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How to Install and Find Drivers

How to Install and Find Drivers - PCSTATS
Abstract: Drivers are probably the most essential thing to a computer, but it's amazing that even the most experienced PC user often overlooks something so important.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: none Aug 11 2002   S. Dennis  
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How to Install and Find Drivers

Drivers are probably the most essential thing to a computer after the hardware and operating system, but it's amazing that even the most experienced PC user often overlooks something so important. It's only about installing the proper drivers, but also regularly updating them. Why you ask? Well as bugs are fixed and new technology is released, newer drivers usually improve performance or fix compatibility problems.

Why is it such a daunting task for some people to install drivers? Well it really isn't too hard, but most average users haven't been told about the importance, and may not be 100% sure about what to do.

In this guide we'll be using Microsoft's Windows 2000 as the operating system, however the general rules apply to Windows 98/ME/XP too.

Windows 2000 Pro Device Manager

The motherboard drivers are probably the most important driver for a computer, because all system components must interact with this piece of hardware. It's not really important who made the motherboard but rather what chipset it uses. VIA chipsets need VIA drivers, Intel chipset need Intel ones.

It's true that Windows natively supports many different chipsets already, however it doesn't have drivers for the latest ones. If you recently purchased a computer it might have come with Windows pre installed but many people do opt out of the OS to save because they might have another licensed copy of their own already.

So what happens after installation of the OS? If your computer has a older parts you're in "luck" because the OS will undoubtedly already have native support for that hardware.

Here's an example; if your motherboard is using the Intel 440BX chipset or maybe VIA's MVP5 chipset, drivers aren't needed because Windows already has them in its driver database. If it's something newer such as the VIA Apollo133A (694X), AMD 761 or the Intel 850, you'll need to install your own drivers because Windows has no idea what these chipsets are.

What is the first thing you as a user should installed after the operating system? Before any other drivers for video cards, or whatnot you should install the motherboard's drivers. Why? It's because your motherboard connects everything together so Windows needs to know what this piece of hardware is first and how to use it properly before it can communicate with your videocard, soundcard, etc.

You should already have a CD that came with the computer, or with the motherboard if you are upgrading components which will have all the necessary drivers in one location. If you don't, here are a few links to the major chipset makers where you should be able to find the correct drivers for your system.

Intel Chipsets
AMD Chipsets
VIA Chipsets
ALi Chipsets
SiS Chipsets

AMD chipsets are a little more difficult to install because most motherboards using the AMD751/761 don't use an AMD southbridges, but rather a VIA one. What you have to do in this case is install the VIA 4in1 drivers minus the AGP driver since there's no VIA Northbridge. After the 4in1 (which is really only 3in1) would you install the AMD AGP Miniport drivers.

After this step, you can install your drivers anyway you'd like. Its always best to get the videocard drivers installed next so your display looks proper. That's rather easy as you should have a driver CD that came with your computer, or videocard. Just insert it into your CD-ROM and follow the installation instructions.

Like your motherboard drivers, they may be a bit outdated so we have included a list of all the videocard chipsets out there.


Please note, 3dfx is no longer in business, the drivers linked above are the last ones they posted. There are several 3rd party drivers that can be still found on the web for their cards though and S3 no longer supports their older chipset such as the S3 Trio, S3 ViRGE, etc. Windows does have support for those chipsets.

After installing the videocard drivers, you should install you should try to install your soundcard. Again, you should already have the drivers, but below are links to the most popular chipsets.

Turtle Beach

If your computer has other peripherals such as modems, NIC's, etc. installed in your computer you should install each of those until everything is covered.

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Contents of Article: none
 Pg 1.  — How to Install and Find Drivers
 Pg 2.  Why you need new drivers and manual installation

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