I'm seriously considering dumping Win 8 from a new computer
and installing either XP Pro or Win 7 very possibly the former--
and keep it on 'til the updates stop nest year and then, if I live
that long, upgrading to Win 7.
Yeah ---laugh all you want -- but, to my actual question:
My understand is that I install the OS then install the drivers
(right?). So, that's fine --if I have the drivers on a disk.
But, suppose I download the drivers ahead of installing the OS --
how then do I get them on the machine?
You can "slipstreeam" drivers into an installer DVD.
Then, burn a new DVD. This site illustrates a tool with
that capability. Note that, as new OSes come out,
you may need to find another software product, to do
the job. The developers who do stuff like this, they
eventually tire of putting a lot of work into this
stuff for free. And then someone else comes along to
pick up the slack.
Only drivers in a certain format, can be integrated. Not
all driver package formats are acceptable.
The advantage of integrating drivers, is to make a custom
reinstallation disc, for a particular machine.
You install drivers, after the base OS is installed.
And, you might ask, how is that possible ?
It's possible, because:
1) Base OS has standard drivers for hard disk drives.
And that support gets better, from OS to OS.
Windows 7 would have IDE, AHCI, and RAID (limited brands).
No need to "F6 in a driver" as a result.
2) Video driver fallback. The base OS has a VESA driver. Video
cards contain a VESA BIOS. The declarations (plug and play), allow
the screen to be operated in a basic mode. The resolution is
typically lower than normal. While working in the low-resolution
screen, you can then start to install the video related drivers.
(DirectX, AGP driver, .NET 2.0 or higher for the control panel,
video card package).
Same thing happens, when you uninstall the video driver, using
Add/Remove. The screen needs something to work with, and goes
back to VESA mode and the fallback driver.
3) Mouse and keyboard follow standards. Such as HID and USB
standards. Driver is built into the OS.
So with some luck, enough basic drivers are already present,
you get a tiny screen to work in, and finish driver installation.
Dealing with a busted NIC can be a problem, especially
if you didn't "plan ahead" and put the drivers on a
CD or a USB stick. Usually, the NIC comes with support
back to the dawn of time, so of all the hardware types,
driver coverage is usually pretty good for NICs. Just
a matter of getting the files in the first place (from
Intel, Broadcom, Marvell, RealTek, VIA etc.)