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I'm currently upgrading my computer with new hardware and as part of this I am re-installing Windows 10 from a DVD media that I've created with the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft.

The installer starts up fine, it can detect the NVMe drive, and it can install the operating system as well. However, it cannot detect or use the wireless network adapter that's on the computer.

This probably occurs because the installation media does not contain a specific driver for this device. I can download the driver from the motherboard manufacturer's website, and I can extract it to a USB drive. The archive contains the CAT and INF files so it doesn't require running an installer.

The question is: how can I use this driver during the Windows 10 setup process so that the setup application can use and connect to my wireless access point, access the Internet, and download necessary other drivers, updates and what-not?

Is the process the same as when using a custom AHCI or RAID driver i.e. you just choose "Load custom driver" at the early stage of the setup, and point it to the folder where the INF and CAT files are?

  • The current installation environment doesn’t download updates from within WinPE. That only happens when the installation process is started from within Windows. – Ramhound Feb 27 '20 at 13:21
  • @Ramhound I was under the impression that whatever drivers you load using the "Load custom driver" will be installed alongside the initial setup files that the WinPE copies into the selected target disk or partition. How else would it otherwise be possible to boot the computer after the initial file copy is completed? – Antti Keskinen Feb 29 '20 at 20:57
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Here is a Guide from Microsoft: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/add-and-remove-drivers-to-an-offline-windows-image

In short: You mount the installation media, add the drivers and write it back.

  • Unfortunately, the approach you suggest requires manipulating the original installation image before burning it to a DVD and that is no longer possible since I've disassembled the old computer that I used before. I do have a secondary computer that I can use to fetch the drivers and put them to a USB stick but I no longer have access to the image created by Media Creation Tool. – Antti Keskinen Feb 27 '20 at 11:46
  • You cannot do what you want without adding the driver to the ISO and creating a new installation media. Even if you do add the driver the current WinPE doesn’t download updates until much later in the process. If you need a new ISO to update the ISO so the driver is included that is a very simple process – Ramhound Feb 27 '20 at 13:25
  • @AnttiKeskinen Just create an ISO image from your current USB stick on your secondary computer and proceed how it's described in the guide. – Sven Soost Feb 28 '20 at 12:09
  • @SvenSoost I ended up using the secondary computer's wireless connection with the help of Windows ICS, and connected the Windows 10 setup program to the Internet that way. – Antti Keskinen Feb 29 '20 at 20:52

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