Device Drivers 101 : & PnP !          See my Diagnostic logic  list?

PnP, Plug and Play works like magic, like a kitchen toaster, but unlike a toaster, when a PC fails, PnP can be very complex.
                   Top sources show 27,000,000 drivers exist total.  (daunting no?, sure, and is why PnP (Plug&Play) exists in the first place !)
                       If your PC is new and modern and runs W10 , PnP just works perfect all the time, but I bet your PC is old and PnP fails, and this page is all about that. Just that.
                       Warning all drivers are machine code, (processor instructions executable ) and are all subject to Infections. (scan them all well before loading them!) "I use"
Windows drivers plug in to the windows HAL section seen here, and must match the bottom layer, called hardware or the physical layer (a.k.a. micro-chips)
Read the book "Drivers for dummies".

A driver is software, it's is the lowest level of software , that makes any hardware feature work. 

Top reasons for lost drivers ?(are many, but using the wrong install disk tops the list, as is loading wrong new OS on an old PC, and the reverse, I call this slamming the PC.)
Why not back the drivers first, when working correctly, using simple tools when they all work now.
Other ways to lose a driver  sure,  the silly windows update engine,  thinks it's  a wrong driver, and MS thinks (wrongly) their driver works better than yours, damn ! ( I turn this junk off)
PnP logic simple below:  (First learn that some driver do not exist anywhere on earth, they were NEVER WRITTEN (means coded by driver programmers))
The number 1 reasons for PnP to fail is, XP and VISTA  HP/MS do not support these (XP is 17 years old now) Operating system, so drivers are very hard find.
The PnP Engines logic:
  • If the OS sees the driver missing it looks in the local windows driver cache first (PnP first actions are here)   ( try to know a 2001 XP local cache will not have 2008 and newer drivers. SP3 added some new drivers ,yes)
  • If the above fails, then next is internet PnP lookup mode, so you must be connected to the internet now, if not? then PnP remote will FAIL. You are doomed until the internet connections are restored.
  • The PnP engine then looks in the Remote driver cache catalogs at  but Microsoft killed dead all XP driver updates 4 years ago and now  Vista , a year ago, so VISTA FAILS now here.
  • MS does not publish their online driver cache policies!, but my guess (have some proof and asked them) that they stage it down as MS needs server space and then they kill XP space, then VISTA SPACE. 
  • If the above, fails we are not lost, we can get the driver by hand, in many cases and this page I wrote is all about, learning what is there, and know how  to find and match up,  the correct driver software.
Do not get confused about, OS updates and service packs with DRIVERs even though stored on the same servers !  XP and Vista still have the last service packs and patches but are frozen in time, but not the drivers.
The other top failure here is expecting new USB devices (or PCI) to work on any XP or VISTA machine (PC), sorry they ended support in almost all case (exceptions exist for sure on very old product say 15 years old and still sold)

See why drivers die, go dead or passed in to oblivion.( really Evolution happens, lots !)

Factoid #1: XP Service pack 3 must be loaded, it has  huge addition of newer drivers inside that XP finds automatically SP3 can cure some SATA F6 blunders.  (VISTA SP2 at least  and is 348MB size)
If you HP PC had its HP disks, set, (some are 3 disks) then it will install no problems at all (a good HDD). but not if using generic MS disks, no it won't go easy, with XP !!!
See why XP  fails to install for a missing SATA hard disk driver, can't find any HDD (or SSD) and then says Hit F6 to get the missing driver.
See my XP tests for PnP here.

There is one great place to get a lost driver in what is called DRIVER Pack's.   (the missing SATA driver is cured with  this. mass-storage XP Monster) 

Rules for drivers to observe:   (MS = Microsoft) W8 to W10.
lets talk  HP drivers need to be kept HP only driverS, do not use other  drivers from other sources, if you can?
HP designed and manufactured your PC, Not Microsoft, in fact HP gave the drives to MS not the other way around !!! ( be clear on this fact)
If HP drops support as the love to do at the last PC series sold and 10 year clock of death times out bam, the HP support page ends. (with a thud)
If you bought the HP 3 disk media kit when the PC was new or you  made them with the HP  backup recovery disks, day one , you would not need this page for help, you'd be already cured.

The second best driver is from MS,  with the PC booted and internet connected, use control panel to force MS to update your driver (now dead on XP/VISTA)
The MS support is 2nd tier, on older PC's.  (or first if HP never published a driver, as is the case on some newer W10 PC's)
If all that fails,  then you have more choices below:

All drivers , as a simple rule , must match your OS,  both 32 bit or 64bit,  today 2018 that is just 4 versions of Windows,  W7 and W10. (W8 is dead)
If you use MS install media, (when I say media from now on, it means,  CD or CVD, OR Blu-ray disk or USB memory stick (thumb drive) { you made}
Learn first that HP makes a series of one PC, know that one simple model series, like a DV7-1000 can have 3 video chips used, GPU, and 2 sound chips and 5 Lan/ or Wlan chips used, then.

No not at once they are called OPTIONS  , or DAY one options when bought new.  The other numbers on the "service tag" nobody reads shows what it came with new.
The suffex 1250us is important as is "us" usa version....  line 1,3 and 5  are key lines, the #ABA coded P/N tell the technician what option came with the PC new, both MOBO versions and add-in's.

We now are at the point of  HP fails you , and MS fails you; so what now?, well lets do that step by itty bitty step.  Most folks give up here, but is not necessary.

The cures
depend one just 1 factor, what chip is dead, that that is correct driver match 3 things, a CHIP , the OS and even the PC it runs on.
The Driver may work and need other things in the PC to work right , like screen camera's do. (and more) {if USB2 is dead so be the Camera, so it takes 2 drivers to fix this}
But lets say here HP is no help... as is the case on all old PCs.  A decade or older.
The clues that a chip is dead (a feature) is that it is dead, and the device manager, shows , you it is dead, red /yellow marks or "Unknow" marked and  flagged as such. Bingo on dead driver /chip.

MS plug
  and play (PnP) fails too, and you so smartly used the Ethernet port and cable (CAT5/6 ) to the router and MS PnP is DOA now, no help,  as in DEAD (like XP is now)
Learn that even mighty W10 fails easy for driver, older that 10 years old, and worse for 64bit W10)  (that is because there are NO W10 drivers made for you OLD CHIP ,ever)
The choices are simple , I will give examples that everyone complains the most about. (my ear to the rail as they said in the wild west)

Learn that I love to used my beloved Scanner 3 first.
The other way to ID chips (identify) is to use device manager, again, we
  VEN + DEV codes, first.   then use this page to find and decode the maker and chip names. (my page for all PCI codes is here.)

  1. The Sound chip is dead, so I scan it and find what chip is there, That is what I do  or  open the case and read the makers name on the chip top and p/n there. (yes, looking works)
  2. I find that its this old relic Realtek chip I then go to Realtek. and get the driver to match this EXACT chip and all is well.  (what chip you have there I'M CLUELESS) lots of chips there are.
  3. Next is the Video driver is missing (MS windows runs VGA.sys a limphome driver and weak) So repeating the same magic above we find its a Nvida chip or AMD/ATI.  we go there get the matching driver now.
  4. If the Ethernet  chip is dead, we first discover what chip it is, be it Intel or Realtek and get the driver using a working PC, yours is not, so we get it on the other PC and downlload that driver and move it to  this dead PC.
  5. Last (in my list only) is the Wifi chip since #4 works now we can the find the driver that matches your wifi chip (WLAN) and find the maker and get the driver from them (Broadcom maker loves to delete drivers, sadly)
That is simple , clearly identifie the chip and maker and get the driver from them ,but watch out some makers ended support for things older than 10 or 15 years old (Broadcom is one)

Driver Pack  and my monster XP CD installer.

The last resort is here, no scalpers , not websites selling download BS for $30 that fails,  most of those bad sites are just honey pots of lies,  the sell wrong, or bad or infectect driver to the desperate (only)

I use these packs, to find my drivers. (not Video for that use Nvidai or ATI as the case may be, I always go directly too the Video chip makers web sites is best.)
This is  safe site for drivers:
One example say the SATA chip is dead, making HDD dead,  so I down load the    (mass storage is SATA) pack and fixes this problem.

Finding Sound (audio chip) drivers proves to be the most hard,  (so many exist and the driver needs other OS features and apps to work right in some cases)
All I can say here is get it from HP if not there, find the chip makers name and ask the maker for help, there is no other safer way to do that.!
Do not get virus  infected loading driver,  always scan all downloads using this scanner here. called,
If you did find a pack of drivers, a huge Inf/cat/sys pack as they are called,  what can you do.? see then next section for that answer.
 Begging can work?
Best of all ask for help at HP's great forum,. and win!
OS = Operating system.
PnP is the game of matching, OS to Chips.  (It's non trivial) (know too that each chip has a PCI , scan-able  ID inside,  to support this magic) See the chip sniffer /scanner?

Drivers force loaded and  Elaborated more...  Intalling the wrong driver  and praying it works. Is this topic. This is for the worst hard nut cases (wits ends as we say) I try  to avoid this at all costs.
Lets dig deeper and elaborate all steps needed to find a driver of any kind. (if possible, do learn that some do not exist at all. like a 1999 video card in a 2018 new W10 computer)
Or one example the  Intel® Extreme Graphics Driver for 845G  ,  ended support at XP, so no Vista support and newer.(from Intel)
But one guy installed the driver in ADMIN mode, and picked, Compatibility, mode,  XP +SP3 and it worked. Aero Glass feature will be dead, though.(so run windows blinds)
Or he loaded the XP inf called. ialmnt5.inf
Using any  XP drivers in Vista/w7/8/10 is  a coin toss,  but the above runs a setup.exe and fails, so only force loaded the INF might work, and sometimes does.
This is tedious:  Using wrong drivers. Here is a list of tries. XP to say VISTA or W7 up.
Let say windows 7 or 10  you find a XP driver only.
  •  You find the HP driver, for XP, SP12345.exe (a made up name but is formated just  like this) 
  •  We right click it and run that  in XP-SP3 compatibility mode  it can work or fail. toss a coin.  (after all it is the  wrong driver in fact)
  • So it fails... what then? well....
  • So you extract it, all using say 7zip the  free app,   and find a setup.exe inside. (extracted to a folder say called c;/test/)
  • You run that  setup.exe and it tells you wrong OS again, (seems a trend no?)  
  • Again you  you run it in XP-SP3 compatibility mode and it can load and run or fail.
  • Undaunted, by above, you find the Inf files there unzipped,, and you read the inf using notepad, and can see it supports your whatever chip.
  • The  Inf files show,  those magical, VEN =nnnn  and DEV-nnnn  , where nnnn are you makers code and device codes. The inf that matches those may work ok.
  • You see a match, to above, VEN/DEV and you load the inf. by....
  • You right click the Inf file and pick Install.  (dang it works you won the coin toss this time)

You are here because PnP failed  (called Plug and Play (or pray?)
Be aware that XP online drivers are now offline (like w2k is) at MS and now at HP (mostly and every day forward; more true)  and now learn that Vista joins the ranks of the dead Spring 2017 !
To get a feel of the sizes of  that huge driver base, fool around inside below:

Video drivers wrong can fail easy.
XP video drivers can be  100% useless  inVista and newer OS. due to WDDM rules.. See the very tricky rules here on why .  But XDDM from XP will not load to W8/10.
For sure the drive loader and the OS install or update may get into a hissy fit. here.
Know too that HP wraps driver loaders(above) around files with  SP12345.exe HP loader and this  HP loader has it's own rules.,but to cheat one can extract all files in that EXE with 7zip and then work those files , using compat mode.
One good fact is most Vista drivers work in W7/8/10. (but if using HP loader it may need extracting first,then forced to load)

Smarter actions only your part. (less work?)
  • Retire the PC to the scrap yard. (Gee XP rand for  17 years, what more do you expect?)
  • If chip or card is now dead, no drivers found , buy a new card (PCIe), or replace the dead function with a new USB device, (USB LAN, USB wifi, USB Sound) for a fact you can.!
  • Don't upgrade the OS, just  run the PC till it dies? Then trash it. Even send it to N.Korea !
  • Don't up grade the OS until HP tells you to? (MS did not make your PC so never listen to MS !
  • The worst is only on laptops and only the video GPU chip is now dead. (or  stuck in VGA.SYS H3LL (MS) ,  but why not go to Nvidia or AMD/ATI and get the correct drive for you PC now.  They both do old PC's well.
VGA.Sys is the HP limphome driver,  where the screen is locked up in 800x600 resolution or worse.  (beats a black screen as linux used to do , for sure!)

XP horrors are endless now.
To use XP today ,it is best to make a huge DVD (or USB STICK memory installer ) that is slipped streamed by you using what I call making a monster XP install disk
The Monster is built like this. (chock-a-block  full of drivers) (we do that because we have no F6 floppy  drive !)
A monster huge install disk can be made, with vast drivers at hand during the install process.
Just the WLAN pack has over 800 Inf files, and 800+ sys files and 1000 .cat files,  just for wireless only.  (an amazing find...)
I use only a pack I build full of SATA drivers, (vast) Just that, so the HDD works and the install completes, then later get drives I need 1 by 1, that fail.
I use this site every time a chip maker stops support on their products:  The Great   ( !
Most times when I find a BROADCOM  chip died for the lack of a driver, I look in the driver pack to find it.  (they Broadcom, deleted them at their home download pages)  < PnP fails 1st sure.

The packs are by function (lan, wlan, video, mass-storage) and inside by vendor name first name letter or letters.  All packs pass the virustotal test.
Example1  Wlan pack.  (DP)
There is a sound chip pack seen here, search for sound.
Sound chips can be hard to cure,  dead or messed up see the posts here for such examples.

It DP only has torrent downloads (makes the servers free, dig?)

I use Firefox then add  the Add-on's,  called  torrent tornado.(here)---------- Bit Torrents are not illegal (only infringement is) Even Facebook uses it and vast other top companies.             and this.

Then download this pack using the above Tornado feature.  and get a  7zip file (yes always have 7zip loaded  on all PCs)
Click the Green download button above site. See your Tornado launch.  In Tornado window PoPs  and  click start. (the rest is obvious) 
No matter if you need 1 driver or want to make Monster XP DVD install disk this works.
We can make huge monster XP install disks using 1 pack all packs. Burned to DVD?  We use    (Nlite) (vast sites exist on how to use free Nlite) like here1 .    or here 2 .   or here 3.
Nlite lets you Re-Master , called slip-streaming a new MS install disk.  (the only rule is you must own a legal version of  your OS,  XP in this case.)
You can in fact add drivers to the limits of DVD volume sizes. At least to 4.7GB

I made a Nlite disk with all LAN/WLAN and mass-storage (SATA) so XP runs on most PC made. from year 2001 to even now possible.
or ?
Lets say you want  just one Ethernet port  LAN working, but is now dead, TO GET INTERNET WORKING FIRST ! (On this dead internet PC)
Find any PC with internet working to get the pack.
The down load the driverpack for LAN, seen above. to say a USB Thumb drive ,stick.
Virus total  on it  ) ( do not skip this)'

Next extract (free 7zip) this file to a folder. to  C:/mydrivers/   {or invent your own name}
Then find your matching driver there.  This can be hard if you don't know what the VEN and DEV code is, so run the sniffer first.
Read the insides of *.inf files, to see what chip/cards it supports, using VEN ? and DEV?
If you find the match, right click  the correct inf  file and pick install.
Load that driver and this  story ends, as internet is now working via Ethernet and its cable to the router.
You can then repeat all this Inf stuff, for all things dead 1 by 1 , once the LAN works, and not have to leave this PC to fetch files.


end packs. end monster install disks...

What is a driver?
The  OS does not talk to chips directly ever, what it does, is it talk only to the chip makers driver package, (an OSI model)
It uses the HAL in the OS kernel to talk to chips.
This structure makes it much more easy for the OS to control all devices inside the PC. (and not crash) including things you have added yourself, in PCI slots or USB ports.
The software can get complex here, as seen on any Nvidia, GFX Gforce GPU Video card. (yes near endless layers of bloat here)
When things fail, the users  sees  up to 3 things, happen that are wrong .(symptoms)
  1. The device is dead (sound, video, wifi, Ethernet, USB devices dead and more)?
  2. or the device works about 1/2 why only?
  3. The Device manager (DM) shows you, that the Device is failing?, ( the device is missing there, or is painted RED or Yellow (means failing)
The first rule of Device drivers, is that the Driver must match your chips and PC, and must match your OS. (operating system.)
We do that by going to and getting it from them. (some PC have 3 OS optioned new, when sold new, and some have 6 different LAN,/WLAN chips used, in the long production runs, of 1 model or 3 VGA cards/chips)
The HP drivers are all SP12345.exe files.(a false generic file name ) 
If you run the wrong SPnnnnnn.EXE, the loader exe above tells you that in clear factual English.. (can be due to wrong OS or wrong chip in your PC)
If the HP support site , has no drivers offered now, either the PC is over 10 years old (last one sold, not first) but the HP FTP site may still have it. (see below FTP URL back door link)
Next is MS , PnP update demanded by you in the device manager.
This is the manual way next. (long hard and very effective way)
If you still can not find it, I then run my PCI sniffer Program App. to find what the chips makers name is and the DEVICE code. As seen here.
With that makers name and device code, we go to the chip  makers site and get the driver from them , matching your OS. One makers MFG code is 8086 (first PC had that chip and was Intel)

If your run XP and VISTA , the newest DEAD OS , that means there is no support now, upgrade to W7& up.  (Vista ended, April 11, 2017) XP ended 3 years ago.  No support from MS or HP !
What does ended mean? (it means all support ended, and means PnP is dead too, and the only thing that works today is ACTIVATION)
IE 8 is dead (last version that works on XP ) and is a malware magnet. Avoid IE totally, (Edge replaced it )  Run Firefox newest. FF v55,  64bit) never run 32bit it's now dead to, at FF.

Plug and Play (PnP) is a key (#1) element to getting drivers to work, by design but is now dead Vista and older. 
 When you boot a PC  or add a usb device, the OS goes to to get missing drivers. (it's dead now! on all Dead OS ) 
So up grade to W7 now. (or higher)
Run a supported OS , say W7/8/10, pick one? (It's not free, no OS is free but FreeDos or Linux)
When the OS loads and the internet is connected, the OS sees a driver missing, and then  goes to fetch them off the web.(PnP processes)
Factoid: (W10 even tries finding them off other PC's in your home or your neighbors, if turned on! in MS update engine)
PnP started in 1995, Win95,  That too is dead, all  are from 1995 through VISTA. Dead as a door nail. (dead as road kill)
What does work (partially) is:
Do know this, you can reload the old OS (say XP) from HP media kits, to even a new HDD (worst case there) and it will run and will activate, and be OK (but new things added will NOT PnP load drivers)
If lucky and you find a new toy to add, say a nice Wifi USB dongle, and they support XP or Vista (as the case applies) and they give you a driver, all is well in dream land.
learn that Old PCs with old chips do not support newer OS, this is very common or the maker of said chips went out of business or left this chip product line. (Case in point this XP Sound chip has no W7 driver; period)

EXAMPLES( love them!):
However if you PC is running XP (1 example of 14+ MS OS):
The PC has HP , media kit CDs .
If you have those XP disk sets ,then  all original devices will load and run..
If on the other hand you slammed your PC with REAL Microsoft install disk from THEM, all or most the drivers will be missing, for sure major custom HP drivers and all HP apps will be MISSING.  (someone  slammed it)
In some cases W7 and up can run great, but no always,  there are vast number of  chips no longer made ,nor supported , nor have newer drivers and nor w7 up support now. (facts)
W10 even fails to support old printers and old flat bed scanners. (And more, the list is huge on PC older than 10years old or chips/devices that old)  (this list of dead zero supported chips is many pages long, 1000s)

If you are SAVVY and do your research, and learn your missing HP drivers, file name , SP12345.exe proper, you might find it here on this secret HP FTP  site (I'm assuming the normal HP support pages are gone)
HP FTP back door,(sorry no index)

If you google search for drivers, most times you land on malware sites (or virus) or scalpers sites, that pray on the desperate. (avoid those)

In all cases if you can identify the chip then go to the maker of said chips web site, the driver can be there and may actually work. (OS matched)
On some PC's the glue logic chips under the dead chip must be working first. ( Not having the HP media kits , can be hard work to cure problems) A fact.

Parting shot; If your PCs HDD(hard disk drive) is tell ok, and never replaced, the F11 key restores all this in 1 or 2 clicks do so now. (be backbacked up)

Personally I use my PCI scanner, and go to the makers site and get the drivers, direct.

Power tools (Utilities)  Use these to see what you have now.
First MS; command line. (cmd.exe run box) Vista or newer only. create a folder C:\bu, first, then...
pnputil /?  (means what can you do) then  dor pnputil /export-driver *. C:\bu 
All drivers on my W10 PC are now backed up for free to this \bu folder.
XP and newer:
On XP , run driverquery /v to see all driver and where they are located.
On XP need the GUI version sure.. load this 32bit app (safe) from Nirsoft.(or 64bit if you have that CPU)
DEVcon (meh);

One vendor that has a very hard web site to navigate is Realtek.
Other chip vendors like Broadcom do not support their old chips, they list it as OBSOLETE.

Sound and LAN are common.  The USA site works best, never

I discovered at REALTEK , that they have a universal driver here,  full of support ! check it out.

Learn to that some chip ended at XP or VISTA !  a dead hard end.

The XP F6 Blunder: 
XP has this insane rule set,  the drivers must be on the Boot CD or only floppy is allowed to load the missing driver (cured in VISTA) (not even can you use a folder in ANY HDD/SSD drive full of drivers)
I have tried every trick possible to fool XP into using altnerate media in the F6 , live blunder mode. All FAIL. (just a floppy works)  Nlite is the only cure ! (lots of ways) Lacking the silly floppy drive.

There is only 2 methods here. (I have tried every way in the world to cheat there, and found ZERO easy ways) but this.
The horror of F6 is best seen here at MS.

Other magic , rabbit out of hat?:  Updates are related to Drives. So quick word on that.
One cool MS tool not for drivers but only updates,  is to run this MS program to grab updates. WUSU offline update 9.2.1.(you can watch the script run and see it get  files from  here.
WUSI snap shot photo live,  271 updates there. (ouch)  (less with SP3?)

XP Testing 123, Aug 2017:   
Microsoft shut down XP, and VISTA support.
All that remains, is Some service packs,  XP has SP3 and Vista SP2 and that ends future support forever. 
I tested a 2004 XP computer to prove MS shut down the Plug and Play servers,  the answer here end 2017 ( I used device made 2001 to 2007 the XP era as my test bed)
I ask MS, forum helpers and they confirmed this act.  (bye bye XP, and VISTA)
XP drivers at MS are either dead, missing or being shut down ,day by day more drivers are deleted from servers,  some are still there, but not many. (my tests proves this end of 2017)
See most XP horrors here. (endless it is)

The Achilles' heel of XP is SATA !,  the First XP does not suppor most SATA chips today, so install process, goes dead (F6 floppy blunder
 The SP3 service pack does add a tiny list of new SATA chips, like 1/10th in the wild.
The drivers for XP are mostly here.

This sections is how to match up PCI cards, old and new. Modern express slots are here.
You can not mix old PCI cards into modern, express slots.
You can put an express card, X1,2,4, 8 card  into a X16 slot (if the card uses only 1 channel it works in all slots it can fit, the rule equal or more channels in the slot is needed)
Watch out for trickshere,  there some cards say are 8channel and the 8channel slot on your MOBO is formed as 8 (physical) but is actually 4 channels only ,  (yes, hard to believe and  huge PITA)

A typical modern PC With 4 express slots. (express started in 2004)

Below are the vast legacy slots, (sorry ISA is dead, I will never speak ISA ever... again.) 
(I SHOW THIS OLD DATA, only because so many folks like to put old cards in new system and fail)
 PCI version#1 are  5v slots began in 1992, 26 years ago today.  V2  is 3.3v (1993)  and V2.1(1995) is dual voltgage slots.
 Do not get voltages wrong. Some mobo are not dual voltages but some cards are, so don't put 5v card in 3v only socket or the reverse. (a rule)
The best MOBO (motherboards) are  dual voltage  (or far far better are with some or all  express slots !)
The best card , is  the same. (dual voltage !)
The 5volt only cards and MOBO are getting rare today (the legacy crusher, dumpster magic does that)  avoid them trash them or upgrade is the best path on all 5volt only cards. Legacy crap.
This chart below shows how easy it is to see what slot you have (non express) and what card is in your hand , see those notches?)

Do not FORGET: 
Do not forget the PC DRIVES needs a SATA power cable too, and is not supplied in the above kit. If PSU is PATA only ATX 1 power supply.
There are 2 cables for the SATA drive, the wide one is DC power, 
The narrow one is data only, to the MOBO or CARD. ( to the DRIVE , HDD/SSD or optical media drives CD/DVD/BR)

All things stated here on XP will happen to VISTA,  due to spring 2017 shut down by MS.

Why not scrap any old XP PC (2001 PC wow)  Why not do this?  See Cheaper !
Many Old PC will never upgrade to a newer OS, that is for one reason the chips on that old PC , have no drivers for the upgrade on earth, zero driver made, mostly due to the maker is out of business, etc.

Jargon Used here:
CHIP,   means microelectronic devices , of any kind or package, and for sure   major features (as most are that) CPU/GPU/SOUND/LAN/NIC/WLAN,MODEM/Bluetooth, SATA and glue logic chips.
The background on this page are Chip "DIE'S"(Dice) on  a Silicon WAFER before packaging them. (seen with a microscope)
Glue logic means that huge MOBO chip that replaces vast other chips now, unlike decades older PCs full of TTL chips,  Like the Intel, super common ICH9 (any ICH for sure ICH10) or X38 or the X99
A Chip that fails can be on the main board, the PCI-e slots or on a USB port,  knowing this fact one can disable the dead one and add a new device. (to the PCI slots or USB ports)
Each Chip needs a matching Driver, and each driver needs to match the OS, or Operating System.  (there are execeptions , using wrong drivers can work sometimes)
Mobo = Motherboard (slang used by tech.'s)

Add-in cards are PCI cards, or can be a USB device, and both will have a CHIP (in or on) to do major features. Both need a driver.  USB needs 2 drivers to work one for USB and for the new feature.

Devices to add, to replace others that are now dead for ANY reason including lost drivers ,etc.  Ethernet  first , CAT5/6 Jack on left.

Wifi dongle next.

This is an old PCI card, 3/5v rated that gives you working ethernet easy as eating apple pie,  the Express card on the right, looks near same, but have an express card slot form factor. x1 channels.

Last is for very old laptops, that have PCMCIA (now called PC-CARD) can get LAN with this.
The Slow version.

 This ends  my simple examples of add-in cards, or USB devices.  There are vast choices, of devices sold on the open market. 

My Diagnosis list (logical) A device fails, any device what to do ? (PCI/ USB any) In order to do !  Go to Control panel first,  then device manager.
  1. Device Manager marks it missing or bad (red or yellow , or Unknown status) you are Online and internet works, so you right click the driver and pick update driver,  pick automatically and it fails.
  2. If XP or Vista the above autoupdate fails, this is normal for those two dead OS, (operating systems) after all XP is now officially dead, as is Vista. If W7/8/10 OS?, then the above works, if not see next step.
  3. You then wisely go to and get your missing driver, but discover to your horror, HP does not  support most PCs over 10 years old  no matter how, this fails see next line.
  4. You look for your HP official recovery media kit that has the drivers and you never bought it long ago or was lost or damaged.
  5. You now have what?, HP and MS support dead at this point, what is next?, well it is always, find out the real name of the dead chip, lets pretend it's SOUND is dead. Dead doing this test.( only this test is best !)
  6. Sound is dead (or what ever)  and you then pick in device manager,  this VEN = x   and DEV= z   codes.  I select the bad driver , right click it , and pick properties then detail tab and scroll to Hardware Ids.
  7. I write this down or capture it on screen and look this up, next.  (hardware most match software drivers so...)  My PCI page covers how to do this .
  8. In my test case here its VEN 10EC = Realtek and DEV = 0892  (seen here) and that decodes to Realtek ALC892 HD Audio Codec.
  9. So now we know the real chips name and number,  that means at his point I go to RealteK dot com and get the correct driver. The correct driver is here.
  10. these steps work on all things dead, but not if the internet is dead. (if that is dead the only way to cure it is get the drivers online using a fully working correctly PC (online )
What if the  Device Manager shows vast things, dead,well that is mostly  caused by 2 things, a virus or someone installed your OS using the wrong disk set.  (non HP disks do that, MS is classic way for this to happen)
The fact is , that HP designed your PC not MS. (a fact to deal with) I call that act done wrong SLAMMING.
Know that in many cases a primary chip must work before the bad device you see can work at all. (in your mind imagine your homes foundation goes missing (magic)what would happen? sure)
Like the USB ports must all work or the camera driver will be dead.
Or worse,there is always worse like say the intel driver for the ICH9 chip is missing. oops.  better get that working first. (like PCI standard host CPU bridge) ven 8086 dev 293x (where x is 8 functions)
Learn that some driver were never made for Vista and newer OS.
One can force feed a driver sometimes  ,as seen here; above,
If all this is confusing?, they  power on and hammer the F11 key and do the official HP recovery mode, that put  the PC back to day one condition and all data gone, and all installed apps by you gone.
The steps above work with any device dead, but not the  wired Ethernet port. (you must get those using a 2nd PC that works)
Learn that one simple model HP PC (say you said, only Pavilion) can have  3 optional sound chips and 6 NIC chips (wired and wireles) I use the sniffer  seen in my PCI page in every case to find what is there. FIRST !
GOOD luck finding drivers, or force feeding them.

Great apps or tools to find problems (free)

How to scan the PC and learn which chips are there. see the Sniffer 3 app.(a.k.a:  PCI scanner) (off a boot CD or boot USB thumb drive.
Useful windows commands:
Open run box type winver.
Run these free apps from MS,  Systeminternals Suite
The best one for finding things running that you don't want running (virus, malware, or even endless autoupdates from Adobe or Oracle Java) is this.
Autoruns from MS.
Even better is run CMD.exe in elevated command prompt and run  (or use powershell if you like!, type powershell instead of cmd in the run box)

driverquery /fo TABLE /V  > drivers.txt (now open the text file and read it) /v = verbose.

driverquery /fo CSV > drivers.csv  (for excel)

Check out the /Si switch (certificates)
driverquery /si

SFC /scannow (see DISM here)

version#5;  8-30-2017     revised 1-1-2018 , less on XP, it sux, and more on forcing drivers ! old to new OS.