Configuring Windows Device Driver Installations

Configuring Windows Device Driver Installations

When you install a Windows device driver, the OS is configured by default to check a special directory for the device driver installation files. You can configure Windows to check other files for device drivers, however. The process is relatively easy, but you will need administrator rights to modify the registry.

Looking for additional device driver folders

If, for some reason, you want Windows to check for device drivers in a different location (or an additional location), you’ll need to make some changes to the Windows registry. To make changes to the registry, you’ll need administrator privileges, so one of the first steps will be to log in as the administrator of the computer you want to reconfigure.

Windows already checks any DevicePath setting that’s been defined in the registry, as well as Windows Update on the Web in its search for drivers and driver updates. To get Windows to search other locations for device drivers, fire up the registry editor by typing regedit into the Start menu.

Within the registry editor, locate the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version

In the Details pane of the registry editor, double-click DevicePath and examine the entry (or entries) that are already present. You will use the same syntax to identify additional search paths for Windows. You may include the full path name, starting with the disk label. You can also enter network locations and/or environment variables. Enter each path to be searched on a separate line and end each line with a semi-colon. Make sure that

%systemroot%\inf

remains in the search path. (This directive should already be in the registry. Don’t change this path! The system needs it to operate properly.)

Any sub-folders in the path you specify will be included in the search, even if you have not specifically named them. Including C:\ by itself in your DevicePath statement will cause Windows to search every folder on the C:\ drive! That may provide a very thorough search, but it will also be time-consuming, so don’t get carried away here! Be sure you’ve correctly entered each path name before saving your changes to the registry.

When you have finished, close the registry editor. Your changes will take effect when you restart your system. Check the operation of your computer carefully, to make sure that you have not made any typos in the registry editor! If something’s amiss, re-enter the registry editor and check your typing for errors.

As an added security, download and install Driver Detective on your computer. Driver Detective will manage all of your currently installed drivers, keep them up-to-date and keep backup copies of your drivers in the event one or more must be replaced. Driver Detective saves you the hassle of remembering to look for driver updates, and ensures that you have the correct updates for your computer hardware.

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