Monday, October 09, 2006

Windows XP: Ways to Install New Device Drivers

Anytime that you install a peripheral on your computer, the operating system (OS) will need a device driver to know how to use it. Windows has four different ways that it handles detecting and installing new device drivers into the OS:
  • Setup Program: This is software that comes with your new device. To install this software, generally requires putting a CD/DVD in your computer or downloading the setup application from the device manufacturer's web site.
    • Note: Some devices require that the installation software is installed first before you hook the hardware up to your computer. This is done to make sure the device is properly detected.
  • Booting Your Computer: Every time Windows starts it scans the system for new hardware that might have been added or removed since it was last on. After the system is fully booted, if new hardware is detected it will check if the system already has the appropriate driver for it. If not, it will request that you provide the location of the driver it needs.
  • New Hardware Scans: Sometimes after you boot Windows, you may not have the right drivers for new hardware that was added at that moment. After you get the right driver, you use the Add Hardware Wizard (select the Add Hardware icon in the control panel) to manually perform the hardware-detection and installation process to install the appropriate device driver.
  • Manual Installation: Sometimes device drivers don't come with an installation program, but instead they come with .INF files. You can right-click these files and choose Install to add these new drivers.

No comments: