While looking around for a particular utility, I ended up on Google Code just dredging through all the projects they have online. As I went through, I kept opening tabs to more and more applications that sounded interesting. I found enough applications worth sharing that I decided to post one per day this week and highlight some hidden treasures of Google Code.
Day #2: UnknownDevices
After a fresh Windows install, even if you’ve installed all the drivers you know, it’s always wise to check the Device manager to see if there are any Unknown Devices listed. These will have a yellow question mark in front of them and mean you aren’t going to be able to use that piece of hardware or component of the hardware. Unfortunately, the way a device is listed you don’t have a whole lot of information to assist in tracking down the needed driver.
With UnknownDevices, today’s highlighted Google Code open-source project, you can derive a little more information about the hardware and get some clues (like the manufacturer) easily. With that information in hand, it should be much less of a task to find the proper driver needed. You can see the Unknown Device Tool in action below listing information for the same SM Bus Controller that is an unknown device in the above screenshot of the Device Manager.
Essentially, UnknownDevices gathers information about your hardware and then performs a look-up in the PCI Database, a useful resource in and of itself. After the look-up, it returns the information it was able to find and you can use it to help your search for the proper driver. UnknownDevices is a 276 KB executable with a separate auto-update component and device lists. It runs as a 4.5MB process and works under Windows XP and Server 2003.
With a link to the developer’s homepage, you can find another project with the same concept that might be worth checking out: Hardware Identifier