Advanced Driver Installation in Windows

Drivers normally comes with an installer application. Pointless to say, if the driver can be successful installed using the installer, then use it. This page adresses cases were running the installer doesn't work or the driver has no installer, i.e. for in house developed or specialized drivers.

Pre-requisite

The following instructions assumes that the driver comes with an *.inf file. Tests were done by installing an graphics driver for Windows XP under Windows 7, a usage that the *.msi installer didn't allowed.

dpinst.exe

The dpinst.exe is an easy solution for installing drivers from the command line. Installation can both be interactive (GUI) or silent. The dpinst.exe utility is found in the DIFx directory after installing the tools from Windows Driver Kit.

Defaults can be set by placing an dpinst.xml in the same directory as dpinst.exe. See DPInst XML Elements for more information.

Interactive installation of graphics driver using dpinst.exe

pnputil.exe

Running pnputil.exe prior to dpinst.exe might be required if dpinst.exe reports that the device was not found. Somehow, pnputil.exe appears to "wake up" the device and make it visible. That sounds like a bug to me.

Sample install.bat

Heres an sample batch script for installing an graphics adapter driver:

  @echo off
  pnputil.exe -i -a CX151724.inf
  dpinst.exe /q /f /c /sw

See output log from running dpinst.exe

mindinst.exe

Not all drivers can be installed using the above process, most notably network drivers. If you need to install an network driver (service, protocol or client), then the mindinst.exe installer might prove useful.