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When Windows XP setup loads (in the blue screen with white writing), it proceeds to load a whole heap of device drivers, most of which overlap each other, in that they are for the same device type, but different device brand.

Why doesn't Windows setup detect what hardware is present, and only load drivers for the detected hardware?

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2 Answers 2

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Windows XP setup has to load all the drivers in order to determine what hardware you have. If it doesn't load a driver it can't know how to probe for that device.

It doesn't keep all the drivers - once it knows which drivers are relevant for your system it installs those drivers. All other drivers (except some common ones like USB mass storage etc) are discarded.

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Who is correct? Does it load all drivers, or only generic drivers? –  Steve Mar 28 '11 at 12:20

Windows XP setup loads generic drivers, that will work on most of the systems these days, in order to prevent compatibility issues in the setup.

*These drivers are only relevant for the setup.

**I'm not sure if this method is the same in Vista/7, but as for XP - this is the method.

***Windows Setup DOES load only the needed drivers.

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Who is correct? Does it load all drivers, or only generic drivers? –  Steve Mar 28 '11 at 12:21

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