Questions about sysprep, mini-setup, and driver detection (o my!)

Kind of a bunch of smaller questions rolled into the same question for convenience - if the questions are too difficult I'll break them out individually...

First the background - I'm trying to deploy a sysprepped image to a system with a SB Live! 5.1 PCI card - during mini-setup the process halts and I'm prompted to insert a disk conatining the drivers for the SB.  My OemPnpDriversPath is (I think) correct because the other drivers for other devices install correctly....
The error prompts for P16X.sys and in the 'Browse' text box it prefills c:\windows\system32\drivers\ctxxdad\ or something similiar....

What I'd like to know is:
If there are no drivers installed, how does mini-setup know that I have an SB card and which driver it needs?  Is this found in another file?  Why does the path above appear prefilled (c:\windows....)?  WHen I was lacking drivers previously for other devices I would usually get a prefill of c:\drivers\video\1\ or similiar, as is set up in my sysprep.inf.  I do have windows\inf in my OemPnpDriversPath but why would I get prompted for that particular path first...?   When sysprepping if I use the -pnp flag I get prompted during mini-setup for this driver but if I leave it off I don't get prompted until I gfet into windows and the OS detects 'new hardware' - why?  And finally, .inf vs .sys vs .cat vs. ?  what are these files for?

I know its a lot but hopefully each of these little questions isn't too arduous...
baal32Asked:
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KenneniahCommented:
Which driver set are you using, one's from a cd, downloaded from the internet etc.?

Inf is a driver information file. It contains all the setup information for the drivers to be installed such as which files go where and registry entries.
The .sys files are the actual drivers themselves.
Cat files are security signatures - basically WHQL certifications etc. for the driver set.
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KenneniahCommented:
And just because other drivers install fine, does not mean your OEMPnPDrivers paths are all correct. It could just be the part that points to the Sblive drivers that's incorrect.
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venom96737Commented:
9 times out of 10 a SB will be recognized right out of the box by xp as the drivers are digitally signed and for most are located on the install disc for xp which is why it is looking to c:\windows\system32\drivers for the install.
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KenneniahCommented:
True, I'm trying to remember which model built-in XP support stopped at. I think it was the Live, so I think Venom is correct and XP has built in drivers for it. If you want to use Creative's drivers in your image, you might have to remove the wdma10k1.inf from the image so it uses Creative's inf instead.
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baal32Author Commented:
Thanks for the responses - the question is only tangentially about SBs - I also have drivers installed for the 24 bit version in the driver path which install fine...  The question is when mini-setup is going on, how does it know an SB is installed?  How does it know which driver file its missing?  And why does it think the driver is located in c:\windows\system32\drivers\ctddnvb <-- note that the last part (I don't remember what it is other than it is not a wrod and has some cs, xs, and ts in it)?  What 'master' file is telling it this?  Incidentally, the SB is an OEM dell model and has a separate set of drivers for it on Creatives website, so XP may very well not have the correct drivers...  Also to clarify the original question a bit (keeping in mind that the question is less about SB and more about mini-setup and XPs driver installation routines) even though the browse to path is prefilled as stated above (c:\window....), the text of the message asks me to insert "Disk 1 of SB audio drivers" or something similar (not insert windows xp installation CD)
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scrathcyboyCommented:
"during mini-setup the process halts and I'm prompted to insert a disk conatining the drivers for the SB."

The fundamental issue here is that you MUST do (1) put the needed drivers in the windows\system32 directory and (2) put the right .INF files in the windows\INF directory (or INF\other) before you try to run an automated install.  Unless you do this, including putting all other files that the installation requires into the CORRECT respective directories for the install to proceed unabated, it will NOT proceed unabated.
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venom96737Commented:
baal just like with any install it gathers up the hardware information and tries to decide what it is and look for the best drivers.  As scratchyboy said it will look in the inf files and then in the system32 folder if it cant find the drivers it will tell you to load them.
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baal32Author Commented:
I'm just going to cut and paste here, I think we're missing the question:

The question is when mini-setup is going on, how does it know an SB is installed?  How does it know which driver file its missing?  And why does it think the driver is located in c:\windows\system32\drivers\ctddnvb <-- note that the last part (I don't remember what it is other than it is not a wrod and has some cs, xs, and ts in it)?  What 'master' file is telling it this?
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KenneniahCommented:
As I already stated before when I explained what an .inf file is. The inf file tells Windows what files are needed and where they go. To add a little, each piece of hardware has a built-in ID along the lines of EMU10K1_MT1, PCI\VEN_1102&DEV_0002&SUBSYS_002F1102.
When Windows detects a new device, it gets that ID from a chip on the device, then searches all it's .inf files for a match, then uses the information in the .inf file to install the drivers.
Just open up an .inf file like wdma10k1.ini from Windows\Inf in notepad, and you can see all the information.
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baal32Author Commented:
Cool - now we're getting somewhere.  So during mini-setup Windows checks the PCI bus for devices and when it finds one it retrieves the ID from a chip on the device itself.  It then searches all devicepath entries in the registry which will usually begin with windows\inf but also include any user injected driver paths.  Does it look through every(only?) .inf files and parses them to find a matching ID?

So in my situation above does it seem probable that one of the inf files parsed actually matches the ID but then the target driver file (P16X.sys) was missing?  Is there a way to figure out which inf file contains relevant information?
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KenneniahCommented:
Sorry, been on vacation for past week.
Yes it searches all .inf files. Probably the easiest way to find which one is pointing to that file is to do a file search with "p16x.sys" in the "A word or phrase withing the file" box.
Search system folders and Search hidden files and folders will need to be checked also.
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