Determining unknown hardware after reformat?

By TorturedChaos
Apr 20, 2010
  1. This is something I struggle with every time I do a reformat on a strange machine. If I'm not able to write down the what hardware is in the machine, I have a hell of a time determining which drivers I need. Of course for some you can do a physical inspection and the product name is printed right on the side, but with my 2 killers are integrated video cards and network controls.

    For example I just had to do a reformat of our Dell Vostro 200 at work. I wasn't able to write down what the network controller was or the graphics card are before hand. Luckily there was only a few options for the network control listed on the dell site, and I was able to get the right one on the first try. But there are 10+ different cards and drivers listed on the dell site for the graphics cards >_<

    So does anyone have a reliable way of determining which graphics card is running with integrated graphics cards?? Not just for this case, but in general.

  2. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,202   +422

    A method I used to use a long time ago was to open Device Manager and select the device
    then go into Properties of that device and Details and select Hardware IDs
    and then google pertinent parts of the IDs

    In this case I'd google VEN_1002&DEV_9442 - but sometimes you have to search for different portions of the strings.
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    • Make sure all your devices are connected and powered on
    • Click Start->Run, enter: msinfo32. Click the + sign next to Components to expand it
    • Click Problem Devices. Anything appear?
    • If yes, click on it, Ctrl-A to select all, Ctrl-C to copy it, Ctrl-V to paste into next post
    Checkout the instructions above.
    > It's the simplest way to get the Device ID for problem devices (whether for yourself or when needing that info from others)
    ==> By definition, the Device ID is the first ID in its list of Hardware IDs
    > Plus Problem Devices report will also display the "Device Description" (which is programmed into the device firmware along with its Hardware IDs)

    /* edit */
    And these instructions will work for all versions of windows from W2K through current.
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,202   +422

  5. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 828   +17

    Ok thx guys! I ended up using the tool LNCPapa linked. It was the Intel G33/G31 Integrated graphics.

    Which is odd b/c I d/l that driver from the dell web site but it wouldn't work. Still said unknow VGA device....but the one from the intel site did work. guess I should have known better than to trust a driver off the dells site :p
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