Drivers in Windows Server 2008

I get many questions about how to get all hardware working in Windows Server 2008. Basically all Vista drivers should work. I will describe three methods how to get the drivers you need and how to install them. You can use these methods too for other Windows versions than Windows Server 2008.

Method 1: Windows Update

1. The easiest way to get drivers is to open up the “Windows Update” application in Windows Vista / Server 2008 by clicking Start -> Control Panel -> Windows Update. In the upper left of the Windows Update window click Check for updates, and wait until the search has finished.

2. Click the View available updates link to look if there are drivers for your devices.

3. If there are (newer versions of) drivers available they will be listed here. Check the boxes if they are not already checked and click Install at the bottom right to install the updates and device drivers if available. In my case no drivers are available.

Method 2: Manually download them

To visit the manufacturer for drivers you first have to know information about the hardware that isn’t installed yet. To view the drivers you still need open the Server Manager by right clicking on Computer, and clicking Manage. In the Server Manager expand Diagnostics and click Device Manager. The Windows Device Manager probably won’t tell much more about the unknown devices than Audio Device or even Unknown Device.

1. To find out what the real names of the devices are first go to download and install the tool Lavalys Everest Ultimate Edition from the Lavalys website or download.com.

2. After you installed Everest, start the program. Now you can look for two things: the exact type of your motherboard (2a), and the the devices that are not installed yet (2b). The best is to install the drivers for your motherboard first.

2a. Motherboard: To view the exact type of your motherboard, expand Motherboard and click Motherboard to view its name. For the motherboard there is often an url to go to the product page of the manufacturer. On this page search for links like downloads/drivers/support and download the Windows Vista drivers.

2b. Other devices: To view which devices you haven’t installed yet expand Devices and click Windows Devices for devices you attached to your motherboard. When you click an unknown device you will see the device name and manufacturer most times. Search with your favorite search engine for the manufacturer and/or device name and look for the Windows Vista drivers. In this screenshot I the SM Bus Controller driver isn’t installed.

3. After you downloaded the drivers you can install the drivers in two ways: Automatically (3a) or Manually (3b).

3a. Automatically: You can install the drivers automatically by just following the instructions and installation files in the driver package. There is not much more to say about.

3b. Manually:
1. Sometimes manually installing the drivers just don’t work because the installer is not packed in a compression that is readable by WinRAR (download from http://www.rarlabs.com/), but if it is possible extract the driver package with WinRAR by right clicking on the file you downloaded, then choosing extract to name subfolder.

2. Open the Device Manager in the Server Manager like described on the top of this page and double click the unknown device. Change your view to tab Driver, and click Update Driver. (Here I just selected the networking card that is already installed because I don’t have any not installed devices, but it’s almost the same procedure.)

3. Choose Browse my computer for driver software if you are asked how to search for driver software.

4. Click browse and select the driver folder in the folder you extracted in step 1.

5. Click Next so Windows will search the folder including subfolders for drivers.

6. If the right driver is found it will be installed immediately. After the installation has finished click the Close button. Now your driver is installed!

Method 3: Ma-Config.com

(thanks Valorisa)

The website in this method is partially french, but that won’t be a problem if you just click the right links/buttons! 😉

1. Start Microsoft Internet Explorer, go to the url http://ma-config.com/accueil_en.html and click Start the Detection.

2. At the Detectér sa configuration page click Installation automatique (automatic installation). When asked to install the ActiveX control, accept the security warning by clicking Install.

3. In the MA-Config.com Setup window click Next. Select Standard as Installation Type and click Next. Choose the location to install and click Next again. Start the installation by clicking Install. After the setup has finished, click Finish. The driver detection will now start. If the driver detection crashes, just use this url in stead of the url in step 1 to get it working. (at least, that worked for me!)

3. After the detection has completed a list of devices will be shown. If drivers are available click in the right corner beside the magnifying glass at Télécharger mes drivers (Download my drivers). At this page you can download the drivers you want by clicking at Télécharger (Download) behind the green arrow.

4. In the window that opens next scroll down till you see the title Téléchargement. Click the picture of the hard disk and you got your driver! You can now install them either automatically or manually using the instructions in Method 2.

5. After you installed all drivers you can remove the ActiveX control by clicking Control Panel in the Start menu, opening Programs and Features, and double clicking Ma-Config.com.

Method 4: DriverAgent.com

If the three other methods didn’t work or if you just don’t want to try them, visit the website http://www.driveragent.com/, click the Scan Now button and install the plugin when asked. Your computer hardware will now be examined to check if there are drivers available for your specific operating system/architecture. The disadvantage is that, if there are drivers, you need to pay for an account in order to download the drivers. That’s why I added this as the last solution for driver problems.

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