3 Best Ways and 2 Softwares To Find Unknown Device Drivers In Windows Easily – Drivers Database Resources Included

by on March 24th, 2009

Hardware and software are different things. To put hardware in use, we need software. And for some softwares we need some other softwares. These ‘some other softwares’ put ‘some softwares’ in perfect harmony with the hardware and everything works fine. Operating system is a software which needs device drivers to make all other hardware work for you. VGA drivers, sound card drivers, printer drivers and more are needed for the system to work fine. Device driver installation has always been a headache for most of the people because they sometimes comes with the system and sometimes not. And they get lost easily (usually, because you don’t use them – You only need them when you re-install Windows again). Once we want to clean install Windows, we have to make sure that we have got all the system drivers to install to be able to run everything smoothly at PC. Here are the best ways to find unknown device drivers in Windows very easily.

Use Unknown Device Identifier

Unknown Device Identifier enables you to identify the ‘yellow question mark’ labeled Unknown Devices in Device Manager. And reports you a detailed summary for the manufacturer name, OEM name, device type, device model and even the exact name of the unknown devices. With the collected information, you might contact your hardware manufacturer for support or search the Internet for the corresponding driver with a simple click. With this utility, you might immediately convert your unidentified unknown devices into identified known devices and find proper driver on the Internet and contact the hardware device manufacturer or vender. Known devices recognized by Microsoft Windows will also be analyzed independent of the operating system.

Download Unknown Device Identifier

Download Unknown Device Identifier (827 KB)

Use Unknown Devices

Unknown Devices helps you find what those unknown devices in Device Manager really are. By checking Device Manager for unknown devices and extracting information from it, this program attempts to figure out what the device is. You might not have to open your case or look up random numbers off of PCI cards to figure out what they are.

However when I run this software on my Windows Vista machine, it doesn’t detect my operating system. I have updated the vendors database file and packed with this software. The software can be downloaded from the following location:

Download Unknown Devices

Download Unknown Devices (462 KB)

Manually Identify Unknown Devices

To manually identify the devices we have to find out the device instance ID which has two parts, one is the vendor ID and the second is Device ID. Once we have got the vendor ID and identified the device ID, we can easily find the drivers for our device.

To find the device instance ID go to Device Manager > Right click at the unknown device > Properties > Details.
From the drop down menu select Device Instance Path (Windows Vista) / Device Instance ID (Windows XP)
It will give you a string value which contains the vendor ID and the Device ID. The string is like this:

Where VEN is the Vendor ID and DEV is the Device ID. Note down both of them.

Once you have the Vendor ID and the device ID, you can go to the following websites and find out the vendor and device name and search for its drivers.

Download Drivers – Driver Resources


You can also download PCI Utilities which displays the Vendors and devices in human readable format instead of the alphanumeric code characters. The PCI Utilities are a collection of programs for inspecting and manipulating configuration of PCI devices, all based on a common portable library libpci which offers access to the PCI configuration space on a variety of operating systems.

Download PCI Utilities

Download PCI Utilities

One Review

  1. Identify unknown devices not recognized by Windows in your system especially after you reinstall your system and cannot figure out what all those yellow question mark labeled devices really are. Help you search for workable drivers on the Internet and contact hardware manufacturer or vender directly. Driver backup is optional after you have all your device drivers installed. USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 Device, IEEE 1394 Device, ISA Plug and Play Device, AGP Bus Device and PCI, PCI-E, eSATA devices can all be identified quickly and easily. Device driver backup is optional. English and French interfaces.