Windows Drivers - Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8



Windows Drivers Drivers are computer programs that control how your operating system and applications interact with your computer hardware. Installing the latest drivers can improve application compatibility, reliability and system performance.

Laptops Laptops - You should always try to install the latest driver from the component manufacturer whenever possible. Sometimes this is not possible and the drivers must be obtained from the manufacturer of your laptop.

Advisory Windows XP is still supported by Microsoft through April 8, 2014

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Step 1 - Windows Update

WinUpdate Windows Update - Home Page

Install all of the Driver updates.

Notes - Windows Update will only install "Microsoft Certified" drivers but these will not always be the latest version available. The component manufacturer will often release newer, non-certified drivers that are safe to install and offer better performance. "Microsoft Certified" drivers are guaranteed by Microsoft to work reliably with Windows but if you want the very best system performance you have to manually install the latest drivers from the component manufacturer (if available).

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Step 2 - Identify



PC Wizard PC Wizard - Download - Home Page

An advanced system information utility designed to help you quickly identify components based on their model and manufacturer, allowing you to install the correct drivers. Only one driver from each of the following categories will be needed.

Notes - It is important to identify the component manufacturer not the board or card manufacturer. There are only a select few component manufacturers while their are hundreds of board and card manufacturers. The component manufacturer will have the latest drivers.

Example: EVGA - GeForce GTX 570 ; Card Manufacturer = EVGA - Component Manufacturer = nVidia (GeForce GTX 570)

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Step 3 - Chipset Drivers

Chipset Drivers update any driver associated directly with the core-logic of the system board. They can improve stability, compatibility and performance with all components connected to the system board. It is important you install them prior to installing any other drivers. In certain situations the driver update may be unnecessary as the operating system already includes the latest version.

PC Wizard Mainboard Chipset


ALi Chipset ALi - Drivers - Home Page

AMD Chipset AMD - Drivers - Home Page

ATi Chipset ATi - Drivers - Home Page * acquired by AMD on July 24, 2006

Intel Chipset Intel - Drivers - Home Page

nVidia nForce nVidia - Drivers - Home Page

SiS Chipset SiS - Drivers - Home Page

ULi Chipset ULi - Drivers - Home Page * acquired by nVidia on December 14, 2005

VIA Chipset VIA - Drivers - Home Page

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Step 4 - Video Drivers

PC Wizard Video Video Card


3dfx 3dfx - Drivers - Home Page * acquired by nVidia on December 15, 2000

3Dlabs 3Dlabs - Drivers - Home Page * exited the graphics card market on February 24, 2006

AGEIA AGEIA - Drivers - Home Page * acquired by nVidia on February, 4 2008

ATi ATi - Drivers - Home Page - BIOS (Advanced Users) * acquired by AMD on July 24, 2006

Intel Intel - Drivers - Home Page

Matrox Matrox - Drivers - Home Page

nVidia nVidia - Drivers - Home Page - BIOS (Advanced Users)

Kyro PowerVR - Drivers - Home Page * exited the graphics card market on February 13, 2002

VIA VIA - Drivers - Home Page

S3 S3 - Drivers - Home Page * acquired by VIA on April 12, 2000

SiS SiS - Drivers - Home Page

Trident Trident - Home Page * acquired by XGI on June 12, 2003

XGI XGI - Home Page * acquired by SiS on October 7, 2010

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Step 5 - Sound Drivers

PC Wizard Multimedia Device Audio

Included in Windows XP Windows XP - Drivers are included with the operating system (Microsoft)


Analog Devices Analog Devices (SoundMAX) - Drivers - Home Page

Aureal Aureal - Drivers Included in Windows XP - Home Page * acquired by Creative Technology on September 22, 2000

C-Media C-Media - Drivers - Home Page

Cirrus Logic Cirrus Logic (Crystal) - Drivers Included in Windows XP - Home Page

Sound Blaster Creative Labs - Drivers - Home Page

Ensoniq Ensoniq - Drivers Included in Windows XP - Home Page * acquired by Creative Technology on January 9, 1998

ESS ESS - Drivers Included in Windows XP - Home Page

Philips Philips - Drivers - Home Page

Realtek Realtek - Drivers - Home Page

SigmaTel SigmaTel - Home Page * acquired by IDT on July 25, 2006

SiS SiS - Drivers - Home Page

VIA VIA - Drivers - Home Page

Yamaha Yamaha - Drivers - Home Page

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Step 6 - Network Drivers

PC Wizard Network Network Card


3com 3com - Drivers - Home Page * acquired by HP on April 12, 2010

Bigfoot Networks Bigfoot Networks / Killer - Drivers - Home Page

Broadcom Broadcom - Drivers - Home Page

D-Link D-Link - Drivers - Home Page

Davicom Davicom - Drivers - Home Page

Intel Intel - Drivers - Home Page

Linksys Linksys - Drivers - Home Page * acquired by Cisco on March 20, 2003

Marvell Marvell - Drivers - Home Page

NETGEAR NETGEAR - Drivers - Home Page

Realtek Realtek - Drivers - Home Page

SiS SiS - Drivers - Home Page

SMC SMC - Drivers - Home Page

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Beta Drivers

Advisory - Beta drivers are ones that have not been fully tested for final release and may have unknown issues. It is recommended for optimal system stability to only use Official drivers and not Beta or Prerelease versions. Performance differences between driver versions including Beta or Prereleased drivers is usually negligible. The only time Beta or Prerelease drivers should be considered is when a serious bug is fixed in the Beta or Prerelease version and the component manufacturer has not yet released an Official driver version that includes the bug fix.

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Utilities

CPU-Z CPU-Z - Download - Home Page
"CPU-Z is freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system."

DriverView DriverView - Download - Home Page
"DriverView utility displays the list of all device drivers currently loaded on your system."

GPU-Z GPU-Z - Download - Home Page
"GPU-Z is a lightweight utility designed to give you all information about your video card and GPU."

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End

This guide is under constant revision as new components are released. Feel free to submit suggestions or comments to OptimizeXP@comcast.net - Do not send Technical Support Questions.

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