Saturday, September 19, 2015

How to install a Windows driver INF file

How to install a Windows driver INF file

Some Windows drivers are downloaded with SETUP.exe's, but others are simpler, and arrive in a ZIP file, with manually-installable INF files. The contents of the ZIP will usually show several files, including some SYS files, and an INF file.  It is the INF that needs to be installed, but it cannot be installed while still housed within the ZIP. 

Double-clicking the ZIP file gives the illusion it has been opened, but File Explorer shows the contents, even allowing you to tunnel, but it has not yet been de-compressed.  Follow these steps to expand the files within the ZIP.

1.  Set Windows Explorer to show file extensions, this way you can easily identify the INF file.

From File Explorer, [View] ribbon, select "File Name Extensions"

2.  Highlight the downloaded ZIP file.  In the Ribbon-bar (Windows 8), note the top-tab [Compressed Folder Tools], click button "Extract All".  Using the default-prompt, it will create a new folder, next to the ZIP, of the same name.  Allow it to extract.

Older versions of Windows, or as an alternative in Windows 8, 10:  Double-click the ZIP to view the contents.  Click the first file or folder in the list.  Press Ctrl-A to highlight all contents.  Other-mouse-click, choose COPY.  Paste into a different folder, or a new folder, at least one layer higher up in the tree-diagram.  This will be the expanded files.

3.  Open the newly-created folder (not the ZIP file).  Locate the INF.  "Other-mouse-click" the INF, choose "Install" from the Context menu.

Some ZIP files may contain multiple folders, for multiple drivers and they may contain separate INF files.  Although not difficult, it is a nuisance to figure this stuff out.  Ideally,, the vendor would provide a SETUP.exe to automate these processes.

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