How To: Deal With Windows Drivers

Keeping Up with Intel: The Intel Driver Update Utility

Over the years, I’ve encountered most of my driver update issues when trying to update various Intel device drivers on my Windows systems: ICH6 through ICH10 chipsets, USB Host Controllers, various RAID and SATA controllers (especially AHCI controllers) and so forth. In the past, I’ve had to run the Intel installer even though I knew it wouldn’t work, then mine the actual driver files from the install directories where the installer unpacks them, to get devices to find and load the proper drivers. (Tip: if you run an installer and it fails to update a driver, try using the Update driver right-click option in Device Manager, and point it at the directory where the installer leaves the .cat, .inf, and .sys files usually associated with driver code. This often works, even when the direct approach does not.).

Figure 4: This Intel driver scanner runs inside a web browser on your behalfFigure 4: This Intel driver scanner runs inside a web browser on your behalf

But there’s no more need for such driver shenanigans with Intel stuff, thanks to that company’s Intel Driver Update Utility. Visit this site and click the button there that reads “Check your system for the latest updates.” This downloads a pair of Husdawg ActiveX or Java plug-ins and scans your system for Intel drivers. If it finds any that are outdated, it provides a link for you to download the current version, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: When the Intel Utility finds something newer, it presents a download linkFigure 5: When the Intel Utility finds something newer, it presents a download link

Unlike the driver scanner services, the Intel downloads are free — and often, more current than the scanner services anyway. I always use this utility before running a general scanner; perhaps you should, too.

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13 comments
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  • nodeffect
    Not all latest drivers are good, some might be unstable than the previous one. Anyway, good article about windows drivers.
    -1
  • Anonymous
    "dev" doesn't always work. On mine system it launches Adobe Device Manager.
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  • mayankleoboy1
    hoping that ATI reads this.
    0
  • Anonymous
    For atheros drivers check the unofficial driver site at http://www.atheros.cz/
    There are many atheros drivers whih are more current.
    1
  • aBg_rOnGak
    Why must the writer list shareware only? There are free alternatives worth mentioning out there...
    -1
  • smokinjoe
    As a Dell shop at work we just have to check with Dell for drivers. In some cases we can get drivers from a newer version of the same product to work. At home I have moved laptop and desktop to Mac OS X and the server is a NAS or Linux solution.

    With a Mac the worst thing you can do is buy dodgy hardware and load the vendors driver, now you have similar problems as a Windows machine with dodgy drivers. :-(
    0
  • hangfirew8
    Dell often has good driver support for their systems, sometimes they are the only source of an updated driver for a certain component. However if they never sold a system with a newer O/S (such as Vista or 7), it is very unlikely they'll list any drivers for that O/S. And of course for video drivers, they typically list one ancient one. So even with Dell you sometimes still have to hunt.
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  • hellwig
    Dell isn't always so great with updates to their drivers. I tried installing a driver for the wireless network card on my Latitude D600 (yes, it's ancient). They released about a million different configurations of the latitude, and probably a dozen different wireless cards were included. Luckily for me, I worked around the issue by discovering the wireless didn't work because someone had pulled the card, but man, was it ever a pain trying to figure out what I needed to download if I did have a wireless card.
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  • dioxholster
    Why do people like to keep updating their driver? unless its a graphic card with new games every year then no need to keep messing stuff up. If it aint broken dont fix it.
    1
  • shadowmaster625
    I ran the intel driver update utility, and IE8 popped up a message asking if I wanted to allow system requirements lab from "Husdawg llc" to install. I figured it was the Intel utility, but since a google search yielded almost nothing on Husdawg, I just said screw it. Screw Intel anyway. A company like intel should not be using shady names like that.
    0
  • Khimera2000
    mayankleoboy1hoping that ATI reads this.


    Dont you mean that your hoping Nvidia reads this? it takes me about 10 seconds to update me vid card. check it out its on steam.
    0
  • chaos133
    I don't think updating drivers at every new release is really necessary unless if your getting problems with the device, because theres a good chance they could bugger things up.
    1
  • annymmo
    dioxholsterWhy do people like to keep updating their driver? unless its a graphic card with new games every year then no need to keep messing stuff up. If it aint broken dont fix it.

    If newer technologies ask more don't fix it after it broke.
    Seriously application developers first want to see a user base before supporting something.
    0