Something about Drivers
(sigh) Today I decided to finally add Windows XP to my laptop. It’s currently running Ubuntu 9.04 and Puppy Linux. But I wanted to play a game that unfortunately only runs on windows. Therefore i created a Partition (Cut an imaginary piece of my Hard drive) and installed XP on it. I’ll worry about the boot-loader later. So i install Windows XP. It’s been months since I’ve used it on this laptop. And one very important thing i forgot, was the drivers. Yes, this laptop needs about three different drivers for it to function properly. What are drivers? I shall explain.
Drivers are the pieces of software that allows your actual hardware (the stuff you can touch) to work. That’s the simple way of putting it. There are many types of drivers, Bus Drivers (like USB), Video Drivers, Sound, Mouse, keyboard. And most of these, you never have to worry. Because when you install Windows for the very first time, many drivers are already included, so you only have to install a couple yourself.
Some Windows installations that come with your computer also have an extra Driver cd. Or in your computer’s hard drive, the manufacturer has set a separate partition (i will talk more of partions in a future article) set to install your OS. This sometimes contains drivers too. But let’s say you reinstalled Windows and you wind out your wireless doesn’t work, or the video on your screen looks weird, and you can’t go on you-tube. Well, the drivers that are supposed to make this all work, are probably not installed yet. So how to do that? First we must get to know your computer.
Now the first thing we should do, or try, is the automatic updates. I remember that in my last post. I told you about updating, usually if you check your updates, they install the newest or missing drivers and then you don’t have to worry about anything. Dells are usually good with this. So check your windows update and see if there are any drivers there that need to be installed first. So if you checked and no drivers still, then we must do it manually. Let’s begin.
We shall take my laptop for example. A Dell Latitude C840, with a Broadcom BCM43xx wireless card. (I know about the wireless card cause i put it in myself. As you noticed i was very specific in the naming of my computer. This is important if you are looking for drivers, because there are thousands available and if you are not specific, then you will never find them. Now, Using Google. I found out that Dell.com actually has all the drivers i need, except for the wireless card. So at the website. I download the necessary drivers. Wait! how do i know what drivers i need? There are so many! Yes as you can see here. We can download all or what we need, Where do we check? Right click the My Computer Icon. Click manage. Then in the new windows that pops up, select device manager.
There you will see if you actually need any drivers. Usually the ones in Yellow will tell you what kind they are and you can now feel free to download from Google or the driver website. (beware, many drivers websites are fakes and try to sell you their driver tools, they are scams, you will be able to tell if they are, remember, drivers are free and should not require you to sign up for anything.) So as you can see, i need my PCI Modem driver. however i never use that piece of hardware, so I’ll do that later.
Ok So now that you have downloaded the necessary drivers what to do? Well, some come in .exe files, these are executable files that can run like a normal program and install very easy. Some drivers come in .zip files, they extract the files to a location and sometimes start the installation. But what if you got a driver that came in a zip, you extracted and it did nothing? Well, let’s go see where you extracted at. You don’t remember, well exctract again! See where it is located at and try to find a file named setup. No? Well, you will probably have to go to the device manager again, right click on the driver you are trying to install, click update. Click, install from a selected location, direct it to the location where you extracted the files or folder of the driver that you need, and click next. If you downloaded the correct driver, then the install and device should work fine.
As you may have noticed this guide is not very good, too technical and difficult to understand, i tried to write it out in a simple way, but I’m afraid that since every computer is different and installing drivers is different, i tried to be sort of general. Anyways, I hope this guide lets you understand more about drivers. I shall try to sum it up. Drivers are what makes all your hardware work, and since every computer is different, it has different hardware and accessories, it needs different drivers. Hopefully you will never have to go through this, because this is all part of reinstalling windows. And not only time consuming but also annoying sometimes. Maybe one day in the future, this problem will be permanently solved, but for now, we must deal with driver issues.