Windows 7 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Dealing with device drivers


Windows 7 Essential Training

with David Rivers

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Video: Dealing with device drivers

Drivers are those little files that are typically hidden away that actually drive the devices you connect to your computer. For example, when you plug in a digital camera, a driver is necessary to make that device work on your computer. The good news is with Windows 7 when you connect devices, typically the drivers are automatically found for you. They are installed for you the first time. And then you don't have to worry about them. Sometimes even software is installed and you are up and ready to use your device. You don't even know anything happened.
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  1. 16m 28s
    1. Welcome
      1m 54s
    2. Windows basics for first-time users
      13m 47s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 29m 18s
    1. Assessing your hardware and Windows 7 versions
      6m 57s
    2. Upgrading from other Windows versions
      2m 56s
    3. Transferring old files with Windows Easy Transfer
      7m 2s
    4. Dealing with device drivers
      6m 42s
    5. Running a Windows XP program in Windows 7
      5m 41s
  3. 33m 12s
    1. Getting familiar with the desktop
      8m 55s
    2. Handling tasks with the improved task bar
      8m 50s
    3. Accessing your favorites quickly with jump lists
      3m 59s
    4. Finding files and programs with Windows Search
      2m 18s
    5. Using the Action Center
      3m 48s
    6. Keeping information at your fingertips with desktop gadgets
      5m 22s
  4. 34m 24s
    1. Navigating folders and their contents
      6m 59s
    2. Staying organized with your own folders
      4m 44s
    3. Choosing how your folders and user interface behave
      7m 30s
    4. Sharing and protecting folders and files
      5m 27s
    5. Simplifying organization with libraries
      3m 48s
    6. Backing up by burning to CD or DVD
      5m 56s
  5. 24m 44s
    1. Windows Media Center
      7m 22s
    2. Playing media files with Windows Media Player
      3m 59s
    3. Organizing and sharing photos in Windows Explorer
      7m 22s
    4. Taking screenshots with the Snipping tool
      6m 1s
  6. 24m 35s
    1. Taking notes with sticky notes, Notepad, and WordPad
      11m 33s
    2. Creating graphics with Paint
      4m 58s
    3. Performing simple and advanced calculations with the calculator
      5m 20s
    4. Playing Windows games
      2m 44s
  7. 33m 5s
    1. Getting under your computer's hood with the Control Panel
      5m 28s
    2. Controlling system settings
      6m 38s
    3. Controlling sound device volume settings
      6m 38s
    4. Uninstalling programs that are no longer used
      2m 42s
    5. Setting default programs
      5m 10s
    6. Exploring accessibility options
      6m 29s
  8. 21m 1s
    1. Connecting hardware with Device Stage
      2m 56s
    2. Create a home network using HomeGroup
      4m 49s
    3. Controlling what is shared on a network
      3m 26s
    4. Troubleshooting a network and HomeGroup
      3m 58s
    5. Reconnecting quickly with jump lists
      2m 18s
    6. Boosting your computer's memory with ReadyBoost
      3m 34s
  9. 31m 53s
    1. Keeping your PC secure with Windows Update
      3m 44s
    2. Battling spyware with Windows Defender
      7m 41s
    3. Controlling access with user accounts
      4m 32s
    4. Streamlining passwords in Credential Manager
      4m 38s
    5. Using parental controls to block unwanted content
      4m 49s
    6. Securing drives with BitLocker Drive Encryption
      6m 29s
  10. 15m 11s
    1. Printing files directly from Windows
      2m 48s
    2. Troubleshooting printer problems
      5m 15s
    3. Printing power tips
      3m 56s
    4. Printing to and viewing the XPS file format
      3m 12s
  11. 25m 4s
    1. Finding issues in the Troubleshooting control panel
      3m 53s
    2. Sharing issues with the Problem Steps Recorder
      3m 56s
    3. Backing up folders and drives
      6m 36s
    4. Restoring files and drives
      4m 39s
    5. Handling an entire system crash
      6m 0s
  12. 28m 23s
    1. Exploring changes to the UI
      4m 46s
    2. Access sites quickly using Favorites and History
      5m 17s
    3. Connecting to RSS feeds and web slices
      6m 1s
    4. Displaying similar sites with Suggested Sites
      2m 16s
    5. Browsing without navigating using accelerators
      6m 36s
    6. Keeping your browsing private using InPrivate Browsing and filtering
      3m 27s
  13. 1h 14m
    1. Setting up your Windows Live profile
      4m 37s
    2. Downloading Windows Live Essentials
      2m 23s
    3. Tracking dates and events with the Windows Live calendar
      7m 22s
    4. Free email with Windows Live Mail
      6m 14s
    5. Texting live with Windows Live Messenger
      7m 13s
    6. Organizing and sharing photos in Photo Gallery
      9m 46s
    7. Synchronizing photos on two computers with Live Sync
      4m 0s
    8. Controlling content and communications with Family Safety
      6m 26s
    9. Keeping a blog with Windows Live Writer
      6m 50s
    10. Accessing free online storage with SkyDrive
      4m 44s
    11. Creating a movie with Windows Live Movie Maker
      14m 46s
  14. 18s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Windows 7 Essential Training
6h 31m Beginner Oct 22, 2009

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In Windows 7 Essential Training, David Rivers helps users of any level feel comfortable with the improvements and enhancements found in Microsoft's operating system. From simple navigation through the updated graphic user interface, David shows how to install or upgrade and get the most out of Windows 7. He covers using the new Internet Explorer 8 and boosting a computer's memory with the ReadyBoost tool. He also highlights hardware configuration options and explores the advances made connecting a home or work system with Windows Live, the cloud-computing environment made available for Windows 7 users. Exercise files accompany this course.

Topics include:
  • Running Windows XP programs within a Windows 7 installation Accessing favorites quickly through jump lists Establishing user settings through Windows Explorer Setting up a home network with Homegroup Displaying similar sites with suggestions in Internet Explorer 8 Syncing photos on two computers with Live Sync
Business Education + Elearning
David Rivers

Dealing with device drivers

Drivers are those little files that are typically hidden away that actually drive the devices you connect to your computer. For example, when you plug in a digital camera, a driver is necessary to make that device work on your computer. The good news is with Windows 7 when you connect devices, typically the drivers are automatically found for you. They are installed for you the first time. And then you don't have to worry about them. Sometimes even software is installed and you are up and ready to use your device. You don't even know anything happened.

Some older devices however may not get recognized. Now typical devices you might connect to your computer include printers and scanners, cameras, video cameras, mass storage devices and so on. So let's see what happens when we connect a device in Windows 7. I am going to use a digital camera. Now if you have got something you'd like to connect, go ahead and plug it in. When you connect it to the computer something may happen. Check it down the bottom right hand corner here. Very quickly it happened. A message appeared saying that the driver was being installed automatically for me.

Also down here the software was installed successfully for my Olympus camera. You can see the model number. It's a USB device and because it is a camera, AutoPlay also launch this window where I have some picture options for importing and viewing pictures. Also some general options for using the device like I would in any other Windows folder, even as a backup or a speed up resource. So I am going to close this up. So my device is now connected and it's ready to use. So I can access it from Windows Explorer or I could have made one of those selections for viewing or downloading those files.

But once it's connected what about the driver itself? We know the driver was installed. Sometimes drivers are updated. Sometimes we want to remove the driver. How do we manage the drivers for these devices when we connect them? Well, we use the Device Manager. Let's go down to the Windows Orb. The old Start button. Give it a click and down at the bottom, the fastest way to find something and I know the Device Manager is under Control panel up here. But I also know it's called Device Manager. So I can start typing in the word device and right at the top under Control panel you will see Device Manager.

And here is where you are going to get a list of everything in your computer. Anything connected to your computer as well. So if I go up to Disk Drives, because I know that my digital camera is being treated like a drive where I can back up files and view those files, there it is right at the top the Olympus. And when I select it or highlight it, I have got a number of options at the top. I could go up to the File menu to view those Options. There is an Action menu to update the driver software itself. That's cool, and I can Uninstall from here as well.

If I don't want this driver and I don't plan on using this device on this computer. I can also Scan for changes, all kinds of cool things. Now another option, we will just click to close that, is to right-click the device to see some of those options such as Update Driver Software. So let's try that. Now you can see that for this particular driver I can search automatically. I need an Internet connection if I want to be able to search the Internet for the latest driver or I can browse the computer myself doing it manually.

Well most people are going to let that happen automatically. Look how fast that was. Windows determined the driver software is up to date. So nothing happened. If there was a new version it would automatically be updated for me. So I am going to close this up. And I am going to close up my Device Manager. Now let's see what happens when I add an older device. I know that this device in Windows XP, even Windows Vista, did not get recognized but I am in Windows 7 now. So I am going to attach a very old MP3 player.

Let's see what happens. As you can see the exact same thing happened as with my new Olympus camera down in the bottom right-hand corner of the Task bar. You can see the name of this. This is the BenQ Joybee. So I even got the manufacturer name and size. The device driver was found, the software installed successfully and because this is an actual storage device, you can see this little window appears indicating there might be a problem with some of the files on the device.

Doesn't know really, so I can scan and fix or I can continue without scanning if I am not worried about it. I will choose Continue and now I am back to AutoPlay and you can see it's a media file. So I have got Audio file options. I can open it to view it. Even use it to speed up my system. Just like I could with my Olympus camera. Now if we go back to Device Manager, I like to type it in and we look at our Disk Drives we have got the BenQ installed here as well.

So I am going to right-click, and this time go to Properties and here you can see we have got a number of tabs. In this case, you can see that the manufacturer just under Standard disk drives, but it does show up here is BenQ, so it recognized that. Any Policies, check out the Volume information. Now in this case, there are no volumes on this disk. It's not really a disk, but if you are working with disk devices you will be able to do that. Here is the Driver tab and here are some options. So I can view the Driver Details. You can see that. There is two of them there. Two certificates.

I can update the driver just like I could by right-clicking, right from here. I can Disable the device. Now that doesn't remove the actual driver. It just disables it. So it doesn't appear in Device Manager or I can choose to Uninstall it. If I am not going to use this MP3 player, I really don't need the driver, choose Uninstall and click okay and it will be removed. Now, I have got it done twice here. So I have repeated this. I have to do the same thing. This time I am going to right-click and choose Uninstall and click OK and it's very quickly removed. Just like that.

So close up Device Manager and talk about one last scenario. If you got a really old device, you probably don't want to use it anyways, but if you can't let go the old device, you want to plug it into your computer here on Windows 7 and the driver can't be found, you are going to have to go to that manufacturer's website to try to find the driver, download it from there. Windows 7, once it's downloaded and installed will be very good at finding it and picking it up and allowing your device to work, but not every single device in the world is going to be able to work.

Some of those old ones just need to be let go and continue working with your newer devices here in Windows 7.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Windows 7 Essential Training .

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Q: Is there a way to share files and printers between computers on network running Windows XP and Windows 7 without using the HomeGroup share method of Windows 7, since XP does not have this feature?
A: While Windows XP does not support the new HomeGroup found in Windows 7, there is another way to share files and printers between the two operating systems.  There are a number of steps to follow, but they are all listed here:
Q: Is it possible for a computer running Windows XP to join a Windows 7 HomeGroup?
A: Unfortunately, only Windows 7 supports HomeGroup.  If the Windows XP computer must connect with the Windows 7 computer, there are have two options:

1.  Upgrade the XP machine to Windows 7 and joining will be no problem.
2.  Change the Windows 7 HomeGroup to a regular Workgroup and the XP machine will be able to connect to it.  

Here are the steps to changing a HomeGroup to a Workgroup:
  1. On the Windows 7 computer, click the Start button at the bottom left of the screen.
  2. Go to the Control Panel and choose Network and Sharing Center.
  3. Click the link for "View your active networks.” 
  4. In the next window choose "Work network." That will switch the group from a HomeGroup to a Workgroup so the two computers can talk to each other. However, the same workgroup name and share folders in Explorer must be assigned to both computers before they can be networked.
For ease of use, if there is already an existing HomeGroup on the Windows 7 computer, upgrading the XP machine to Windows 7 would be the recommended course of action. There is a course in the Online Training Library, Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7, that explains the steps for transitioning to Windows 7.
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