Installing device drivers has gotten easier over the years. Manufacturers usually ship driver disks with the hardware. In days of old, these had to be manually copied from the diskette to the appropriate locations on the computer (usually the system folder). However, as computers became more user friendly, the driver installation process became simpler and more automated. What once took an hour to find, copy is now done in a few minutes using an installation program or through a wizard built into the operating system. In some cases, the operating system can detect and install hardware automatically because the necessary drivers ship with the operating system and are stored in a special location until installation is required.


Microsoft invented a function called "Plug and Play" (or, as we 'experienced' IT professionals call it: 'Plug-and-PRAY' --InetD ). Plug and Play was intended to simplify the identification of hardware and the installation of the correct driver for that hardware. However, a device must be 'Plug and Play compatible' to be identified by this system. Windows XP now often detect non-plug and play devices as well, but far less than 100% of the time. It is this "Plug-and-Play" function that often is sufficient for finding and installing drivers for most of your hardware on computers running Windows.

Let's be clear: installing drivers is one of the more dangerous things you can do on the computer. If the driver installation goes awry, you may find yourself unable to start up the computer. Still, today's systems are better than they ever have been and are fairly reliable. ALWAYS RESTART YOUR COMPUTER AFTER INSTALLING, UNINSTALLING OR UPDATING YOUR DRIVERS. Actually, this is a good idea whenever you install or uninstall anything on your computer.



FIRST, there is nearly always driver installation instructions with all newly purchased devices. Use those directions if you have them. If not, you can try one of these.

DISCLAIMER: These instructions are general and non-specific to individual device installations. No warrantee or guarantee of fitness, either express or implied, is offered. Use these instructions at your own risk. InetDaemon.Com and it's agents will not be held responsible for your use or mis-use of this information.

Before starting any driver installation, be sure to have your operating system disk on hand.

After any driver modifications, ALWAYS restart your system even if the driver installation process doesn't do this for you. If the driver install crashes, restart the computer, check to see if you need to uninstall the failed driver installation, then reboot and try the installation again. If it crashes repeatedly, something else is very wrong.

Use this method after the hardware is installed and only if the operating system did not already find the hardware and install the driver.
Use this method if a disk was included with the hardware in the package from the manufacturer and the disk has 'setup.exe' or similar program.

Use this method if your hardware came with a disk. See if there is a 'setup' file and run it. Since the installers are different for every device in existence, I cannot provide you with explicit instructions. Merely be careful, read the dialogs, and when in doubt, choose the offered default settings. Once the installer completes, restart your computer even if you weren't prompted to do so.

WINDOWS "ADD HARDWARE WIZARD" METHOD (Disk included, but no setup or install program can be found).


  1. Double left click on the Start button
  2. Left click on Control Panels
  3. Left click on Add Hardware Wizard
  4. A window should open informing you that the computer is searching for 'plug and play devices'
  5. If devices are found, skip to step 13
  6. If no new devices are found, you will be asked if you have installed the hardware already. Selecting no, simply kicks you out of the wizard, so make sure the hardware is already installed before starting the process.
  7. The next window to appear will offer you a list of devices already installed on the system (Display devices, modems, network cards, printers, USB devices etc.) This choice is basically insane, but it's there nonetheless.
  8. The last list option will be 'Add a new hardware device'
  9. You will be asked whether you wish the wizard to search for the hardware (why search again when the system already failed to find it??) or install them manually from a list. Chose the manual option.
  10. Select the device TYPE that is most appropriate, click next.
  11. A window will appear with a list of manufacturers on the left and a list of devices on the right. Below them will be a button labled "have disk'.
  12. Insert the disk from your manufacturer in the appropriate drive
  13. To tell Windows where the install files are on the included driver disk, click the 'browse' button and navigate to the location of the .ini file that controls the installation.
  14. Windows will read the file and using it, find files on the driver disk and install them in the appropriate locations
  15. Click next until the system is finished.
  16. You may be prompted in some cases to insert the CD with your operating system. Make sure you have it on hand before you start. If you don't have a CD, look for a 'restore disk' or look on your hard disk to see if you have a folder labled WinNT, WIN98 etc. containing a lot of *.cab files.
  17. When the installation completes, click the FINISH button
  18. Either allow the system to restart, or, if not prompted, restart the computer yourself.

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