Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Installing DELL laptop drivers from CABs

Recently, I had to rebuild my Dell laptop.  Not fun.  Hoping to save someone else a little time, here is how I got all the drivers sorted:

  1. Find your driver bundle: I used the model code (printed in a shallow recess on the underside) to find a CAB on the Dell website containing all the drivers for that machine.  Big download - almost a gigabyte - but so handy to have them all in one file!  
  2. Extracting the drivers from the CAB:  Windows Explorer can natively poke around inside the CAB, but extracting is a pain - one file at a time, losing the directory structure - really, a non-starter.  Don't do it. Instead, just download and install 7-Zip (free!), which will do the job very nicely.  After that, 
  3. Use the Device Manager to install the drivers: Hit Windows+R to launch the run dialog, then type (or paste) devmgmt.msc into the text fieldLook for "Other Devices" in the tree and right-click them one at time, selecting "Update driver...", then specifying the where you extract the CAB file.  You'll be done in no time (well, half an hour!).
  4. Create a Windows Restore Point so you (probably) don't ever need to do this again!