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Device drivers in upgrade from XP Pro to Windows 7 Pro

Posted on 2014-02-13
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
In upgrading, what does everyone do about device driver updates.

I suppose if one has a Dell or HP machine, one could do a download from the vendor's site using the Service Tag reference.

But what about machines without that kind of support, say, a PowerSpec from MicroCenter?

Does the Easy Transfer program on the Win7 disk keep and restore NIC, audio, and video drivers.

I've looked at dozens of XP to Windows 7 upgrade how-to's on the web but no one seems to address this issue.

Ron Hicks
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Question by:Ronald Hicks
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rindi earned 50 total points
ID: 39857504
Most hardware manufacturers provide driver downloads for their hardware, and if there is no Windows 7 driver, you can try the Vista driver instead, it will usually work, and Windows update should normally then get the updated drivers for Windows 7.

One thing that always helps is to check your Device Manager in Windows XP and not the hardware present, so you can manually search for drivers if anything isn't present in Windows 7 after you install it.

For old hardware many of the drivers will be already included in Windows 7 as Vanilla drivers, so most things should probably already work out-of-the-box.

Easy Transfer is only for the data in the user profiles, not for installed software or drivers.
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by:discgman
discgman earned 50 total points
ID: 39857515
I wish I can say they will be easy with a wizard or a program. Best bet is to check the microsoft hardware compatibility site. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware-compatible-windows#1TC=windows-7

Otherwise, refer to the manufacturers website to check and get specific drivers ahead of time, copy to a flash drive to prepare for an upgrade to windows 7.
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by:DanCh99
DanCh99 earned 50 total points
ID: 39857632
Windows Easy Transfer only moves data, not programs of any kind, especially drivers.  It's built to migrate users between 2 different systems, and the last thing you want to do is move drivers around, as bad drivers is a really good way to get Blue Screen errors.

However, if you're moving to identical hardware and don't want the bother, some users use Driver Magician
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2395745,00.asp
 - not tried it myself, but has a reasonable rep.

Personally, I do it by manually, and only update things when a)they're broken, or b) there are definite performance reasons - ie graphics cards updates on gaming pcs.
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Expert Comment

by:DanCh99
ID: 39857668
I'd also be wary of downloading drivers from any of those "helper" sites - I'd stick to manufacturers' genuine sites.  

Belarc is useful all round:
http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html
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by:nobus
nobus earned 50 total points
ID: 39858364
if you get unknown devices in DM, here is how to identify them :
if you have  unknown devices in device manager, you can use this procedure to identify them :

1-visit the motherboard manufacturers support site, for downloading drivers
2- use windows update >optional updates to find them

3-Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Information.
Now select  "Components" and highlight "Problem Devices".
All hardware devices with a driver problem will be listed here.
Make a note of the first line of the PNP Device ID line of the entry. It will show a Vendor number and a Device number (VENxxxxDEVxxxx) both four digits long.
Look up those numbers here:   http://www.pcidatabase.com/index.php

This will tell you the manufacturer and the chip number.  
Check the manufacturer's website first or google them - or post them here

If your LAN is running, you can also use windows update> optional drivers, or  use slimdrivers : https://www.slimwareutilities.com/slimdrivers.php

***btw - i'm not a fan of the upgrade system, i prefer a fresh install
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by:rindi
ID: 39858412
You can't do an in-place upgrade from XP to Windows 7 (except if you first upgrade to Vista in between). Besides, he's talking about windows easy-transfer, and that is used to backup user data, and then later restore it again. So the user with "upgrade" actually means he is doing a fresh installation, but wants to restore the data.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Ronald Hicks
ID: 39859233
What a treasure of good advice.  I tried to bump up the points to award everyone with more but don't see a place to do that.  Is it not a feature anymore?  Thanks to all.
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