Device Drivers 101       

See why drivers die go dead or passed in to oblivion.
A driver is software, it's is the lowest level of software , that makes a hardware feature work.  You are here because  something is dead (a feature is dead, like sound?)
The Number one rule on drivers is,  never use Google to find them or you will get infected so very very easy. Get them from HP and win! (choice 2 is from the CHIP maker themselves) (all 3rd choices ,are a huge risk)
Microsoft has over 14 Operating Systems ("OS"), I will never cover  them all. (they MS, even have SCO Xenix ) Nor P/S2, nor Freedos, sold by HP. (even Linux)
This page shows how solve problems 3 or more ways, PnP, HP drivers real, and fishing trips.(more later on that, the good the bad and the ugly)
PnP (Plug and Play) is the game of matching, OS to Chips.  (It's non trivial) (know too that each chip has an ID inside,  to support this magic)
You are here because PnP failed ( it will if its Windows, VISTA or XP or older,) and will get worse as time moves on...

You will also be here if the INTERNET connection is dead (be it , WIFI (wlan) or Ethernet LAN (or GIGLAN). PnP will be 99% dead in XP, with internet dead. (far less dead with W10)
Do not misunderstand me, your old PC running XP, if all hardware is still good (rare), will in fact run the XP install disks media kit and runs like new.  It will be just like it was in 2001.(stop it,you are scaring me ! LOL)
This is the logical PnP order inside Windows for missing drivers. (a nut sell story! ,:the rules on signatures are now extreme)
  • Windows does a PCI scan of all chips and usb devices in your system to learn what you have. (armed with these facts  it then matches drivers to them)
  • Windows looks in its own folders for drivers (and HP too ) on your HDD a C:Windows/System32/DriverStore., even with dead XP and VISTA this can still work if not "Slammed".
  • Windows then goes to the internet to to get your missing drivers.  (also windows update service can also update drivers, if enabled, and with W10 more new ways to get updates)
  • Windows will not go to for you, sorry!, only you can. (as per below methods)
  •  End windows auto PnP ways. (keep in mind W10 is a lump of clay, they are evolving updates and PnP as time progresses) UPdates can now UPdate drivers and is related to Delivery Optimization.

  • You can even go  to Device Manager, and right click the bad driver, and pick update this driver.
  • As you can see the first driver to get is that which makes the Internet work first. (Lan or WLAN) (wired or wireless, you call ,your ways) I always use ethernet first, its faster and more sure. (for  sure huge windows updates)
  • Tricks sure , delete the driver (after all it many be the wrong driver) then windows will will do the first 3 steps above, and find it (maybe) this takes all of 1 minute work....(connected)
  • Trick2 to let windows, do a full update and if enabled can load newer drivers or even increase its (depth of knowledge about them)
  • Learn that Windows, (what ever) does not support all ten thousands of chips ever made, not ever will it, nor same with USB devices. (since 1981, 36years +) Sorry , most are in fact OBSOLETE !
  • In fact more makers of chips don't even exist now, (study GPU makers) or the makers, stopped making them or ended support at XP ! ( if it (maker or product) don't exist?, how can a driver exist , it can not)
  • Drivers for dummies.

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)
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, or 3 VGA cards/chips)
The HP drives are all SP12345.exe files.(a false generic file name )
If you run the wrong .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)
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.

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)

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.  (you 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,

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.

Most drivers I find easy to find and for sure PCI-sniffer scanned above. (most brands have  great web site, clear ,as a bell what to get and load but not this maker)
One maker is very hard to find is REALTEK for say a sound chip. (it's in TAIWAN that is why the docs are weak) The maker is easy to find but not their structure, it is horrid there. (IMO)
Sound chips by them:
I discovered that they have a universal driver here,  that does them all, all OS all, chips (if lucky) in one huge 170mb file. (exe, compressed, its loaded to the gunnel's with INF files +drivers)
  • What it does and not stated here is:
  • Scans your PC for OS type, and chip device name code.
  • Then matches, it. and loads it. all automatically.
Many old  HP PC's use this chip,  but HP only supports XP, the above is the best cure. (the best cure is always from the CHIP maker, (lacking HP support) and never from

Parting shot: The worst PC to own is  XP PC,  that OS is dead. (at HP and MS) so if the HDD dies, and is replaced what then,  ?  going to buy XP and install it, then spend all weekend finding relic drivers?
Why replace any HDD on any old used $5 PC, (value if dead) and spend $50 for a new hard drive, 10x what it is worth? Why not do this?  See Cheaper !
What kills most PC are: (endless this is on forums on topic)
  1. Flashing BIOS (PC is now bricked)
  2. Upgrading to windows 10 and finding many things not working, in fact some may never work again. ( you can not wish things that do not exist, to  exist!)
  3. Replacing the HDD and now the F11 HP restore is gone and you never bought the HP media install kit for your PC and OS.

version 1.  8-1-2017  ( I only cover HP computers, for sure dead PC and things in it dead. (like sound, video, screens, OS dead, etc) the Principles work on all PC's but I just do HP  the best. (sure HP COMPAQ too)