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Automatic driver search on the internet?

Posted on 2004-04-08
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Does XP automatically go searching for drivers on the 'net when you add new hardware.
For example, I plug in a certain USB device, and it installs the software automatically - fine.
But if I'm not connected to the 'net, I get asked to choose the drivers locations.
Is there some magic going on?
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Question by:andrewjb
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Expert Comment

by:Huseyin1
ID: 10782181
Hi

Even if im not connrcted to the net, I get asked if I want to search online for drivers, you can specify where you would like the PC to look for drivers, so I would say no, XP does not automatically search the net.

H
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Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 10782221
XP doesnt no - if you install something that is set to look on the net for new drivers (HP USB Printers for example) then that will go to hp.com looking for drivers (cause it asks you first)

Pete
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by:andrewjb
ID: 10822614
Well, I think the answer is Yes - it does search the 'net.

From
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/maintain/xpmanaged/20_xppnp.mspx#XSLTsection126121120120

Procedure for controlling where Plug and Play searches for drivers

When you install new hardware, Windows XP searches four different locations for drivers in the following order: the hard drive, the floppy drive, the CD-ROM drive, and Windows Update. The default approach is to search all four locations successively until the correct device driver is found; however, you can configure the driver search locations to remove any or all of these locations.

So, for reference, I'll ask this to be closed and PAQd.
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by:Pete Long
ID: 10825820
Yeah Objection

scenario you have a GeForce2 Graphics card
how long would you be on the windows update site looking for an update.

Q:Does XP automatically go searching for drivers on the 'net
A: No
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by:andrewjb
ID: 10840996
Pete - I do think you're wrong. If there's a certified driver, then it'll exist somewhere under WindowsUpdate. When you install the device, and the 'new hardware' wizard appears, by default it will go off and include the internet in it's search. (As well as looking on CDs etc.) Have you had a quick look at the microsoft document I've linked to above?

It's definitley doing _something_. I've a USB -> Serial device. If I install it fresh with an internet connection, it installs one driver. If I install fresh without an internet connection it ends up finding a different one locally....
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by:Pete Long
ID: 10844771
Im willing to bet its downloading the windows XP USB driver fix and not the driver for your flash device, and using the .inf file it recovers for USB installation, if you change graphics cards it might download the new directX plugin but it wont download the driver for the graphics card..

Pete
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by:andrewjb
ID: 10857934
I'm not installing a gfx card - it's a type of serial <-> USB adaptor.

There's a certified driver for this, and I can also download, from the manufacturer, a more recent non-certified driver.

On a fresh machine...

If I plug in the adaptor, without the internet, then it doesn't find a driver on it's own. I've got to point it at the one I've downloaded. The downloaded driver then installs and everything works.

On a fresh machine again....

If I plug the adaptor in, WITH the internet available, then the hardware wizard will find a driver without me telling it where to look. So, I presume, it's finding the certified driver on the 'net somewhere. Perhaps, when you get driver certification, Microsoft keep a copy hidden somewhere under WindowsUpdate?

So, I really think that Pete is wrong.


Andrew.
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Accepted Solution

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Pete Long earned 125 total points
ID: 10861402
Well Andrew we can agree to disagree,

Your link above

When you install new hardware, Windows XP searches four different locations for drivers in the following order: the hard drive, the floppy drive, the CD-ROM drive, and Windows Update. The default approach is to search all four locations successively until the correct device driver is found; however, you can configure the driver search locations to remove any or all of these locations.

You asked does it search the internet, NO is goes to %SystemRoot%\system32\wupdmgr.exe and executes that file (double click it if you dont believe me) this executable opens a port 80 (Yes Web) connection to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ Microsofts DNS servers then redirect the connection to http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/en/default.asp and an activeX componant triggers a registry search for installed componants, so does it search the internet? well if you say so, though making a port 80 connection to a http server is NOT searching the internet (that may be symantecs but hey Im a network engineer) But its no different to saying I need to download my hotmail does MS outlook search the internet for it? no it opens a pop connection to a hard coded server.

Visiting a hard coded URL is not searching the internet, your USB device starts working because of
MS Hotfix 833603 package, which you can check for presence in this registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Hotfix\KB822603

This fixes all AL known problems with the devices listed at
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ef6c21b9-ebe1-4c5b-9dd4-5c0eb387311e&displaylang=en

>>So, I really think that Pete is wrong.

Well again thats your perogative. I have no objection to the question being closed, but I think theres PAQ value here.
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by:andrewjb
ID: 10861538
OK then, Pete. We actually agree, then. Having an internet connection _does_ make a difference, because Windows then goes out to microsoft's site to look for drivers. OK, it's not searching the whole internet in a google-like way for a suitable driver, but it is looking, in some form, beyond the local PC.

I think your original, blanket 'No' answer is thus misleading. Had you given your answer of 09:58 first, then I'd have understood, and accepted it without further comment.

So, strictly speaking it's not 'Searching the net', but I think the answer to my original question is a 'Yes', at least in spirit.

Andrew.
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by:Pete Long
ID: 10861584
Mmm :)

Ok well call it a draw. Seeing as your prepared to meet me in the middle I'll acquiesce  

Regards
Pete
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by:Pete Long
ID: 10861718
Thanks NM though I still think we have good PAQ value here, if Andrew still wants a refund, Id suggest a PAQ as well :)

Pete
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by:andrewjb
ID: 10861758
They're only points...
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by:Pete Long
ID: 10861860
:) Eee after all that, ThanQ they are indeed only points, and points are not my motivating factor, questions closed is what floats my boat :) and now its 1962 thaks andrew

Pete
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by:andrewjb
ID: 10861897
.. Your accepted answer was good, just took rather a lot of teasing to get it all out of you :-)
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by:Pete Long
ID: 10861935
ROFLMAO: -You've been speaking to my wife!

:)
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