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Finding drivers for unknown devices

After installing and setting up a fresh copy of Windows, there are times when you check the Device Manager and you see the little yellow exclamation point meaning a driver hasn’t been installed for a device.

If the driver isn’t on a driver disk, and maybe you don’t have a copy of the driver because your original hard disk was broken – what do you do? The device just shows up as unknown modem, or unknown media device or something similar.

What you can do is check the properties of the device, find out its signature and look it up on a great little website

In Device Manager, right click on the unknown device and select Properties. Go to the Detail tab and select Hardware Ids from the drop down list. The image below shows what you should expect to see.

Image of the Properties window showing the hardware IDs of a device

The Hardware Ids includes a Vendor code and Device code. In this case, the Vendor code is 8086 and the Device code is 10DE.

What you do next is head over to the website and plug in one of these numbers. Usually I enter the Device code into the Device Search box as it tends to produce a shorter list of devices to look through.

Image of the PCI Database Search facility

The results page then shows you all devices in the database where Device code is 10DE. What you need to do then is look for the one that also has a matching Vendor code.

Image of the results of a PCI Database search

In this case I have found that my device with Vendor code 8086 and Device code 10DE is made by Intel and the specific device is an Intel Gigabit network connection.

Sometimes you will find links to drivers, but the best option is always to go the manufacturers website and look for their Support/Service/Downloads area and search for drivers for the named device.

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  1. That website doesn’t exist anymore.

  2. ceased to operate in 2017 so I have built a replacement at 😉

  3. Found the Details but the LINK does not open to download the Drivers???

    VEN_11AB and DEV_4364

  4. I have written to the admin @ regarding the error we get on the site. I hope it will get fixed.

  5. isn’t working lately. When I search I get this error: if(isset($message)){ echo $error_msg; } ?>

  6. Pingback: How to Find Drivers for devices with PCI | Computer Repair Tips : Computer Blog | Computer Tips and Tricks | Everything you need to know

  7. i want to request the driver

  8. Thanks man. I’m very gratefull for this information. It was very helpfull.

  9. Great article spot on, just what i needed

    many thanks

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