Adding drivers to a Win7 Image the stupid-easy way.

So, you’ve got a lot of imaging to do, and part of that is setting up your master. Now, that’s usually all fine and good, unless your doing something silly like creating an image for a machine you don’t physically have yet. Gotta get all those drivers and such setup though, right! Well, now it’s time for a stupid easy to do it!

By default, Windows 7 looks in it’s own inf folder for all drivers. But your drivers aren’t there, are they! So, lets make Windows look somewhere else!

First things first!

Go get your drivers. Yep, all of em.

Most companies these days will give you driver downloads on their website. But some nice companies, like Dell and Lenovo for sure, will provide you with these lovely¬†driver packs for a specific series or model of machine! All the drivers, located in a big old zip file for you, ready to go. They’re great.

So, lets take those drivers, and unzip them. It doesn’t matter what format they came in as (zip, tar, cab, etc), you need them unzipped and just sitting in plain old folders. I tend to use 7zip for this, as it unzips pretty much everything.

Ok, so we’ve got our drivers, they’re unzipped. Lets put them someplace easy to remember, and in the stupid-easy fashion, stupid-easy to find. Make a folder under C:\ called Drivers, and copy those drivers in there.


Regedit Time!

Oh yeah, we’re going into the registry. No, it’s not a scary dungeon like place, but it’s still the registry. Before you make any changes, make sure you’re actually on the correct key, alright? Otherwise, you’ll have an interesting day, let me tell you what.

So, go start>searchbar>regedit and fire that bad boy up. We want to go into the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion. Once there, select the “DevicePath” key and edit it. By default, you have the %SystemRoot%\inf folder listed. We want to leave that there, and just add ours. BE CAREFUL HERE. Don’t delete the existing info, otherwise Windows will curl up into a ball and cry for Balmer, since it needs that info. Leave it there. Don’t touch it. It’s your friend.

So, put in a semicolon ( ; that one!) and then type C:\Drivers . Close regedit.


Sysprep and Image Time!

So, you’re set now with drivers. Finalize how you want your image to be, and run your normal sysprep routine. When you install the image down using your choice of tech (ahem, Fog…) it’ll grab drivers from that folder. I’ve done this with numerous models, and came out with a sparkling clean device manager each time. It’s pretty much the best thing ever.

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