Is it possible to transplant drivers of an already-connected device to another machine?

A webcam that's plugged into one Windows 7 machine is being detected and properly displayed in Device Manager (showing a proper display name and PID/VID), however, the drivers for it won't "take" no matter what. But when I connected the webcam to another Windows 7 machine, Windows installs it just fine with default Microsoft drivers.

Both machines are equally similar in machine stats, Windows version, and both fully up-to-date. I've tried all manner of plugging the webcam into different USB ports, uninstalling any potentially conflicting devices, etc., all to no avail. Even manually forcing the webcam's drivers upon the device doesn't work.

So is it possible to transplant the default Microsoft driver on the working machine to the machine where the device isn't installing?

  • not without some risk.... – mdpc Jul 9 '13 at 3:09
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    It's usually a major exercise in futility. If the installer isn't getting things set up properly, it's not likely attempting to manually force things is going to work. The underlying problem that's causing things to not function is still there and rarely is the person attempting to do this knowledgeable enough to have success. And if they are, there are still pitfalls. You're better off finding the installer logs and determining where Windows and the device are having the knife fight. – Fiasco Labs Jul 9 '13 at 3:21
  • @FiascoLabs Thanks. But this isn't involving installer logs -- this has all been manual driver installation thus far. I'd rather not use superfluous installation programs, and have verified that my computer and many other users can use this same camera/setup with default drivers. However, I did go ahead and try the installer, and even it doesn't get the camera installed. It's surely something on Windows' end. Is there some type of Windows' service/function for interfacing USB/imaging devices (like a webcam) that might be disabled or not working? – Coldblackice Jul 9 '13 at 4:27

Try to go Control Panel > Devices Admin > Take the webcam and unistall it. Then, plug off and plug on.

This can make Windows 7 redownload and reinstall the failed drivers.

  • Tried it many times. Never worked :/ Thanks though. – Coldblackice Jul 9 '13 at 7:24

The short and simple answer:

A missing usb.inf file from C:\Windows\Inf. To fix this, find a copy of this file (either backed up or from another computer) and place it into the above folder. Re-plug in the device, and voila -- Windows (should) finds it and installs it just fine.

For reference, and pertaining to my question above, you can see what's going on "behind the scenes" through a wondrous file called setupapi.dev.log (and/or setupapi.app.log). It shows the details and steps of the process that the system runs through to try and recognize the device and pair it with an appropriate driver. As such (in this case), I could see that it wasn't finding a proper INF file.

This solution stems entirely from someone else's experience, kindly written about here:


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