Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to get devices to run when the installation CDs are not available?

The information here is relevant for Microsoft Windows PCs.  It may not be relevant to non-PCs or non Windows systems.

Many devices require installation of relevant software drivers before they function.  The drivers of a  large number of devices are already included in the Windows directory of the machine, and are installed when the device is plugged in.  If that is the case, it generally means the device has been certified for the operating system.  If not, especially if the device is too new or too old,  the next place to look at would be the site, or on the installation disk that came with the device or with the computer.

If the driver is not available on either of these, it is possible to download the appropriate driver from the website of the device manufacturer or the component manufacturer.  The drivers may usually, but not always, be accessed by going to the Download or Support section of the site, and putting in whatever information is available about the device model or part number and searching the site.

When a new device is attached to a computer, Windows checks to see if it already has certified drivers for it, and if so, happily installs it.  If it does not, or if you prefer, it gives you the option of giving hints as to where else the driver might be.  The various places include any relevant CD or particular media you want it to look at, or the Microsoft update site.  If a suitable driver is found in any of these places, they may be installed.  Otherwise you may have to search the manufacturer's site manually.

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