Microsoft Driver Catalog

I was installing Windows 7 RTM Pro on a 3 year old desktop machine last night. Everything ran smoothly except that Windows did not detect the wireless network adapter. I had no clue what the adapter model was either, so I went to Device Manager, right-clicked the Unknown Device, then clicked on Properties/Details/Property/Hardware Ids and this showed the value PCI\VEN_1814&DEV_0301&SUBSYS_E9341458.

This is a unique identifier that you can use to locate the exact model of any device in your PC. The simplest way to do this is usually to just try your luck with Google, most of the time you'll get the exact model name of the device, or something close.

In this case though, I found out my adapter was a Ralink variant, but I got no hits on the SUBSYS identifier. I tried downloading some of the drivers from the Ralink website but none of them worked.

I then stumbled upon the Microsoft Update Catalog. Thought I'd try my luck and search for VEN_1814&DEV_0301&SUBSYS_E9341458, and it actually worked! Search results revealed the card to be a Gigabyte GN-WP01GS PCI. The search also returned all drivers for all versions of Windows. I just downloaded one of the latest for Windows 7, installed it, and was done.

This catalog seems pretty comprehensive and could be very useful even if searching for say Linux drivers. Being able to identify the model of an unknown device is the first and most important step.

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