Driver packs let you update unknown or hard to find drivers automatically. Ever wondered how computer repair techs can use a ‘magic’ DVD or USB Flash Drive to update or install drivers on your PC or laptop – even for unknown devices or if you have no internet access?
It’s almost as if they have almost every possible driver stored on a disc… Well the simple answer is that they do! We discussed what drivers are and why/when you should update them in our article here. You may be able to find a driver from the manufacturer of either the device or your computer but sometimes you can’t access the internet or they don’t have an updated version available or the device is unknown so you don’t know the manufacturer – you may not even know what type of device it is!
In these situations ‘magic’ driver packs come into their own.Instead of having to track down just one specific file, the idea of a pack is to download thousands of files (a pack) for that type of device and allow Windows to search for the right one.
Imagine you have 1,000 wireless adapter drivers stored in a folder on a DVD – you just ask Windows to search it for an updated driver for your wireless adapter. Windows will look through each of the 1,000 files in the folder until it finds the correct one and will then automatically install it.
Before Creating Driver Packs – you will need 2 programs:
- A Bittorrent program installed – to be able to download the packs. If you do not have such software already we recommend that you download and install uTorrent from here – it is a tiny program that allows you to download Torrents.
- A file archiver program installed – to be able to extract .7z zipped (archive) files. If you do not have such software already you can download and install 7-zip from here – it’s a tiny program to extract (unzip) .7z files.
How To Create A Driver Pack
First, go to Driverpacks.net here. Under the Filter menu choose your OS (Operating System) which should be Windows.
Select your version of Windows: either 2000/XP/2003 or Vista/7. Now choose your architecture: for 2000/XP/2003 it will be x86 (32bit), but for Vista/7 it can be x86 (32bit) or x64 (64bit) – if you do not know which version you have, see our article on how to tell if your Windows is 32bit or 64bit.
Now choose which type of pack you want to download e.g. WLAN (wireless adapter), LAN (wired network adapter) etc.
Note: some packs (Graphics and Sound) are so large that they come in 2 or 3 separate packs labelled A/B/C – you will need to download all of them e.g. if you want Graphics for a PC you should download Graphics A, Graphics B and Graphics C (if available) or for a laptop you should download Graphics Mobile.
Now click Apply and you should see a list of packs below for that type of device – you will want the top one in the list which is always the latest version. Click the ‘Download’ link next to it to take you to the download page for that pack.
Now click the Download button to download and save the pack via your Torrent software e.g. uTorrent. Once the file has been downloaded it will be an archive .7z file – extract it to a folder using your archiver software e.g. 7-zip. This folder contains all the drivers from the pack you downloaded.
Follow the above process for every pack you want – if you want to download all the latest packs for one operating system you will need to download a total of about 1 GB.
Now save all of the folders (not the .7z files!) to a DVD or Flash Drive – these folders are your packs.
How To Use Driver Packs
Let’s assume that your LAN (wired ethernet network card) driver is corrupt or missing so you can’t get on the internet to download a new one. If you previously saved the LAN pack folder for your version of Windows onto DVD or Flash Drive you can use this to install an up to date version and get your LAN working again:
- Windows Device Manager shows you the drivers installed on your computer. To access Device Manager: click Start then right click on (My) Computer and click on Manage to open the Computer Management window.
- Look under System Tools and click on Device Manager to display a list in the right panel of all the hardware in your computer.
- Double click on the Network Adapters item to reveal the name of your network adapter below:
- Double click on the name of the network adapter to open its Properties window.
- Click on the Driver tab and click the ‘Update Driver’ button – select ‘No’ if asked to use Windows Update to find a driver:
- Click to ‘Install from a list or specific location’ and click ‘Next’.
- Choose ‘Search For The Best Driver In These Locations’.
- See Tip below first. Choose ‘Search Removable Media’ and click ‘Next’ – Windows will search through your DVD/flash drive until it finds and installs the right one for your network adapter:
- Tip: If you have Windows Vista or W7, you can greatly speed up the process by defining which pack folder Windows should look in. Instead of asking it to search the whole of your removable media as above, choose ‘Include this location in the search’ instead then click ‘Browse’ and browse to the specific folder where you stored the network adapter (LAN) pack and select to search all subfolders then click ‘Next’ – Windows will now search through only the LAN pack folder of your DVD/flash drive until it finds and installs the right software for your network adapter.
Now let’s assume that you have an unknown device in Device Manager and you have no idea what it is – this is most common if you have just reinstalled Windows and have not loaded drivers yet.
- Follow exactly the same process as above and let Windows search through all your saved pack folders for the right software – Windows is able to recognize which is the correct driver even though the device is currently unknown (it’s clever like that!)
- Obviously you cannot speed this process up by using the Tip above even if you do have Vista/7 – because you won’t know which specific folder to browse to – just let it search all removable media and it should get there in the end.
Do The Packs Include ALL Drivers?
There is no way to include every single driver for every type of device ever produced but we have never found a standard device that the Packs did not have the correct software for. Standard devices include wireless and wired network adapters, sound and graphics cards, chipsets, cardreaders, mass storage, touchpads, modems etc.
So if you have a cheap generic Chinese ‘no brand’ webcam you may be out of luck but it would still be well worth giving packs a try – even the most obscure devices often use standard internal parts and therefore also use standard or popular drivers.
Finally, a big thanks to all at DriverPacks for taking the time to build and update these packs!