Will technology ever catch up?

XP: Finding and Installing Drivers, Part 0

Posted by cascadehush on October 2, 2006

Whether you’re reloading Windows or adding/replacing hardware, you are probably going to need drivers. Windows XP has a large number of drivers built in. Sometimes these default drivers are best, but sometimes they should just be viewed only as a temporary solution.

You may have a driver disk that came with the hardware. Often these drivers are useless, but occasionally they are essential. If your hardware is from some obscure manufacturer you may not be able to download a driver. OTOH, drivers are often updated so it’s usually worth searching online for more recent versions.

You may find drivers that are provided by the manufacturer of the hardware, such as Gigabyte, Asus or MSI. Often these are just re-packaged drivers written by the chipset manufacturers, like VIA, SiS or nVidia. You need to decide which driver you should be looking for.

The Device Manager can help you identify which drivers are missing, but it can be deceiving. There are some motherboard chipset drivers which aren’t necessary for the system to function, but without them the system will not perform optimally. These drivers are not flagged by the Device Manager as missing.

I’ll be discussing all of these issues in a irregular series of posts, along with specific details, personal experiences and general principles. When it’s all done I hope I will have compiled the ultimate current guide to finding and installing drivers for Windows XP.

The series continues with Part 1.0 – Motherboard Chipset Drivers.

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