Windows online drivers


I was a "loyal" windows user up until over a year ago. Installing Windows fast and furious has, obviously, been one of my traits. One of the annoying things about installing a fresh copy is installing unknown hardware drivers. As long as your windows and your hardware is recent, this is not a problem. But as a windows version becomes older (xp...) and your hardware is newer, the hardware will not be supported out-of-the-box, so right after a fresh installation. In some cases, automatic updates will resolve this quickly (although that still leaves you in a chicken-egg problem if this concerns your network card).

I just finished installing XP on an old machine for a relative and had forgotten to write down the audio device details before re-installing. Thankfully I did write down the NIC and AGP details so I wasted little time getting them back up (the nic wasn't supported out of the box, of course), but for some reason did not think to write down audio stuff.

So I was stuck. I did not want to open the computer to read hardware vendor off the card. But I had no access to any name either. Even the hardware panel, device details didn't show me any clues as to a vendor name. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it at least tells you some kind of name, some kind of hint as what to search for.

I tried to update the drivers and try to search for drivers online. This has NEVER EVER worked for me though. I've always considered it a dead option and have become seriously annoyed by even displaying it and selecting it by default. Always just give it a direct location because anything else just fails. Note, we're still talking XP.

But today I just googled for the hardware ID, an ultimate attempt to prevent me from having to open the computer up. It's a very cryptic device ID (something like ...VID_0XY4&PID_345&...) I actually always considered to be local to the machine. Never knew it was generic. But it was. Googling for it immediately turned up a device name. Wow... But the main results were from some russion site. Finding drivers is still a pita, imo.

My first result failed. The installer (normal for these audio driver suits) failed to find the driver for some reason. I'm certain that something else was intended but that didn't help me either. I don't like those suit installers anyways, I just want sound. So I searched again. Actually went to page two of google results! How often do you do that anymore :p But to my surprise I got a hit for it. In fact I discovered the exact drivers in a nice package. Mind. Blown. The .cab file contained just the sys/ini files required to install the drivers! Updating drivers worked like a charm and boom, there was sound.

So what the hell? If Microsoft DOES have those drivers online. And if those drivers CAN be found by searching for the device API. Then why the hell is that "search for drivers online" option not working?? Has there been a never-resolved bug in XP (and up?) that caused this feature to fail? That's such a waste for a feature that could have helped so many people.

Pity this information comes about 12 years too late. I mean, who uses xp anymore... ;)