1.1. Loading Device Drivers

Because device drivers are so important, you should consider how device drivers are loaded onto your system. In the following sections, you take a look at loading device drivers for Windows. In Book III, you see how to configure the hardware to be added to a system; in this chapter, you focus on the software side of configuring these devices.


Because so many devices and drivers are floating around out there, the steps in this chapter for working with and managing drivers are necessarily broad and generic.

Drivers and their installation are tied to INF files, which contain installation instructions. There are several ways to install drivers with INF files:

  • Use Add/Remove Hardware in Windows 2000 or Add Hardware in Windows XP and newer Windows OSes.

  • You might be able to use the INF files themselves.

  • You might have to load the drivers manually.

  • You might be able to install drivers directly through a setup program from the manufacturer, which can be used to install other software as well.


Before attempting device detection, ensure that the device is properly plugged in and powered; if not, the device will never be detected. And if the device is not detected, you have to manually load the drivers and configure the device. Loading drivers manually is discussed later in this section.

Some hardware vendors recommend that you copy their drivers onto ...

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