Many times when we do a fresh install of Windows operating system on a new computer, there are devices which are not installed automatically. These devices need device drivers to work properly. Until these devices are correctly identified and drives are installed, these devices show up as unknown devices in Device Manager in Windows and display a yellow exclamation mark.
We recommend that before you re-install Windows on your computer, take a backup of the device drivers if its possible. You can use Free Driver Backup Tool or Double Driver Tool for taking a drivers backup. It will save you from a lot of effort which goes into locating and installing correct device drivers. If by any chance you are not able to take a driver backup, you need to identify the unknown devices and install drivers for them later.
In this post I will share a simple method to identify the unknown devices so that you can locate the correct drivers for those devices online.
We have already reviewed many tools which can identify the unknown devices. These tools include Unknown Device Identifier and Unknown Devices Tool. There are free tools which will directly suggest drivers for these devices, these tools include – 3D Chip & Driver Easy, but in many cases these tools don’t work because they don’t cover all devices. To identify such unknown devices, follow these simple steps :
1. Press “Windows Ker + R” or Start > Run to launch Run Prompt. At the Run Prompt, type “devmgmt.msc” and press enter to launch Device Manager.
2. On Device Manager Screen, Locate the unknown device with yellow Exclamation mark, right click on it and click Properties.
3. On Device Properties Window, click on Details tab and select Hardware Ids from the drop down menu option.
4. On the Hardware Ids screen, note down the VEN and DEV ids of this unknown device. VEN is the vendor id and DEV is the device id. Combination of these two can identify a device very accurately. For example in the snapshot below, the vendor id is 1180 and device id is 0843. There is more information like sub-system id and revision etc, but usually, VEN and DEV ids are sufficient to identify a computer component.
5. Open the website – www.pcidatabase.com, this website contains an exhaustive database of PCI device manufacturers and devices. At this website, enter the VEN code and search the vendor name as seen below:
6. The search results will show you the vendor name. Now click the vendor name link to see the devices by the vendor and locate your device there. For example, in my case, the vendor id 1180 corresponds to Ricoh.
7. When I click Ricoh on the above page, it takes me to the devices page for this vendor. My device id is 0843, which can be located on this page. Now I know that the device is a Ricoh SD/MMC Host Controller. Once I know which device is it, I can got to the manufacturer’s website and download the required device drivers and install them manually.
This type of device search is very useful when the plug and play drivers are not present and you are not sure which device is there on the unknown list. Many a times, driver scanning softwares also miss some of the devices. Hope you find this tutorial easy to follow. Leave your comments and suggestions.