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\->Tips and Tricks->Device Driver Installation->Plug and Play Drivers

PNP Driver - Install (First Time)

This section deals with first time installs of the driver where there is no existing driver on the computer. Generally you install the drivers and then add the hardware and that is what I have tested. The Microsoft page at "MSDN KB #314479" contains more details.

I have discovered that Windows (tested WIN2000+) searches directories listed in the registry at "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DevicePath". The default value of this appears to be "%SystemRoot%\inf", you can use the ";" (semi-colon) character to delimit any directories you add. See the "Registry Appending" section for an example of how this can be done. There is also a program called "SetDevicePath.exe" by Pyron which can add to the device path.

There is a program called "SetupCopyOEMInf.exe" which I think simply eliminates the need to add the driver source directory to the registry entry mentioned above (apparently the registry entry has a limit of 4096 characters). I think it simply tells windows where to find the drivers.

The "DEVCON.EXE" may also be useful. If its a printer driver perhaps the "Printer Driver Installation" section is also relevant.

PNP Driver - Update Already Installed Driver

I have successfully used the "DEVCON.EXE install" command to update PNP drivers of an already installed device. The command line is a bit cryptic. The command is run from the directory containing the new drivers and you need to look at the inf for the "device id", in my case it looked like "USB\...".

PNP Driver - Rescan Hardware

Untested Possibilities for getting devices to pick up new drivers (without rebooting):

I think the above is for the first time install and not an update, I have found updates appear to be applied automatically after a reboot.


Microsoft awarded me an MVP (Most Valuable Professional award) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 for the Windows SDK (Windows Installer) area.Please email me any feedback, additional information or corrections.
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Microsoft awarded me an MVP (Most Valuable Professional award) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 for the Windows SDK (Windows Installer) area.