Hardware Drivers

Looking for the best way to update drivers.

Say I have a new Dell computer,  I wipe the drive and reinstall Win 7 on it.  I then go looking for the hardware drivers which are missing in device manager.

Usually I've go to the dell support page, type in the service tag and try and figure out which drivers I actually need from their exhaustive list.   Sometime not always clear what it is I'm looking for ....

Is there an easier way to do this ?    No disk supplied with the new system to use.   :(

Thanks ...

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☠ MASQ ☠Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Just for clarity the Service Tag is related to hardware.  It will also automatically select the supplied OS so if the downgrade was a factory option will default to Win7.  Your issue with the Service Tag route is you will see regional options for hardware and a choice of drivers where Dell is using more than one chipset provider to supply their machines but it will significantly reduce the options offered to you.

Once you have the correct chipset drivers installed and a working network connection to the Internet though installing Dell's own driver manager is the quickest route.  This also uses the Service Tag which the ActiveX component detects from your system and allows you to build a driver list for later download as a package through their download manager.

If all these machines are the same make and model you can either redistribute the driver installer package or if you have the right reimaging licencing add it to your base image to roll out.

The only bloatware you'll see will be if you also include the software options for the Service Tag from the site in addition to drivers.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
If you have a 'new' computer with Windows 8 on it, you should first make sure the Windows 7 drivers are available from Dell.  There is no guarantee that they are.
jtbrown1111Author Commented:
@ Dave,

The new computers are licensed for Win 8 but have been downgraded to Win 7  ...  I'm looking for Win 7 drivers at this time ....

Thanks ..
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Also, having done what you are doing (from Vista to Windows 7) on a Lenovo ThinkPad with no recovery DVD available, I can assure you that the exhaustive way (look at all possible drivers) is the best way and may be the only way.

You need to hope that current BIOS supports Windows 7. It probably should. Then you need the Chipset driver (for sure), Video, Audio, Networks (wired, wireless), Mouse if laptop, and so on.

I am using Windows 8.1 Pro Update 1 64-bit. With the most modest amount of work, it looks and feels just like Windows 7 only it performs better.  You may wish to reconsider moving backwards.

You can still by Lenovo computer preloaded with Windows 7 and that is another avenue. These Lenovo Windows 7 computers come with a Windows 8 upgrade option for later.

So if you need Windows 7, buy a Windows 7 computer. If you buy a Windows 8 computer, consider staying with Windows 8 and making it work for yourself.
Scott ThomsonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You can always download the new "Dell Driver Manager" its a piece of software from dell that will detect your OS and drivers and automatically download them.

The other way is to look at the hardware id in your device manager and then use the id to do a google search. it will tell you the manufacturer and you can download the drivers directly.


or go to the dell website and click "scan my computer automatically"
jtbrown1111Author Commented:
@ John,

We are deploying 40 or these in our organization and our vendor software isn't ready for win 8 at this time ....   I've purchased these directly from Dell with Win 8 downgraded to Win 7 so I know the hardware and software will run as it should until I'm ready to upgrade to Win 8.

Because the Dell comes with a lot of bloatware I usually reimage it with a plain copy of the operating system I'm going to use .......

Thanks ....

jtbrown1111Author Commented:
@ Scott,

I'll give that a try,  thanks for sharing .........

JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
"Bloatware" applications are generally not BIOS, Chipset and Drivers.

So if the machines are identical, remove whatever Dell applications you do not want and then set up the machines and make an image for later. Use Ghost or Acronis. It sounds like you have the drivers because they came on the machine. Imaging protects this and your setup for a later installation if you need it.
Tony GiangrecoConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Best way to get Win7 drivers is to go to the Dell support site on another Pc, enter the service tag from the dell sticker on the case.

After getting past that process.

select win 7.

Select Drivers from the left menu options, Download the following drivers fro their respective section of the page: Chipset, Network Adaptor, Wireless Lan Adaptor and Video.

If you don't know which ones to chose, at lease het a Network adaptor and save it on a flash drive or cd.

Load the CD into the Dell system and install the network adaptor.

Get the pc on your network, get it on the internet and log into the same Dell support site. enter the Service tag and click ok. Select Win7 and then click the Analyze System button and let it determine what drivers you need. I suggest installing all the drivers it mentions.

Here are a few videos on this process

Hope this helps!
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
I recently upgraded a Dell XP machine to Windows 7.
First thing to do was the Microsoft compatibility test.  It passed.
Second thing to do was look for drivers at Dell.

I would not suggest using the Service Tag because I think it's tied to the OS as well as the hardware.  But maybe that could be helpful if it's more oriented to the hardware.

Anyway, I went on the Dell site for the model of the computer and looked at drivers.
There were NO Windows 7 drivers at all.  But, there were Vista drivers.  So I tried them and they worked!  So, one could try this and not be thwarted by not having drivers clearly identified for Windows 7.  Maybe I was just lucky and maybe it works more often than not.  Who knows without trying?
If you've purchased 40 of the identical model Dell - I'd suggest setting up one machine completely - installing Windows 7 WITHOUT entering the OS key, then installing any/all Dell drivers you need, and then removing any/all "bloatware" - all which has already been addressed above.  I would al so run Windows Update repeatedly until all updates are current.

BEFORE entering the key or activating the system, I would then image the system using Backup and Restore included in Windows 7.  You can then use this image, along with a Windows 7 Recovery Disk, to setup every system exactly the same.  After setting up each system using this image, you can then activate each system by putting in the key specific to each machine.

I used this approach when I needed to upgrade 10 identical systems, and it saved me hours upon hours of repetitive tasks.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Don't use a physical machine to create your master image use a virtual machine, Other hints are you can get the dell driver packs and ONLY install those drivers. Dell has them for the windows pe as well. Using Microsoft Deployment tools in the installation winpe area do NOT use Plug and Pray just use the drivers you have downloaded for that particular machine type. Also install all the printer drivers that the user may encounter in the office this way a standard user can install them on demand
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Have we answered your question?
Mike TConnect With a Mentor Leading EngineerCommented:

To answer your question, going to Dell and downloading drivers manually is not the worst way at all. I know what you mean though; vendors don't make it easy to decipher.

If you want to do this for home use, then use whatever method from the above which you feel most comfortable with. I would plump for the Dell tool.

If for business and more than two machines then the choices are:
1) use the Dell driver CAB driver packs
2) use the Dell driver manager

And use MDT to create an image of Windows. But it sounds like you have only one PC, with Windows 7 on it, and down sit there wading through Dell's website. Who does!?

Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Glad I could help
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