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I just reinstalled my os, now my hardware dosen't work - why drivers are important?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by cybersloth, Mar 14, 2010.

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  1. cybersloth

    cybersloth Thread Starter

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    I have no sound?
    My screen is chunky!!
    I can't connect to my router??
    My device manager shows '?' Unknown Device or PCI Device....

    Dose this sound familiar?

    Ok here's how your programs are connected to your hardware in a logical sense, this will help you understand the importance of drivers.

    Program/Application - Word, Games, Internet Browser.

    Operating system (OS) - Windows XP, Vista, 7.

    Drivers - Drivers are software that instruct the operating system on how to talk to the hardware

    Firmware/BIOS - Pre programmed instructions for hardware, in some cases you may need to 'FLASH' the firmware or bios

    Hardware - This is the physical parts of your computer, the chips and wires.

    Each stage is necessary to get to the next, if you don't have the drivers installed then the hardware won't work.
    If you think some hardware doesn’t need drivers because you haven’t installed them yourself, YOU ARE WRONG, the drivers are just native to the OS (included in the OS).
    It is always important to install drivers for major hardware (VGA, Sound, etc) even if the OS has one, because you will get the best from your hardware this way.

    So now I guess you want to know where to find the drivers??

    Although there are many, many driver sites and little applications, and online driver detectors; some work, some don't, some are spyware/maul ware.
    THE BEST PLACE TO FIND A DRIVER IS THE MANUFACTURER, although some proprietary sites are hard to navigate 99.9% of the time they will have the driver.

    Finding the right driver???

    Proprietary Machines (eg. Dell, HP, IBM)
    Look for the model number on the back or bottom, most manufacturers have on there web sites tips to find these numbers and also the format of these numbers.
    However if you have changed/upgraded something inside your PC this won't help, for the parts changed see Custom Machines.

    Custom Machines (someone built it for me)
    Custom machines are usually a better choice, being more cost effective and built specifically for your needs (BEWARE - Small PC shops are not all trustworthy).
    So here you need to identify each component and then locate its driver/s, these include but are not limited to:

    Motherboard (MoBo) - Gigabyte, ASUS, Intel, etc.
    Video Card (VGA) Chipset - nVidia, ATI, etc.
    Network Interface Card (NIC) or (LAN) - 3com, D-Link, Netcomm, etc.
    And any other adapter card - TV Card, RAID Card, Dialup Modem, etc.


    Most manufacturers will have a driver download page where you can get the driver based on the model.

    Often your motherboard has sound and video built in, these are called “On Board”, and by searching for your MoBo you will get all the drivers needed.

    So basically you need to know the following info:
    1. Manufacturers name.
    2. Model number of hardware component, including any prefix or suffix.
    3. The OS that you need the driver for.

    In the event that you cant get drivers from the board manufacturer you can manually search for drivers for any given device by imputing the chip numbers printed on that devices chip (chips are little black square/rectangular bits on a board that have many legs that are soldered to the board).
    For example, I have a Gigabyte GA-M68SM-S2L MoBo, although I can get the drivers from Gigabyte, if I couldn’t and I wanted to get the driver for the on board NIC, I could search Google for “RTL8211BL Driver” RTL8211BL is the number of the chip that controls the on board LAN and is clearly printed on the chip it’s self, and I can find the driver that way.

    So as you can see not everything to do with your computer can be done from your monitor, usually it is better and more accurate to LOOK AT THE HARDWARE.

    Finally, if you are going to reinstall your OS but your old OS is still functional try going to your device manager and write down the device model numbers for your hardware before you format your drive.
    Also many driver files will be saved in a folder in the root directory eg. C:\Driver\...

    I hope this helps someone NOT ask the same questions over and over.

    I also ask that other Tech Guys add to this post to provide different ways of explaining the concepts here, and add additional information, so more people can understand.

    HAVE A NICE DAY
    cybersloth

    I take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information here.
    Product/Brand names are copyright and belong to there respective owners.
     
  2. Ent

    Ent Trusted Advisor

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    Josiah
    Good stuff. Why don't you put this into the library. It'll be more accessible, and easier for others to update.
     
  3. cybersloth

    cybersloth Thread Starter

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    I feel kinda dumb asking but how do you do that??
     
  4. Ent

    Ent Trusted Advisor

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    Click the link to the Library at the top of the site, and Log in with your TSG username. Then put the name you want for the article, say http://library.techguy.org/wiki/Why Drivers are important in the address bar. Paste the article in, and you can use the buttons to get your formatting right.

    You'll also want to put at least one category at the bottom, e.g. [[Category: Windows]] to make sure people get a link to it.
     
  5. cybersloth

    cybersloth Thread Starter

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  6. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    A simple solution to that problem?

    Identify the devices(chipset, display, sound, network) for that computer.

    Obtain and save the current drivers for them.

    Burn the drivers to a CD-R and then test the CD-R to make sure the driver files can be read and installed.

    Reinstall XP.

    Install the drivers from the CD-R for the devices that didn't get drivers installed during the install of XP.

    --------------------------------------------------------------
     
  7. cybersloth

    cybersloth Thread Starter

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    that's cool, you could also us a USB disk as USB drivers are native to almost all recent operating systems.

    It's also important to note that the purpose of the document i have created is to help people gain a better understanding of what's going on with this process rather than the specific method of performing the install or re-install.

    Thanks
    cybersloth
     
  8. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    I didn't mention or advise using a USB thumb drive because I've found CD-R's to be more reliable for storing and installing device drivers.

    Whenever I get a computer, one of the first things that I do is get the devices identified and then get the current drivers for them downloaded and saved and then burn them off to a CD-R. This saves a lot of hassle and time later if the operating system needs to be reinstalled.

    Your article was good and informative, so I'm sure that forum members will make good use it.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
     
  9. cybersloth

    cybersloth Thread Starter

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    Thanks flavallee,

    And you are right about cd's being more reliable and perminent, also i have found that usb can be flaky at times and not just with storage devices.
     
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