Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When installing windows, there's a link to "Load Driver" as shown:

enter image description here

From what I know, drivers can always be installed after the OS is installed, so it seems odd that there's a "Load Driver" link during Windows installation.

What kind of "drivers" are they talking about? Is there any difference installing these drivers after Windows is installed?

This is what I see when I click on the "Load Driver" link:

enter image description here

**these images are found on the web (thus the unmatching backgrounds) since I can't screenshot on my PC while installing

share|improve this question
It says pretty clearly what the drivers are for in the second screenshot ;D – Oliver Salzburg Jun 18 '13 at 12:37
@OliverSalzburg, Are they talking about some specific kind of drivers? Is there any difference installing these drivers after Windows is installed? – Pacerier Jun 18 '13 at 12:43
@Pacerier - Its for any device that requires a driver to be used before Windows is actually installed. This would be normally be limited to say a RAID controller or SATA controller. It entirely depends on the specific needs of the system in question. – Ramhound Jun 18 '13 at 12:51
@Pacerier: "the device driver needed to access your hard drive". Whichever that may be. You can't install them after you've installed Windows, because you can't install Windows if your hard drive is not accessible. – Oliver Salzburg Jun 18 '13 at 12:55
@OliverSalzburg, no I mean what about normal drivers that can be installed after Windows is installed. What's the difference between loading them before OS installation loading them after OS installation? – Pacerier Jun 18 '13 at 13:08
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Lets say you have a raid controller with disks you want to be accessible during installation. "Load driver" can be used to load the controller driver before installation.

Edit: Some might also say that it's a leftover from Windows 2000 / XP and before :)

share|improve this answer
It's not a "leftover" there are still SATA/SAS controllers today that require this functionality for you to install the latest Windows systems. – Oliver Salzburg Jun 18 '13 at 12:34
@OliverSalzburg - I know, I just hear that line a lot. Sorry for not being clear about that. – Morten Laustsen Jun 18 '13 at 12:43
@MortenLaustsen, is it specifically for raid? Or will any driver be loadable from here? – Pacerier Jun 18 '13 at 12:44
@Pacerier - As far as I know you can load any driver (someone please correct me if I'm wrong), but in most cases it's used for raid specific drivers. – Morten Laustsen Jun 18 '13 at 12:47
@Pacerier: It doesn't have to be a RAID controller. But any SATA/SAS/SCSI/... controller that connects your hard drive to the rest of your system. – Oliver Salzburg Jun 18 '13 at 12:53

At this point in the installation process, you're referring to any driver that would be required to access a storage device (used as the installation target) that isn't currently accessible.

Usually, these would be SATA/SAS/IDE/SCSI controllers. But it could also be some fancy PCIe storage device that Windows Setup simply can't access.

Drivers for non-storage devices are usually completely irrelevant at this point. Although loading certain network adapter drivers could be required in some cases (although I have never seen that personally).

This is the screen you will see if Windows Setup was unable to detect any storage devices:

enter image description here

Loading any other drivers won't make any difference in comparison to installing them later on. In fact, I wouldn't even consider this to be a proper installation of those drivers. This part is probably just taking care of the bare minimum to get the device working right now during the setup and the next boot.

share|improve this answer
Certainly in automated install scenarios the network drivers loaded into the setup environment are not automatically replicated over onto the newly installed system. I imagine this is the same for standard installs and for all non-storage drivers. – Harry Johnston Jun 20 '13 at 22:11

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.