There are times when Windows does not have the right driver to load a new device and to use it for the system as a resource. That will make it even harder for you to troubleshoot the situation and find the correct driver, if you don’t know what the new device is.

If, for example, you buy a new module card for a new function on your computer or you want to replace an existing card module on the system, most of the times you will already have the driver on a CD or other storage media you received from the manufacturer along with the actual expansion card module. But there will also be times when you get a card module that was used before and it doesn’t have any identification thing you could use to locate the correct driver on the web. Some manufacturers also sell such expansion card modules without a storage media with a driver on it, with the recommendation to get it from their website.

Well, you will notice that as soon as you plug the new card module into your computer system, it will be detected in Device Manager, most of the times under a section called Other Devices and with a name that can vary from Unknown Device to Base System Device and many more. What remains the same for all such devices is the yellow question mark before their actual description in Device Manager. Such cases will also occur if you install a new operating system, or you re-install it, for example Windows XP, the OS not having the correct drivers for some of the hardware already present in the system. This is when the yellow question mark I was talking about in the Device Manager will get your attention.

There is a software that most of the times helps you with the identification of such Unknown Devices, like Aida32 or Everest, but this will not always work. You will encounter cases when such software will not help you to identify the unknown hardware under Other Devices in Device Manager. So you will have to search on the web for the Device ID written in the Device Manager and find out what it stands for first, and then search for the hardware driver.

You can find the ID of a Card Module by following below pictures. Note that I don’t have any Unknown Devices present to show the actual case but below example and steps can be used on any Unknown Device you can find under Other Devices:

Device Manager

Left click on properties on the desired hardware after you expanded the options with right click.

Device Manager - Properties

When you found this info, use a part of it for Google searches or whatever else search engine you use and most of the times it will return the correct hardware or something that can lead to the product you have installed.

I also came up with a better detailed example on a small picture showing what each entity in Device Manager means most of the times, but not always. It can help you find the device driver needed if you know the manufacturer or the part number and sometimes even the model. For example, if you buy a laptop with any model, you would look on my schema for what the Unknown Device might be, and then you would go on the website where you can find all the drivers for your computer and get the driver for that specific hardware component. Let’s say you have an X60 from Lenovo, you would go to a search engine and type “lenovo x60 driver download” and you would get as reply their official website with support and drivers in one of the first 3 to 5 entries. After you will follow their link and access it, then you just need to scroll up or down until you find the desired hardware device driver based on my schema.

Device Manager - Question Marks

I also offer my support for any driver you can’t find or hardware component you didn’t manage to find what it stands for, ask me via Questions and Answers form and I will reply to you as soon as possible.

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