10 February 2011

IT Support - Determining Hardware by ID

This was part of my old blog before it got wiped out, but it is something I think should make a repeat performance.

There are many times I am working on a computer and I see a "?" in the Device Manager and it says Unknown Device or something very generic like VGA Adapter. Items like that are very annoying. The way to fix this is a 2 part process. The first part is getting the hardware codes, the 2nd part is determining what they are.

Part 1 - Finding the hardware code.
  • Right-click on the My Computer icon and select Manage
  • Select Device Manager
  • Right-click on the device in question and click Properties
  • Select the Details tab
  • Select Device Instance ID(Windows XP) or Hardware Ids(Windows 7) from the dropdown list
  • Note the hexadecimal values after the VEN_ and DEV_

Part 2 - Determining the hardware
  • Open Internet Explorer
  • Go to www.pcidatabase.com
  • Enter the value of the DEV_ in the Device Search field and click Search
  • Review the results until you find the proper Vendor ID

By using these steps, you can figure out what an unknown device is and download the proper drivers for it.