How easy is this: installing additional drivers


One of the things that became very obvious while working with customers last week was that our support for adding drivers via ASI isgoing to be critical.  Here are two common scenarios I saw.



  1. Install the ASI server.

  2. Copy Windows XP to the server.

  3. Boot your test client using the CD.

  4. Install XP as your test OS.

  5. When the system reboots there is no network connectivity because a required driver is not included with Windows XP.

A slight variation was common...



  1. Install the client manually.

  2. Run a DTM job which installs XP and the test OS.

  3. After XP is installed, a device is not working because a driver is not present.

I knew the ability to install drivers via ASI was going to be critical to our customers because they are all testing pre-released drivers.  Also, they're often testing prototype hardware.  What I didn't anticipate is that it would be critical just to get their systems into a working state.  So, how easy is this problem to solve?  It's very easy. 


I have a system in which I've installed a new NIC recently because support for that NIC has been removed from Longhorn.  When I install XP on this system via ASI, it has no network connectivity because XP has no driver for the NIC.  Here is what I did to solve that.



  1. Downloaded the driver.

  2. Extracted the files and copied them to c:\asi\asiserver\drivers.

  3. Added this to the asi command in my DTM job "-adddriver \\asiserver\drivers"

Now when I install XP, ASI looks in the drivers directory and installs the drivers just as though they were on the XP CD.  Brilliant!


By the way, this isn't just a problem for old drivers.  As I mentioned earlier, support for my old NIC has been pulled from Longhorn.  If I had wanted to continue using that card I could have put the driver for it in the drivers share and ASI would install that driver automatically.  Finally, if I end up with other devices that need additional drivers in my lab in the future, all I have to do to make ASI install those drivers is put them in the drivers share.  Brilliant!

Comments (4)
  1. typhoon121 says:

    this is cool. and good to know.

    I have a question though. does your QHML program include checking how drivers update from an older QHML version. I like staying up to date with drivers but for example my ATI Radeon 9800 Pro which uses the ATI catalyst driver is a pain to update. You have to use a supplied uninstaller which makes you take off all programs by ati including my tv program for my ATI TV Wonder pro with remote. Why must I uninstall all of this. As an end user this just pisses me off. My friend an Nvidia fanboy does not have to as the update thing should update all files but often he just ends up reinstalling windows because of file version issues.

    Microsoft update killed my wireless controller for my tv card because my ATI remote reciever 2.6 (this is the name it registers in device manager) MS update wanted me to install X10 Wireless Technology Inc. – Other Hardware – ATI Remote Wonder I did and it killed my reciver. I was able to roll back the driver in device manager but I do not know where else to report this error because I was on the MS Update beta but the betaplace site for this test is closed as are the newsgroups. This is just a case of wrong displayed driver.

    I hope to hear from you in some manner of a responce, I am soory for the rant but if this hsppened to an non techie user like my grandfather or someone they would curse windows even thought it is not windows fault. I hope the driver model is totally rewritten for longhorn. i will check this blog often.

    even if this feedback ends up in the bitbucket at least I found somewhere which may listen.

  2. craigrow says:

    Typhoon,

    I’m sorry, I don’t know what QHML is. Would you please explain?

  3. Typhoon121 says:

    mean to type WHQL Certified (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) My bad I was just tired yesterday. Just a simple typo. More of my point was how there is no real windows "Standard" for installing drivers. Each company can use thier own installer some make you uninstall your old version which in my oppionion is a pain in the butt. I interned at a computer repair shop and so many people had bad driver installs like right before I left a recent battlefield update told ATI people to update thier drivers to fix issues with texture corruption and a guy brings his computer and bitches that his computer crashes after he updated the driver. Turns out he just installed the new driver over the old driver (which is how it should be) so I had to unstall then grab driver cleaner pro then I sent in a suggestion comment on ATI support site to just be able to update without unsinstalling everything as it takes longer adds extra reboots and is just a pain. They said they might look into it that means bit bucket. Also what gets me is the amount of registry junk leftover when you update drivers grab crap cleaner and driver cleaner then uninstall your old driver reboot then run these utilitys and you will find lots of reg keys. Drivers need a unified installer click and install if older version exists overwrite with a version compare or just overwrite everything or auto uninstall old version then install new version.

    Also my other issue as noted above was that Mictosoft Update shows the incorrect hardware driver update for my ATI TV Wonder’s remote reciver is where can report the discrepency.

    Again sorry about the typo (Bangs head on desk) and look forward to your responce.

  4. craigrow says:

    WHQL; that makes more sense. The problem you’re describing is recognized and is being addressed by Driver Install Frameworks. Check this out…http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/driver/install/default.mspx

    In one of my earlier posts I described how to get into their beta…

    http://blogs.msdn.com/craigrow/archive/2005/08/02/446868.aspx

    If you’re interested in influencing this area of Windows that beta is probably your best avenue.

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