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I paid some PC expert to build a new PC for me two years ago. I had the software CDs for of this PC’s LAN, audio drive, motherboard, Monitors, but now the CDs are lost. I kept all the software CDs in the same box but they are lost now.

I am totally lost.

Does this mean that I have to pay someone to build a new PC because I have lost all of the required software CDs?

Or are there any all-in-one driver software that can help me out for this?

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  • I am sorry for asking the dumb question. My PC knowledge is bad. – kitty Nov 24 '15 at 14:11
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Nope. Typically I immediately throw driver cds out.

  1. For most motherboards and OEM software I look up what I have and download the latest drivers from the website for that motherboard or laptop

  2. For stuff like video cards on a desktop using bleeding edge drivers is the best idea.

  3. Windows typically would pull in known good/older drivers that are good enough for most uses.

So no, especially if you have older drivers and know you have, you probably never need the driver cds.

You certainly will not need to buy a new system, even when you reformat and/or rebuild the system. Reinstalling drivers for anything but the most unusual hardware is a trivial task. Between the websites for the OEM/Vendors, intelligent googling and windows updates driver installs, you should be good.

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    Windows can't pull the correct drivers until you have a working network card--and that requires it's own driver. – Loren Pechtel Nov 24 '15 at 5:25
  • Hence downloading from the OEM first, and mentioning windows updates last, and I've typically not needed additional drivers for basic wired networking. – Journeyman Geek Nov 24 '15 at 5:29
  • It's been a long time since the network has worked for me after installing Windows. It only comes up with Windows + motherboard driver disk. – Loren Pechtel Nov 24 '15 at 5:31
1

You will need to do the following:

  1. open your PC case and look at the name (manufacturer and model number) for the individual components in your PC. I.e. Motherboard, Graphics card etc.

  2. Go to the website for the manufacturer (or search for them using your search engine of choice) and find their "support" section. Then enter in your model number from step 1 and get the appropriate drivers for your system.

  3. repeat untill you have drivers for all your components.

  4. (optional) burn all these drivers to a CD-ROM for safe keeping.

Note: I would actually recommend you download drivers off of the internet instead of using a 2-year-old driver disc, as the drivers may have been updated in the mean time. Grabbing them from the manufacturer website means you'll get up-to-date drivers for your components.

Related: How can I find out what motherboard is in my computer?

  • Once you have the motherboard drivers in place Windows can generally find the rest of them. All you really need on hand are the motherboard drivers. Having anything oddball around also can help. (I've got a printer installed in network mode--the manufacturer no longer offers drivers, you get them from Windows. When Windows downloads them it won't support network mode. I had to pry the offending driver out of Microsoft's website in order to do a manual install in network mode.) – Loren Pechtel Nov 24 '15 at 5:28
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  1. For your peace of mind, make a backup image of your hard drive, or at least of the operating system files. Since you don't mention the OS, I cannot give any help in doing that. Of course, that implies your PC is working now.

  2. Test booting from a USB device with a Linux distro, such as Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Odds are pretty good that during bootup, all or at least the most significant hardware will be recognized and the appropriate drivers employed. If you can boot from the device without any issue, that means you could install it and that it would find and install the drivers needed for your system. Modern PC's and operating systems can virtually "lift themselves up by their bootstraps".

  3. Keep drivers up-to-date using the OS's update settings.

1

You should not be worried. Modern operating systems are fairly good at obtaining appropriate drivers automatically. If you need to do it manually, drivers can almost always be found through the manufacturer's support website. If you don't know who the manufacturer is, look up the device's VID. In both cases, you'll get drivers that are probably newer than the ones from the disc.

Should you be unable to get the right drivers, then depending on the device, the OS may be able to use generic drivers to get (some) functionality nonetheless. Sometimes, you can even get by using drivers for a different operating system version, or even a different device, provided they are sufficiently alike.

Unfortunately, sometimes official channels are not available, for example when the manufacturer went out of business or was acquired by another company that stopped providing drivers for legacy hardware. It's usually still possible (and fairly easy) to find the drivers, it just requires a little more care as you may well encounter malware. With very old and exotic hardware, I've occassionally had to abandon the search. These situations are exceptional. Personally, I wouldn't bother, especially not with a machine that's only two years old, but if it helps you sleep at night, you could manually collect drivers now and archive them for later use.

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I great tool for this is Driver Booster.

It will automatically discover your outdated drivers and allow you to update them.

The free version only limits your download speed, which is not such a pain to deal with.

I use it all the time on new installations and outdated installations of Windows.

EDIT:

Alternately, another great tool (which is also NOT malware -- thanks for the downvotes, guys) is Belarc Advisor, which will give you a detailed breakdown of your PC's individual installed components (including hardware). From the info provided in the HTML report it generates, you should be able to manually search for the individual drivers needed in order to support those components.

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    I really hope nobody will use this malware written by IOBIT. Its not required. Do yourself a favor download drivers by hand it takes minutes. – Ramhound Nov 24 '15 at 13:13
  • Driver Booster is not Malware. I have used it for a long time, and it works perfectly. Use any type of malware scanner, and see if it's detected. DriverBooster is even one of the applications included in Patch My PC, which is also a great tool and has been proven not to install malware. See their review on Lifehacker. Do your research before making negative comments. The user is stating that they have a custom-built PC, for which drivers may be harder to find if they don't know exactly which components they have installed. – rubynorails Nov 24 '15 at 17:10
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    That being said, there are numerous other programs that claim to do the same thing and actually are malware. Driver Booster actually does what it says, and is not malicious in the least. Please back up your claims of this program being malware. – rubynorails Nov 24 '15 at 17:14
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    My personal experience tells me it's no better then malware. Lifehacker authors often gets paid to promote software write the article that are posted. Patch My PC is even worst the malware, it is useless, and sold by basically criminals. My experience is vast and shovel and snake oil software does not impress me – Ramhound Nov 24 '15 at 17:26
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    My personal experience tells me otherwise. I've used both programs extensively, and they are both extremely helpful. I know how to detect malware, and I am aware of Lifehacker's increasing affiliation with marketing and advertising, but they always post an update for programs with bad reviews or reports of malware. I need evidence that contradicts my statement, not your personal opinion. – rubynorails Nov 24 '15 at 17:36

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