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I have a brand new Dell laptop and just installed Windows 7 onto it. It seems like it can't find any drivers (not even for ethernet). I downloaded 1 of several drivers from dell and now ethernet works, but when I look for wireless options, there seems to be about 7 that I can choose from. How do I know which one is missing? Is there any easy way. I wouldn't mind downloaded all of them but they range from 50MB to 261MB. Which is huge... and crazy if you ask me.

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Could you tell us your model and what Dell site you're trying to download from? Please edit your question. –  slhck Sep 19 '12 at 13:56
    
If you go to dell.com/support/troubleshooting/us/en/555/… on Dell's web site, what does Dell say you have for your current configuration? –  HeatfanJohn Sep 19 '12 at 14:02

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Don't forget, most of the drivers you download from Dell Support are actually just self extracting zip files. you can change the name from .exe to .zip and extract the contents. Once you have done that you can put all the wireless card drivers in a folder (without installing any of them) and tell windows 7 to look there for the driver. It will search the folder and find the right one by itself. then you can make note of the correct driver and delete the rest.

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This was surprisingly the answer. I knew to look online even with my service tag, but it kept giving me a ton of installer files for my hardware. Switching them from exe to zip and extracting and then telling windows to search there was the simplest fix, and it all got installed without any extra bloatware. –  EGHDK Sep 19 '12 at 19:57

Just open up the lid to your wireless card on the bottom of your laptop, and take a look at your card. Write down the information for the card and look it up online using the ethernet connection. Of course, once you are online, you should be able to just do a Windows Update and it should find the exact drivers Windows 7 needs to download for your machine. Or, I believe Dell has an ActiveX utility which can detect your computer and provide the exact drivers for you.

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Short answer:
Go to the dell website. Search on your laptop model or on your service tag. It is best to search for drivers using your service tag as it will only return drivers for your specific hardware.

Long answer:

Somewhere on your laptop is a serial number. Dell's name for that is a service tag. It is a combination of 7 letters and digits. Write this one down on a piece of paper since is is most often found on the bottom of the laptop or behind the battery unit. Neither turning your laptop up side down or removing the battery while surfing is fun. A piece of paper with that number helps.

Then go to Dell's support pages.
You will most likely need the option Support for home users
Since you want to download drivers your next choice will be Drivers & downloads

The website will ask if you have a service tag. (You did, you just wrote that down). Enter it.

It will now list all drivers relevant for your model. (Including wireless drivers).

In an other tab go to the same website and search for you hardware configuration. (Dell keeps note of which hardware is in your laptop and you can look it up. This will show your laptops precise configuration, including which wireless card).

Select the right one, download it. Done :)


Note 1:
If you could not find the service tag before (or if it is unreadable after a few years) you can also try the option Automatically detect my service tag for me. This will only work if you are trying to download the drivers from the laptop you need them for.

Note 2: Are you sure the laptop did not come with a driver DVD? Usually Dell ships with both a reinstallation DVD (with extra bloatware on it) and a combined driver/test DVD.

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Even with the auto detect service tag it give me 3 options for wireless cards. –  EGHDK Sep 19 '12 at 14:49
    
Can you go to the dell website linked above, and select 'system configuration` in the left part of the website. Then enter the service tag, submit and hit 'System configuration` on the next webpage. It should take you to a page which lists the hardware configuration of your dell. Sub1). Or rather, the configuration when you bought the laptop. sub2) And it is an option which might be disabled depending on your options when you bought the laptop. –  Hennes Sep 19 '12 at 14:57
    
You can try to install the 3 wireless drivers. If you dont have the proper card, the installer will say something along the lines of "no hardware found" and quit. No harm, no foul. –  Keltari Sep 19 '12 at 15:16
    
I had my service tag in there, and I even did the auto config utility that they have on that page, but it just wouldn't work for my precision system. I was able to download the exe's but they wouldn't install my wireless card. I changed from exe to zip then extracted and told windows to search there. I appreciate the time and effort. Thanks –  EGHDK Sep 19 '12 at 19:59

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