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HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Video: Five Ways to Find Software and Drivers

Finding software and drivers can be a frustrating experience if you have added new hardware or changed your Windows version. Listen to a couple of knowledgeable guys as they provide five proven methods for discovering elusive drivers and software.
This video shows graphics and steps using the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. However, the same processes can be used for any Windows version or will be similar.

HP Video: Five Ways to find Software and Drivers for HP Desktop PCs

The five methods:
  1. Use the HP software delivery and restore tools that came with your computer.
  2. Download software from the HP website.
  3. Get updated software from Microsoft.
  4. Find software, drivers, and updates from the device manufacturer website.
  5. Get help for those hard-to-find drivers in the HP Consumer Forum.

Tips from customers

The following tips from customers are not direct quotes, but were created from feedback responses HP has received about this page.
  • For printers, if you have upgraded to a newer version of Windows, you might find a compatible printer driver that is already in Windows using Add new hardware.
  • If you are having trouble finding a driver for the onboard network or other component, the drivers might be part of a chipset package. For example, nVidia provides nForce chipset drivers that contain drivers that enable some of the onboard motherboard components.
  • You will not find a driver that upgrades a USB 1.0 port to 2.0. However, if you are getting messages about speed when you insert a USB storage device and you know the USB is 2.0, you might be able to update the USB Host Controller using Device Manager (as shown in the video).
The HP Web Support team would like your feedback on this video. You can provide feedback by selecting an answer in the Help us help you box on the left of this page. (You might have to scroll down to see it.) Please make your comments as specific as possible so we can improve this video as well as others in the future. Thanks!

Related support

For more information, read the HP document Obtaining Software and Drivers.

Audio transcript

The following is a transcribed version of the audio portion of the video:
Kevin: Hi. I’m Kevin and this is Randy and we work for the HP Customer Care Web Support Team. We get a lot of comments from customers asking us “How do I find software and drivers for my HP products?" So that’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to try and tell you every way that we know how to find software and drivers for HP products.
Step one: Use HP Tools, HP Update, Application Recovery
Kevin: So Randy, if you were at home and you had this PC, where would be the first place you would go to get software and drivers?
Randy: Me? I would start with HP Update. It’s a software tool that comes on the PC. You click Start, All Programs, scroll down to a folder called HP, and then click HP Update. When you do that and you’re connected to the Internet, the software tool automatically figures out what’s on your system, what’s not on your system, what’s available from the server, and it gives you a big list of everything that’s there for you to install. You can be selective and select just what you want to install, or you can select them all, and then click Next.
Kevin: So you don’t have to know which versions you have or which software you need. This goes out and finds everything that’s available for your product.
Randy: True. It takes the work out of it for you so you don’t have to do all that. That’s why I would go there first.
Kevin: So these are like updates. But what if I needed to reinstall like the original driver, like something happens, my sound goes out or something like that and maybe I’m not connected to the Internet. How would I install software and drivers then?
Randy: OK. Well, there are several things you can do. But again, if you start with the tools that come with the PC, probably the first thing I would do, if you’re not connected to the Internet, there’s a restoration tool that HP provides which is called HP Recovery Manager. You can get to it by, again, going through the Start menu. Start, All Programs, instead of clicking HP, you go to PC Help and Tools. HP puts it in that folder, and it’s called Recovery Manager. Welcome to Recovery Manager. What I like to do is I like to go straight to Advanced Options. And then you have two selections in here – Reinstall Software Programs that Came with Your Computer, or Reinstall the Hardware Drivers. You’re just trying to get a hardware driver back. So you’ve lost your sound, and you’re saying “Well, I don’t know what to do now. My sound driver is gone." Well, you can come in here and select Reinstall Hardware Drivers, click Next, click Next again, and it will give you a list of everything that’s available.
Kevin: OK. So you can come in here and you find in your list which item you need, select it, click Next, and then go through the screens, and it will install.
Randy: Yes. It puts it back to the way it was.
Step 2: Go to Support and Drivers and enter the model number
Randy: OK. So you’ve tried Recovery Manager, but whatever it is that you were looking for wasn’t in there. Maybe you’ve already tried HP Update and whatever you were looking for wasn’t in there. Maybe you don’t have HP Update or Recovery Manager on your PC, well, what would you do?
Kevin: For me? I’m comfortable downloading software, so I would actually jump right out to the Internet and go to HP’s website. We already have it set here, so you’ll see HP.com, and you come out here to the HP page, and go to Support and Drivers. From here, you would select the Download Drivers and Software option, and then you’ll get this second step here where you need to enter your product model number. And this is very important because without your product model number, you may not find that software and driver that you’re looking for.
Randy: So where do you find it?
Kevin: So for this one, look. You look on the front, this is an HP Touch computer, but it does not say which exact model. That just says HP TouchSmart (which means it is an HP Touch computer). And that’s actually not the model number. That’s the type of PC. So, there are a few places. There’s a sticker on the back. And on the back, it will say the model number, and it will say whatever the model is. That’s very important.
Randy: Ah, there’s a trick: Control Alt S.
Kevin: Right. So if you have a desktop PC, you can hold down the Control button, plus Alt, and S, and it pulls up your product information. And it gives you your model number right up top. It says model number. And this one happens to be an IQ506.
Randy: Exactly.
Kevin: So I’m going to come in here, and I’m going to type IQ506 and Go. And this is going to take me to a page that says Select your operating system. And from here, this has got Windows Vista 64-bit, or regular Windows Vista. You may, in some PCs, have another thing, like XP. Or if you’ve got an older system, you have Windows 98 or Me. So we know that we have a Windows Vista 64-bit, so we would select that. So from here you have a listing of all of the drivers and software that HP has made available.
Step three: Download and Install from Microsoft
Randy: Probably the next place I would go is to Microsoft, because the operating system, if it comes with Windows, then you want to go to Microsoft Windows Update tool.
Kevin: So, to go to Windows Update, you can just click Start, and go to All Programs, and right there at the top, is Windows Updates.
Randy: Click View Available updates, so you can see exactly what’s available, similar to HP Update. You can go through and you can select what you want or what you don’t want.
Kevin: Right. And you just choose which ones you want.
Randy: Uh huh, and then click the Install button and off you go.
Kevin: OK. So that’s Windows update. It’s giving you the basic security fixes and things like that. But what if you’re still having trouble, like with your sound or something like that. So you know you still need a device driver.
Randy: For specific devices, I always like to try to go into Device Manager first. You go to Start, right-click on Computer, or if it’s XP, My Computer, and then select Properties from the little window that pops up. In Vista, you would just click Device Manager. If you’re in XP, you’re going to have another System Properties window that pops up. You’ll have to click the Hardware tab, and then the Device Manager button. But they both go to Device Manager. This looks pretty much the same in both XP and Vista. But you have a list of devices. We’re looking for Sound.
Kevin: You just go down and click the plus sign next to Sound.
Randy: Sound, video, and game controllers is actually where Sound is located. This one’s called Sound Max Integrated HD Digital Audio, officially. But if you find the device that you’re looking for in this list, you can right-click the name and just select Update Driver Software. All you’ve got to do is just be online again. You say search automatically for Updated Drivers and Software. It’s going to search your system and Microsoft’s website.
Kevin: And it will just do it for you.
Step four: Download and install from Device Manufacturer
Kevin: Then if Microsoft didn’t have it, HP didn’t have it, maybe your still looking for the latest, cutting edge, maybe you’re a gamer…
Randy: I am a gamer.
Kevin: That’s right. And somebody tells you that you should probably update to the latest and newest driver for your graphics card. Where would you go to get that?
Randy: I would go to the manufacturer’s website for that graphic card.
Kevin: OK.
Randy: So, I think we still have Device Manager open here, so it’s under Display Adapters. It’s called a Display Adapter, your graphics card or your hardware. In this case, we’ve got it right here, an nVidia GeForce 9300M GS.
Kevin: So this has a graphics card made by nVidia.
Randy: So where would you go?
Kevin: Well, I’m going to go to nVidia.com, or I would go to my favorite search engine and type in nVidia GeForce 9300M GS and driver, and go there.
Randy: Or drivers – key if you’re using search keywords.
Kevin: So for us, we’ve already gone out to nVidia.com. You know most of these sites, they’re all going to be different, depending on the manufacturer, if it’s nVidia, if it’s Realtek, if it’s ATI.
Randy: The good news is that you get the latest, greatest updates from the manufacturer’s website. The bad news is you’re going to have to play on their turf. You’re going to have to know where the drivers are, or learn where they keep their drivers.
Kevin: Right. And once you’re in this space, you’re out of HPs hands. This is not HP giving this to you. You’re now in nVidia’s space, and HP may not have qualified these drivers. They’ll probably still work, but they may not, in some scenarios. But here, on nVidia, just like on HP, you just go to Download Drivers, and it’s a GeForce, you put in the series, select your operating system, which is 64-bit like we already talked about, and you’re off. And there you go. So, depending on who the manufacturer is, which you found in Device Manager, just click the plus sign, it tells you who made it. Then go out and search for it.
Step five: Ask the Forum! www.hp.com/support/consumer-forum
Kevin: HP has a consumer support forum and it’s at www.hp.com/support/consumer-forum.
Randy: I’m going to go to HP.com, click Support and Drivers, and you can find it right there (in the lower right corner).
Kevin: Yes, that’s right. Support and Drivers, Consumer Forum. There are a lot of people out here that are very smart, very sharp, that know how to find all these drivers. People come in and say, “Hey, where’s my driver for this." Depending on who’s online, they’ll come in and give you all the exact steps, all the drivers you need, and help you installing. So, this is a great place, and this actually solves a lot of people’s problems. You may even bump into us out here in these forums.
Randy: Maybe. We’re a bunch of happy, helping geeks.
Kevin: Yup. We’re out here, others are out here a bit. We’re not going to tell you which people we are. You’ll have to guess, but anyway, we hope that we’ve given you… We’ve given you everything that I know. I can’t think of any other way to find software and drivers. How about you?
Randy: Are you looking at me?
Kevin: Do you have any other ideas?
Randy: No. I think we’ve covered most of it, if not all of it.
Kevin: OK. That’s it.
Randy: OK. There you go. See you in the forums.
Kevin: Yes. See you in the forums. Hope you get your help.






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