A Steep Learning Curve

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A Steep Learning Curve

Postby mrmoggs » Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:54 am

I must be a masochists – I am back for more pain!
My first post was on 4th November, entitled “Can it be so difficult?”, to which I received prompt and excellent detailed technical advice which resulted in a positive outcome.
I have decided that unlike my brother, I should take precautions before ‘the crash’.
What is the best way of identifying and listing all the drivers on my PC?
Yes, I do know about Device Manager and I have laboriously transferred all the data to a back-up spreadsheet, but is this the only method?
When I try to update drivers through Device Manager, Microsoft tells me “The best driver software for your device is already installed.”
If I search on the Internet numerous ‘free programmes’ identify that several of my drivers are out of date. You’ve guessed it – when I come to use the information the cash register opens!
The other issue that confuses me is ‘Why are so many duplicated drivers shown in Device Manager?’ e.g. 8 x USB Root Hub drivers.
I think that is enough questions for openers.
mrmoggs
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Postby Karlsweldt » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:49 am

Too many sites want to sell you "side dishes" for drivers or other software you really don't need.
As to the best driver for a device, go directly to the manufacturer's site for the latest authentic version.. or check with MS as to possible revisions. But the most recent driver may not be suitable, or totally stable. Best to stay with what works best.
For reference to drivers, it is best to create a partition on the main drive for just that purpose.. and also copy the OS install library to it. The source path can be easily changed in the Registry, and you no longer have to swap driver disks when installing new devices or features, or when references are needed. Include all system device drivers in that partition. And, yes, a chipset must have specific drivers per its model type.. generic ones may work, but not as preferred. Should not take up more than 10 gigs of space.
One 'driver assistant' you may want is from Intel or AMD, which does ensure you have the proper drivers for that specific model mobo.
Windows will sometimes balk about an "update" or "newer" driver. You may have to uninstall the device and driver, then redo the process and insist that the presented driver is the desired one. Can be a hassle!
For backup purposes of critical data, use another folder for backups. Can be on the same drive, or another partition/drive. Follow the old "don't put all your eggs in one basket" adage.
To identify drivers for devices, the Control Panel icon for the system has a tab for hardware and then device manager. Right-click on any feature, and choose properties. This will present a tab about the driver and version, plus provider. A 'spreadsheet' would not be required, as Windows keeps a record of all devices and drivers in its "Inf" folder.. including those not actually in use.
USB hubs may have several drivers. Most present USB features are USB 2.0 or newer.. but the industry standards maintain that they be backward-compatible to older devices.
A system crash can be disastrous.. loss of all data. But in many cases, a restored file can revive the "dead entity" in full.
You may want to consider a USB drive, on which a Linux system is installed.. which can access a drive that is otherwise not accessible.
F@H.. to solve mankind's maladies.. in our lifetimes!
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Re: A Steep Learning Curve

Postby evasive » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:55 am

mrmoggs wrote: You’ve guessed it – when I come to use the information the cash register opens!
The other issue that confuses me is ‘Why are so many duplicated drivers shown in Device Manager?’ e.g. 8 x USB Root Hub drivers.
I think that is enough questions for openers.


We gave you the manual for the board and links to the generic drivers from the actual chip manufacturers for the system components. Those are the very latest drivers available, no matter what the "free" POS programmes might tell you.

You have several ports at that USB hub, a driver entry is made for each port.
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Postby mrmoggs » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:45 am

All the invaluable information that you provided on my "Can it be so difficult?" posting was for my brother's computer.
My new posting is very much about capitilising from the knowledge gained and trying to develop my knowledge around 'device management' and in particular creating a driver disks for my own PC and laptop.
I am sure that many people find this area of IT to be a black art.
Life is a learning experience.
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Postby evasive » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:21 pm

Oh ok :)

Basically you need to find out who made the system or the system board and then go to the respective websites to get the latest drivers for said system or system board. If you have a good manufacturer they will update their drivers sets on a regular basis, even for the older products. If not, you have to find out what the actual chips are that were used for the device or system board and get the drivers from the chip manufacturer, also called generic drivers.

This one is free, however, puts an add page on your desktop.
http://www.soft14.com/Utilities_and_Har ... eview.html
so install, use for ID, then uninstall and you're golden.

And there is this one:
http://www.halfdone.com/ukd/
We hate rut, but we fear change.
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Learning Curve Update = North Face of the Eiger

Postby mrmoggs » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:36 am

It seems to me that the best advice to a person who ‘simply’ wants to create a ‘Driver Back Up Disk’ is “Don’t go there sunshine!”

I have downloaded the Soft14 Unknown Device Identifier and was well impressed. In addition to the information provided by MS Device Manager it provided me lots of additional data e.g. VIA chip details: -

VT82xxxx EIDE Controller (All VIA Chipsets)
VT6102 Rhine II Fast Ethernet Adapter
VT6202/12 USB EHCI Controller
VT6420 SATA RAID Controller
Apollo K8T800 CPU to PCI Bridge
VT8237 PCI to ISA Bridge
VT6421 IDE RAID Controller
VT8237 K8HTB CPU to AGP 2.0/3.0 Bridge

So off I trot to the VIA driver site and dutifully identify my ‘Operating System’, ‘Driver Type’ e.g. Ethernet and ‘Product Type’ e.g. VT6102 Do I see it listed? – Not on your Nelly! So undaunted I have a go at a ‘RAID controller’ and voila! There was a VT8237 but then back down the slope ‘Notes - Please note that Windows 7 support is not included for the VT8237.’

Be assured that I will keep climbing this steep learning curve, but at the moment it looks like the North Face of the Eiger!
Life is a learning experience.
mrmoggs
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Postby Karlsweldt » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:19 am

Via usually has an "all-in-one" driver package, for specific chipset types. Check the main Web site for Via..
http://www.via.com.tw/en/support/tech_faq.jsp
to find your chipsets listed under "products".
http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/perip ... id/vt6420/
http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/perip ... id/vt6421/
http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/perip ... sb/vt6202/
Did not find the '6102' listing, but here is what Via offers.. http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/netwo ... /index.jsp

The BIOS signature in the lower-left corner of first screen is the positive ID of your system.. and reference for drivers. Chipset types can change every year or so, or may be used for several years. With Windows 7, its library for installation should have generic or exact drivers for most mobo models prior to its inception date. Chipset manufacturers work very closely with MS to ensure the optimal compatibility with the OS. And MS may have revisions to drivers that do not have greatest compatibility. Older driver sets for 32-bit OS systems are not always compatible with 64-bit OS systems.
F@H.. to solve mankind's maladies.. in our lifetimes!
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Postby evasive » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:02 pm

Don't get too fixed on chip numbers, sometimes only the chipset number is what counts. The VT6102 is part of the VT8251 Integrated, VT8231, VT8233, VT8235 or VT8237 chipset. The secret here is it's called Rhine II, so part of the Rhine family networking devices.

There's no book or guide that will teach you stuff like this because each manufacturer may handle this kind of thing differently. Experience will teach you...

" Much to learn, you still have. "
We hate rut, but we fear change.
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