Finding Unknown and Missing Windows Drivers

Finding Unknown and Missing Windows Drivers

Windows has gotten very good at hardware driver management over the years, but it doesn’t manage every hardware driver situation properly. No matter how “average” you think your system is, you may find yourself looking for Windows drivers and driver information when you install a new system, upgrade a system, or reinstall your Windows operating system. Finding the correct drivers for your Windows hardware can be time-consuming. It can also lead to some unexpected results when you accidentally install the wrong driver.

Where to look for Windows drivers

Some users think that Microsoft will automatically update your hardware drivers. They’re correct to a point. Microsoft will distribute driver updates from manufacturers that provide driver updates to Microsoft, and whose drivers adhere to Microsoft’s driver development policies. While most manufacturers make compliant drivers, many choose to manage their own driver distribution. For Windows users, this means additional work to locate, download and install Windows drivers.

When you’ve completed a new Windows installation or a complete system upgrade, open your Device Manager. The Device Manager will identify unknown devices as either “Unknown Device” or “Other Device.” Windows will also provide a visual indication that something’s not quite right with the device(s) in question. Usually, you’ll see a yellow “caution” icon with an exclamation point to the left of the device listing. The device will be listed as an “Unknown Device.” Windows knows that something is there, but it doesn’t know what the device is, couldn’t identify it, or doesn’t have the correct Windows driver to make the device work properly.

So, if Windows doesn’t know what the device is, and you don’t know what the device is, where do you start? Right-click on the Unknown Device and select Properties from the pop-up. In the pop-up, choose the Details tab. The Details tab will have a “Property” window that can help you identify the mystery device. While there seems to be an unending amount of information available about Device X, there are a few properties that will be more helpful than others. The first two – Device Description and Hardware IDs – come to mind.

Using the hardware ID information – which is equivalent to the device’s “name, rank and serial number,” you can usually identify the device in question. Once you have some basic information, you can go to the device manufacturer’s website (or even do an Internet search for more information) to help you locate the correct driver for the device. Once you’ve located the driver, download and install it. Your “Unknown Device” should begin working immediately.

Driver Detective, a driver software management program, can also help you locate, download and store the current version of any driver your PC needs. Users around the globe have downloaded driver Detective more than a million times. Driver Detective will let you know about driver updates when they happen, so you always have the latest version of your hardware drivers available. Driver Detective will also keep a fresh copy of the current driver handy, so you can quickly reinstall a driver that becomes corrupted or deleted.

Download your copy of Driver Detective today and take the fuss out of managing your PC’s hardware drivers.

Photo Credit: svilen001, via StockXchng