Have you ever rebuilt a computer using OEM operating system discs only to be left with a dozen unknown devices in the device manager?
This can often be a real pain, especially if you don’t want to have to take the PC apart, and remove each piece of hardware in order to ID it. However there are a few ways to get around this problem, one of which is to use Microsoft’s Windows Update site
. Not only does this offer all the latest security updates, but it also contains driver updates as well. This has often helped me in the past to not only identify the device but to download the latest version of the driver.
NB: To locate drivers using Microsoft Update, choose the custom search and not the express search, ensure you select any additional downloads from the ‘Hardware Updates’ category.
Failing that, Driver-Soft.com
have an application called Driver Genius Professional which is also capable of locating that mysterious piece of hardwares drivers…
Failing that, there is one last thing you can try, and thats to do it the manual way.. Each and every hardware device hidden dark inside the murky depths of your PC’s case carries important identification information in the form of a ‘Device ID Number’ and a ‘Vendor ID Number’. Both of which are easily accessible using the properties window in device manager. To get them, all you need to do is:
- load Device Manager
- Right click on the device in question
- click properties
- navigate to the Details tab.
On that tab you should see a drop down box listing all the property’s of the card, select Hardware ID’s from the list and note down the ‘VEN_’ and ‘Dev_’ numbers.
Once you have obtained this information you can then use the service offered by the PCI Database
, the site essentially lists details for a huge number of vendors (hardware manufacturers) and devices in a searchable database. Click the link above to load the site and then enter the numbers after the VEN and Dev strings.
So, for example here you have a hardware ID for an ethernet adapter:
Breaking this information string down, we can see that the vendor ID number is 10EC and the device is 8029.
A quick search using the PCI Database
shows us that the vendor is Realtek, and the device ID shows the exact model number of the device in question. In this case it’s a Realtek RTL8028
So as you can see, with very little effort you can quite easily pin point the exact driver required without even picking up your tool kit!