Plug and Play? More like Plug and Pray!

I have been helping a co-worker of mine learn MDT and she asked me about loading drivers into an existing share, and I thought the summary of the discussion would make for an existing post.

The great thing about working with enterprise class hardware is that most of the time these days there are enterprise driver packs available for you to use. The three major Vendors, HP, Dell, and Lenovo (finally) all now offer a way to download the enterprise driver packs so you can just feed a prebuilt package into MDT and move on with your life. Dell offers them via CAB files, HP makes you use a download manager called the softpack manager, and Lenovo has limited support for a select class of models, but at least they’re trying now.

However, you’ll find not all makes and models have these enterprise driver packs like some HP Probooks. When this happens, check the device manager first, and make an attempt to find and then feed your share ONLY the drivers your missing after a clean windows install. Even if you’re using the “total control” principle in your deployments, I’ve found often it really is best to only spend time worrying about drivers you need, because if the generic Microsoft driver works, good enough, don’t be a hero. Plug and Play is very often much more like Plug and Pray.