Microsoft's little known legacy drivers

Learn more about Microsoft's obscure legacy drivers that could mitigate the hardware compatabilty problems that can come with a Vista upgrade. This chapter excerpt from Windows Vista Secrets provides potential solutions.

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Microsoft's Obscure Stash of Legacy Drivers

Even if the Vista Upgrade Advisor tells you that you need new drivers, and that they aren't known to be available, you still may have something that will work.

That something is called an XP driver. Yep, a driver that works fine under Windows XP may also work fine under Vista, even though the Upgrade Advisor doesn't say so.

Table 3-1 shows scores of drivers that Microsoft developers refer to as "XP drivers for legacy devices which we believe to function well on Windows Vista." These drivers, however, won't be included with Vista and the Upgrade Advisor may or may not say that they're compatible, in case your system already has one or more of them.

Sources within Microsoft report that, "For various reasons, these drivers will not be 'in the box' for the final version of Vista." If you're having trouble getting Vista to work well with a particular piece of hardware, and you can't find a Vista-specific driver for it, you could try locating and installing an XP driver as a last resort.

To install an XP driver, you'll need to download it from a manufacturer's site or have a copy of the driver on a CD, a USB drive, or some other medium. You can then use Vista's Add Hardware control panel to try to write the new driver to your hard disk.

The list in

Table 3-1 includes drivers for a lot of Ethernet cards and Wi-Fi adapters, for some reason. If your PC can't connect to a wired network or can't see your wireless router after installing Vista, this list of XP drivers that Microsoft developers believe will work under Vista could help you find software to correct the situation.

Our thanks to Wendy Stidmon of Microsoft for assembling the list of XP drivers that work in Vista.

As indicated previously,

Table 3-1 shows XP-generation drivers that Microsoft experts "believe to function well on Windows Vista." The list is sorted by manufacturer name, although some of the descriptions of the components are very generic. The manufacturer name is followed by a hardware ID, a unique key that identifies a specific driver.


Windows Vista Secrets
  Home: Introduction:Upgrading to Vista
  1: Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor
  2: Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor tests the essentials
  3: Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor tests your drivers
  4: Microsoft's little known legacy drivers
ABOUT THE BOOK:   
Go beyond Microsoft's Help guide and discover the true secrets of Windows Vista that are essential to power users. Written by two of the most recognized Windows authorities, this resource provides you with numerous tips, tricks, and undocumented features that aren't available anywhere else. You'll find extensive screenshots, tables, and illustrations that clearly show how to achieve optimal performance, fix desktop problems, and take advantage of the robust features of Windows Vista.Purchase Windows Vista Secrets from Wiley
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   
Brian Livingston is the coauthor of 11 Windows Secrets books. He is also editorial director of the weekly Windows Secrets Newsletter and author of the Executive Tech column for Datamation. Paul Thurrott is the author of more than a dozen books as well as the news editor of Windows IT Pro Media and editor of the SuperSite for Windows. He writes a daily Windows newsletter called WinInfo Daily UPDATE.

This was first published in August 2007
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