Whether you are a computer technician, a power user who builds their own computers, you’re installing some new hardware in your PC, or you just like that clean freshly installed Windows install feeling, sooner or later you’re going to wind up in a situation where Windows Update can’t find a driver and Windows doesn’t seem to have a generic driver built-in for some computer component or another. Unfortunately resulting in that ugly yellow question mark in device manager with a generic description of the hardware or the dreaded “Unknown Device,” leaving you with a computer that won’t completely work.
The seasoned pro or gaming geek’s first impulse will probably be to hop online and google their hardware. Easy, right? Not so fast. Often this can result in finding outdated or incomplete drivers or even drivers that won’t work with their version of Windows. While not always necessary, the best practice is to always make sure you are installing the latest driver available for your version of Windows, or if you are running the bleeding edge latest version and there are no specific drivers, the absolute latest version of the driver available for your flavor of Windows (e.g. x64/x86 — If you know what you are doing, I shouldn’t have to tell you never to install a Windows XP driver in Windows 7 or above, while it may install it will most likely cause instability in the system. Vista drivers are also iffy on those versions.)
There are hundreds, if not thousands of websites that claim they have the latest drivers for all your hardware or can identify unknown or generic devices but they often want you to pay for their less than stellar service.
That’s where DriverIdentifier comes in. Why waste your time and money on a paid service when there is a free one available with over 26 million devices in their database? I have yet to come across a piece of hardware that can’t be identified and matched with a recent driver by their service.
Using it is simple enough, and If you have an internet connected computer or Android smart phone handy that you can use to copy the generated file to, it will even work if you can’t connect the affected computer to the internet to send the report or download the drivers.
First, visit www.driveridentifier.com and download the latest version of the file to the computer or, if necessary copy it to a USB flash drive. You then simply install it to the computer you need drivers for. (They also offer a portable version that doesn’t require you to install the program to your computer.) Make sure you are clicking the blue “Download DriverIdentifier” button and not the “Download” button as it will download one of the paid-only programs I mentioned earlier. (I know it’s slightly confusing, but they have to keep the lights on somehow, making advertising a necessary evil.)
You then launch the program, and If needed, check the box beside “I don’t have an internet connection” and click “Scan Now.”
DriverIdentifier will scan your system and, if you are internet connected, launch your web browser to upload the scan report, or if you clicked the no internet box, it generates a file called “devices.htm” you can save and copy to you USB flash drive so you can copy it to your internet connected computer or Android smart phone that you simply launch, the site then generates a custom webpage with all of your devices and links to download the drivers for any devices or components without drivers installed.
It is worth noting that you will have to create a free account on the website to download files from their servers, and I urge you to make a small optional voluntary donation on the site if you do use their servers, even if it’s only enough for a cup of coffee for the programmers to help pay for their bandwidth and keep the service free.
After you have downloaded the drivers for your hardware and unzipped them, if necessary, you simply look for a setup.exe, (or install.exe,) file to install them, or use Device Manager to install the drivers, pointing the wizard to the directory you have unzipped the files to. This may result in you being required to reboot your system, depending on the type of driver being installed. But usually, you will be able to just load the drivers and go about your day.
Best of luck with your computing project and hopefully you will find this tool as useful as I do. I have embedded their video on how to use the program below.
DriverIdentifier How To:
How To Install Drivers: