Hunting For Windows Drivers? Information You'll Need To Know

Hunting For Windows Drivers? Information You'll Need To Know

If you’re on the hunt for Windows drivers, either as a maintenance task or because you’re attempting to rebuild a non-functional (or malfunctioning) system, you’ll need to know some information about your computer and your installed hardware. But if you’re not familiar with the process, where do you find this information?

The Driver Hunt Starts With The Operating System

You’ll need to know a few critical pieces of information, which I’ve outlined here. Since this entry is written for beginners, some readers may take this information for granted, but the number of users who don’t really know much about their computers might actually surprise you.

First, know your manufacturer. Normally, this information is on the outside of the computer in the form of logos or labels. Was your computer made by Dell? Toshiba? Hewlett-Packard? Acer? Find the manufacturer and model information. You’ll need this if you’re looking for updated drivers from your hardware manufacturer.

Second, know your processor. What kind of processor do you have, and what is its speed? You may need to know whether your processor is a single core, dual core, quad core, etc. You can use the built-in Device Manager to tell you about your processor. The Device Manager is located in the Control Panel, which is accessed from the Start Menu. Within the Device Manager, you’ll see a special entry for Processors. Click on the arrow icon next to Processors to open up this section. You’ll find one entry for each processor core that’s installed on your computer. For example, if you have a dual core processor, you should see two entries in this section. The entries will also tell you what kind of processor is installed and its operating speed. That information may be important in the hunt for drivers.

Third, know your installed hardware. The “installed hardware” you’re most likely to have on a standard desktop or laptop configuration includes a video or graphics adapter, a network adapter, a mouse or other pointing device, (like a track pad), a keyboard, a sound card, and USB controllers of some sort. There are other “standard” hardware devices, but this gives you an idea of the basics. If your computer has a special purpose, you may have additional hardware installed that is unique to your needs. A laptop will also have batteries, and there will be some hardware and software used to manage the connection between the batteries and the computer.

Knowing who made your network adapter, for example, is a requirement for downloading new or updated drivers. Some manufacturers use a single type of adapter, while other manufacturers use whatever adapter happens to be available. Two computers that come off of the assembly line in succession may have different network adapters!

The “mix-and-match” nature of computer hardware is one primary reason I recommend Driver Detective. Driver Detective tracks the hardware you have installed on your computer, and locates the exact drivers you need for your hardware and operating system. You don’t have to fiddle with looking up model numbers on installed hardware. Driver Detective does this for you.

Millions of users have downloaded Driver Detective and use it to monitor and maintain their drivers. It saves work, and you can be sure that you get the drivers your computer needs as soon as they’re available.

Photo Credit: Ian D, via Flickr