New Windows 7 install on SSD needs tweaking
February 10, 2014 9:15 AM   Subscribe

How do I obtain or find the necessary files/drivers etc. to make the new O/S connect to the internet (and generally play nice from day one)?

My cousin got a new 120GB SSD and last night I installed a clean copy of Windows 7 SP1 HP without incident. That O/S install was from a 'vanilla' disc that an IT security friend gave me (obtained legitimately direct from Microsoft). It simply required the addition of the Product Key. That same Product Key belongs to the O/S (still) installed on the HDD of my cousin's pc.

So far so good. The SSD boots to a near-empty desktop - of course - and the crux of my question is this, I suppose: how can I find a/the network adapter driver(s) to get onto the internet (ADSL) and/or do I need to do anything or to get anything else in particular at this initial stage to repopulate the SSD with the usual programs and/or start it off on its merry new life in the best way possible?

I will have access to another pc when I return to my cousin's place in about 8 hours time to start tweaking. (I presume using Portable Apps for browser access + Ninite to ferry a bunch of usual suspect programs is the most sensible way forward AFTER web connection is established?)

And will backing up the HDD drivers to a flash drive using Double Driver help here with the network adapter or potentially for other deficits??

(The HDD is fine and still boots, runs well and connects to the web.)

My level of knowledge is ~fair.
posted by peacay to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
What kind of network adapter do you have? These days they are generally on the motherboard, so it will depend on that. Is that a pre-assembled computer from Dell or the like, or a custom one?

Unless the computer is ancient, it will probably have a Realtek or Intel Ethernet adapter; the base Windows install has drivers for these.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:21 AM on February 10, 2014

You don't provide any information about what hardware you are using.

how can I find a/the network adapter driver(s) to get onto the internet (ADSL) and/or do I need to do anything or to get anything else in particular at this initial stage to repopulate the SSD with the usual programs and/or start it off on its merry new life in the best way possible?

Did your network adapter come with your computer? If so, download the drivers from your computer manufacturer's web site. If not, download them from the adapter manufacturer's web site. Do this on a computer that has working access, put them on some form of removable storage that you can access from the new install (like a flash drive), then install. Then you can get whatever else you need off the Internet directly.

You could presumably try to install security hotfixes before hooking it up to the Internet, but I wouldn't bother, especially if you already have Service Pack 1 installed.
posted by grouse at 9:21 AM on February 10, 2014

For what it's worth, I have never been able to connect to the Internet with a fresh Windows install on any computer I've ever tried on (mainly IBM/Lenovo and Toshiba laptops), without installing specific drivers downloaded elsewhere. Even when the machine had an Intel network adapter.
posted by grouse at 9:23 AM on February 10, 2014

It's not my pc and I'm not returning to it for hours so can't advise much on the hardware. The pc was bought post-windows7 so it's about 3 years old.
posted by peacay at 9:24 AM on February 10, 2014

Yeah...sorry... I know approx. zero about network adapters. Do I just look up generic windows adapters or is there some way to identify them on the HDD to find out their name or whatever??
ps EDIT.. don't know manufacturer of pc
posted by peacay at 9:26 AM on February 10, 2014

You're asking a question that requires specific knowledge about the hardware in question. Since Windows didn't automatically detect the network adapter, you'll need to find the driver specific to your hardware. The easiest way to do this is to go to the website of the computer manufacturer, and search for drivers for the computer in question, as grouse mentioned.

If you're having trouble finding it yourself, we would still need to know specifically what make and model of computer you have before we could provide any concrete help.
posted by Aleyn at 9:32 AM on February 10, 2014

You cannot do this without knowing the manufacturer and model of the computer or the network adapter. You have to wait until you can find those things out.

If the computer was built by a major manufacturer there should be a model number for the computer somewhere on the case that will be all you need. If not you might be able to figure it out by opening up the computer and looking at the network adapter.
posted by grouse at 9:35 AM on February 10, 2014

OK, thanks - I understand what you're saying. I'll look into it later when I visit my cousin. (pretty sure the pc manufacturer is a now defunct web operation, although they may have only been wholesalers)
posted by peacay at 9:40 AM on February 10, 2014

Well that was a lot easier than expected .. I simply pointed the device manager from the new SSD win7 install to look in the D (the old C) drive and it installed the original (Realtek) adapter driver and I got online in seconds.
posted by peacay at 3:20 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Next time you do an install like this, backup the drivers from the existing installation using Double Driver (free and a portable app, so you can run it from a USB stick if you want).

When you've re-installed Windows, simply point the device manager at the folder it created with all your drivers in it and those missing drivers will get re-installed for you.

If you download them from the internet like grouse mentioned, then you'll naturally get more up to date versions - but my method is quicker, easier and will ensure that everything you previously had working will continue to work after the re-install. After which, you can hunt for updates at your leisure if you so desire...
posted by mr_silver at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2014

Well, I wrote of much of what you are saying in my intro. But it turns out the most logical and most easiest thing to do in my particular circumstance was to point the device manager at the HDD (formerly C, but now, D-drive) et voila! The thing was, I wrote this Askme when I was away from the target pc thinking I could get some helper info before returning to my cousin's pc. Anyway, alls well that ends well. Thanks grouse et al.
posted by peacay at 9:45 AM on February 11, 2014

Shoot, sorry, I didn't see that part.

To answer your question then: yes, it would have helped here - but only if you do it before you did the reinstall :)
posted by mr_silver at 7:40 AM on February 12, 2014

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