Hardware Discovery Program

Hi,
I do a lot of work on Windows PC's.
When I am installing a new HDD on a computer I frequently play a hit and miss game trying to install hardware drivers.  
For example on my Dell laptop, when I go to the Dell support site, I get a choice of a Richo chipset or an Intel chipset driver. I also get choices for the wireless card driver.
I am aware that the various vendors have programs on their sites that will tell me the model number, etc about the computer i am working for but that does not help me much as far as telling me what specific driver chipset driver i need.
Another example:
A client of mine has a generic PC with an Asus motherboard, The USB ports aren't working. I would like to be able to run a program that tells me what chipset driver I need to install to see if that is the problem.
My question is:
Is their a program, preferably free, that that i can install on a client's computer that will tell me what hardware is on their computers so that i know what drivers to install or tell me what drivers are missing.
Thanks
vlogg5Asked:
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
Speccy  https://www.piriform.com/speccy

The free version should do enough for you.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I recommend SIW - it's not free but the technician version can be purchased for the lifetime - I did years ago and love the program - single executable and a license file.  

Then BEFORE you work on reinstalling a PC, run it and save the info so you can reference it later and download the correct drivers.

That said, I find one thing tends to work better and faster with most major PCs - go to their manufacturer web site and look for a driver update tool - Dell has one - that scans the PC for the drivers it needs.  Lenovo has something like that too.

Alternatively, go to Device Manager for any unknown device and look up the hardware IDs then cross reference them at www.pcidatabase.com

I would start with the PC manufacturer -
nobusCommented:
when i google Siw - it tells me it has been discontinued...
i also used it before

i used also drivereasy before, but there are many others for this , eg driver genius

a comparison here :  http://driver-update-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
there also is driver pack but don't install the software unless you read Russian
http://drp.su/download.htm Everything fits on a DVD
rindiCommented:
I have never seen there being different chipsets available for the same motherboard. So just check which motherboard you have, that is a very simple and quick task of looking at it's markings, then download the drivers directly from the motherboard's manufacturing site. You can't go wrong that way.

Besides, most of the time when you get client PC's to re-install, it is a good practice anyway to open it's case and lean out all the dust and make sure it is in good mechanical shape, so you can take a closer look inside anyway.

If it is a laptop where the mainboard is not as accessible, most have something like a service tag or serial number, and when you go to their website and enter the service tag number, you generally don't see all the models and drivers, but rather only those that particular laptop was delivered with. So if that particular laptop model had different mainboards with different chipsets, and you entered the correct Service tag on their website, you'll only see the chipset for the laptop you have there, the other chipset will be filtered out. It is also very quick and easy to remove the cover to the wireless NIC on most laptops, and then you just need to look at it and you'll see what manufacturer and model it is.

For all that you also don't need anything installed on the PC, you can do it prior to installing the OS, and can get ready before starting the installation. There really is almost never any need for any 3rd party tools to find what hardware you have.
nobusCommented:
>>   There really is almost never any need for any 3rd party tools to find what hardware you have.   <<  that is true when you install the OS it is intended for
if you install a later OS - you may have to llok around  -quite a bit
rindiCommented:
Why? You can still see what is there by looking at the parts with your eyes. If the original OS is still installed and accessible you can also look at it's device manager to get the details needed before you flatten it and install the new OS.
nobusCommented:
i have had several cases where i looked at the manufacturer's site - no drivers
windows update zilch
and from problem devices nada
so i had to use the 3rd party ones -  and sometimes - they found what i needed - not always though
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
nobus - I just googled it myself.  First link was to http://www.gtopala.com/ - which is the maker of the product.  It's still there and healthy.  If you buy it.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
before you flatten the o/s copy the c:\windows\system32\drivers and c:\windows\system32\driverstore to a usb stick
nobusCommented:
Lee - i think it has been updated for 8.x versions
vlogg5Author Commented:
When I install a new hard drive and reinstall the OS i find the manufacturer's site automatic model detection does not work (. In that case Lee's suggestion of finding looking inside for the MOBO is necessary. Good advice for a PC that has been put together by a shop.
Speccy doesn't give me what I need dbrunton.
All good comments.
What I have ended up doing is using nobus' link and finding driver detective. You can run it (on a working PC) and it will give you the information you need without paying for it.
I also found Belrac Advisor. It is very good.
Thanks people.
vlogg5Author Commented:
Lee, You can't run the program on a PC that has crashed. As per my question this involves reinstalling the OS on a new HDD.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
vlogg5:
You can't install ANYTHING on a crashed computer - You said:
Is their a program, preferably free, that that i can install on a client's computer that will tell me what hardware is on their computers so that i know what drivers to install or tell me what drivers are missing.
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