Install Windows Driver

Drivers, once found need to be installed. Updating the drivers is a straightforward process, once you’ve been shown how to do it. Here we’re going to look at installing drivers on Windows XP, though despite the differences, all the Windows versions have some common features so you should have no trouble figuring it out if you don’t run XP.

Before we start there is one key thing we need check for the driver installation to go smoothly. Have you got the right driver? Don’t be tempted to use the NT driver for an XP computer, nor is it worth using a driver that is designed for a model that is ‘close but not quite the same’ as your piece of hardware. If it’s an external piece of hardware the model number etc are usually on there somewhere, either on top or maybe under the unit (where you’ll often find the serial number), so check them. Also think about if you really need to change over your driver, particularly if you’re considering something with a BETA in the title. Take this to mean unstable (beta means ‘in testing’ or unstable in computer jargon, sometimes the bugs aren’t ironed out). I personally wouldn’t consider a beta version driver if the driver I’m already using is doing the job.

Okay, let’s assume that you’ve found the driver on the internet. The first thing you need to do is download it. As with all downloads you need to be able to find it again once you’ve downloaded it. It might be worth saving it to the desktop or even to a new folder you made called ‘drivers’. Whatever works for you. The other option is that you have the driver on a floppy or CD Rom that came with the device – this is even easier: usually you just put it in the drive and follow the instructions. Drivers these days come in two distinct types. The easiest for the general user are those drivers that come as part of an executable file (one that ends with .exe). It’s a good idea to scan the file with your virus scanner before doing anything, particularly if you’ve downloaded it. Once you’ve done that, just double click on the file name. It should do the rest – as always read any questions that it asks you. When it stops doing things, it’s done. Often it will ask you to restart Windows for the change to take effect.

The other type isn’t self-running like this and you’ll need to install them manually. This isn’t that hard however, and we’ll go through it step by step. First you need to find the ‘Device Manager’. If you don’t know where this is then click on ‘Start’ (bottom left hand corner of the XP screen), then click ‘Control Panel’, click ‘Performance and Maintenance’ and then click on ‘System’. You’ll get a new window that has multiple tabs. Click on the tab called ‘Hardware’ and you’ll see the device manager – click on the name to bring it up. This method is similar in all windows set ups, and all work from a command line instead – to do this go to ‘Start’, choose ‘Run’ and type devmgmt.msc in the box. This will also bring up the device manager.

From here it’s pretty much following instructions. The device manager lists all the devices you have and you can double click on them to bring up a further window that lists the device properties. Click the tab for driver and you get all the details you need. You’re looking at ‘Update Driver’, and normally you want to say no to the suggestion that Windows initiates a search via the Microsoft website because you already have the disc or file. Select no thanks, and click next. If you have the disc you choose it on the next screen, if you are looking for the file you’ve downloaded choose the option to select from a list (don’t be put off by the word ‘advanced’). The next screen again offers to search for you, again you decline the offer. Having chosen ‘don’t search’ you can use the button on the right below the list (called ‘have disc’). This opens a familiar dialogue just like all the windows file open boxes. Find the driver files where you stored them - you’re looking for the file that ends .inf. Double click on it and wait for the installation to finish -don’t interrupt the installation. You’ll probably have noticed that in the device manager window there was an option to return to the previous driver. This is what you need to use if updating the driver seems to have made things worse. And that’s it, you’ve installed the new driver.