Monday, January 10, 2011

How to get and install Laptop Drivers

Most manufacturers let you download drivers from their website by entering your computer's model number or serial number. Here are links for a few of the most popular laptop manufacturers. You can usually find driver sites by googling manufacturer name drivers.
Some manufacturers will provide a single download for all the drivers for a given model, others will make you download all of them. You should always download graphics drivers and chipset drivers if they are available. See if Windows' default drivers will work for network cards. If your computer has special keyboard buttons, like volume keys or a backlight, you should download the drivers for those. Other drivers may be optional.

Once you have installed the applicable drivers from manufacturer's website, open the device manager to see what devices still don't have drivers. You can launch the device manager by typing devmgmt.mscinto the start menu or run dialog. Look under Other Devices for any icons with a yellow exclamation mark:

What you want to do is look up the PCI Device ID for each of these devices, then look them up on PCI Vendor and Device Database. This site can tell you the manufacturer of almost any device, and can often determine what the device is. You can then use this information to search online for the driver from either the device manufacturer's website or from 3rd party locations.
To find the PCI device ID, right-click on it in the device manager and choose properties. Go to the details tab and select Hardware IDs from the Property drop-down box.
The vendor ID is the string following VEN_ and the device ID is the string following DEV_. For example, the hardware ID string for my wireless card is PCI\VEN_14E4&DEV_4727&SUBSYS_145C103C&REV_01. The vendor ID is 14E4 and the device ID is 4727. Putting this info into the PCI database reveals that it is a Broadcom Wireless-N WLAN card. You can then use a search engine to find drivers from Broadcom.

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