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

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, 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:

(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 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 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

Method 4:

If the three other methods didn’t work or if you just don’t want to try them, visit the website, 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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43 Responses

  1. Firstly I want to thank you all for posting such great tips.
    I have a “usb nature” problem with my Server2008Ent x32 and hope somebody could help.
    I ‘m into music industry and use an “access virus ti desktop” ( connected with usb that works fine with 2.51 firmware driver. The problem arises when trying to upgrade to the new firmwares.
    Does anyone know which are the differences of vista vs serv08 on usb driver level?
    Even better can someone upload the necessary usb related vista files that will make server 08 “see” the device properly?
    I’m into this problem a year now and can’t figure out a solution
    Thank you in advance

    Arris: Why bother when you can also update the firmware on an other (XP/Vista) PC? 😉 I’ve no idea why that doesn’t work in Windows Server 2008 in your case!

  2. PRMan says:

    If you have an ASUS board with the Atheros L1e chipset that won’t install because ASUS won’t let it, download the driver from ECS’ site (P43T-A2 board).

    It’s a Zip file and you can point 2008 Server at the C:DriversNetworkL1evista_64 folder and you’re all set.

  3. Alan says:

    Anyone have issues with wireless network adapters, specifically ones with the Ralink 2500 chipset? I have a Hawking HWP54GR, the vista 64 drivers installed fine and the utility runs, but the device is still unknown, any ideas?

  4. Pod2k says:

    This will make Logitech input devices driver work in win2k8.

    works fine for me.

    Logitech G5
    Windows 2008 Enterprise Sp1

  5. SandyB says:

    This is a great site – lots of good tips – thanks!!

    I have Win 2008 Server 64 running on an 780G motherboard, and I couldn’t get the drivers for the IGP to load (ATI install program crashes).
    Just tried running the installer from command prompt & it seems to have worked!!:
    Start | Command Prompt (Run as administrator)
    cd C:ATISUPPORT8-9_vista64_dd_68906Bin64 (or wherever you extracted the ATI installer)
    ATISetup -install -output screen

    Arris: Thanks for your compliments and the explanation of installing the ati x64 drivers! 🙂

  6. John says:

    x RazorJack: does it exist a list of Nvidia compatibility videocard supported by those XFastest drivers? I can’t understand how to surf that chinese site…

    Arris: Maybe Google Translate can help you?

  7. Chris Kapilla says:

    Wow you are a saint! Lavalys provided just the information I needed. Thanks for all the comprehensive info.

  8. RazorJack says:

    If you need to get nvidia drivers on windows 2008 64-bit… get XFastest 177.85 Vista64 from Tested and works!!!

  9. Jarek says:

    Well, to get the drivers I need to have an internet connection and I can not get it to work. Installed Windows 2008 (64byte)over Vista (64byte). I had my wireless working on Vista but not on W2K8. I does not even allow me to create a wireless connection. Why? Help?

    Arris: Are you sure you have installed the drivers for your Wireless Card? If not, find the exact name of the hardware via the Lavalys Everest application, download the drivers on some other pc/laptop, put them on a usbstick or external harddisk and install them on your Windows Server 2008 PC. Good luck! 😉

  10. Anonymous says:

    For, in the top right hand corner are two buttons – one of the UK Flag, and the other of the French Flag. Clicking on the UK Flag translates the site into English. 🙂

    Arris: Thanks for notifying and sorry for the delay! Now the article is updated! 😉

  11. jsu says:

    Method 2: Manually download them.
    it nice! thank for aticle.

    Arris: You are welcome! 🙂

  12. Doug T says:

    If you are having trouble enabling bluetooth (this works for toshiba laptops and bluetooth devices untested on anything else)

    use the following link for the bluetooth stack

  13. NICK says:

    i have found that the best results i got was when i dual booted windows server 2008 and vista home premium. i just got all of my drivers from the setup for vistas drivers.

  14. valorisa says:


    After detection, the site gives like result this :


  15. valorisa says:


    Since few days, there is a new version of

    Don’t forget to have a look at the new v3 and click “Démarrer la détection”. Again install the new activeX. The informations are more numerous about the hardware configuration.


    Arris: Thanks Valorisa for notifying! Updated the steps in the manual, however in my case the new plugin crashed in both IE7 32bit and 64bit, but when I use the same plugin at the website it just works… 🙂

  16. valorisa says:


    Do you know ?

    This site is written in french language but it is totally free and enough complete to scan precisely your hardware. First thing, you have to click on “Lancer la détection” and follow instructions like run active X when it needed.

    Thanks for your excellent guide.


  17. ikyouCrow says:

    another way to get drivers (Microsoft drivers that is) would be to try the Windows Update Catalog:

    from here you can search for the device using the DEV_#### string and queue as many drivers as you need. they are downloaded in plainly named zip files and you can find both 32 and 64 bit drivers for download.

  18. Rammhold says:

    gibt es die anleitung auch in deutsch.

    gruß rammhold

    Arris: I can’t speak/write German that well but you can use a translator like en-de to read this article in your own language.

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