Device manager can yield very similar results without using a 3rd party app???
Also, the SIS & NVIDIA links are broken.

+1 rep
Links fixed - HWInfo will give you virtually everything in a great app. Better then device manager.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2009   #4
mitchell64

Windows Seven Home Premium 32bit SP1
 
 

Thank You Frostmourne, Excellent guide and very handy Resource.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2010   #5
gregrocker
Microsoft MVP

 

Why would we need to update our Chipset drivers, when MS has all of the latest drivers in installer and via WIndows Updates?

This isn't XP or Vista. They spent a fortune sponsoring WHQL partnership with all manufacturers to build Windows 7 drivers, leveraging their support to get manufacturers not to hold out as they did in Vista and to get them done on deadline.

Since they paid the bill MS has these drivers first this time. Then only exception I've come across yet are two Linksys USB adapters.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2010   #6
Frostmourne

Windows 7 Ultimate x86-64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Why would we need to update our Chipset drivers, when MS has all of the latest drivers in installer and via WIndows Updates?

This isn't XP or Vista. They spent a fortune sponsoring WHQL partnership with all manufacturers to build Windows 7 drivers, leveraging their support to get manufacturers not to hold out as they did in Vista and to get them done on deadline.

Since they paid the bill MS has these drivers first this time. Then only exception I've come across yet are two Linksys USB adapters.
Wrong. The chipset driver for my motherboard included a pair of filter/PCI bridge drivers. I would never rely on Windows Update for any drivers - exactly why I downloaded the newest ones and installed them before connecting to the internet for the first time with a new build. The chipset I left till later. Only update has been for a PCI modem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2010   #7
zay

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

I would rather rely on a driver from a manufacturer than from MS. Great tutorial, the app for the unknown is back in 2007, I guess the guy gave up on it. Or does the one from 2007 still work great on Windows 7? I have been using a free app called drivermax for my unknown driver issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2010   #8
Frostmourne

Windows 7 Ultimate x86-64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zay View Post
I would rather rely on a driver from a manufacturer than from MS. Great tutorial, the app for the unknown is back in 2007, I guess the guy gave up on it. Or does the one from 2007 still work great on Windows 7? I have been using a free app called drivermax for my unknown driver issues.
DriverMax is junk - the whole point of this thread is to get the right drivers yourself - would you rely on an app that decides where to stick the driver? As for Unknown Devices it works so that's enough.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jan 2010   #9
zay

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

That is what I am saying, I use it to identify my unknown drivers, not for updating or installing them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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