Intel motherboards are used in the majority of PCs and notebooks sold in recent years, and they contain a surprising amount of technology. It’s common to find HD audio, graphics, networking, and disk controllers on the motherboard.

Whether you’re using the original PC manufacturer image or a clean install of Windows, chances are one or more of those drivers are out of date. Tracking down updates manually is confusing, to say the least. Fortunately, Intel has now automated the process with a web-based scanner that inventories your current drivers and offers to install the most recent updates.

To start, open Internet Explorer and visit the Intel Driver Update Utility page. (This page also works with Firefox and Chrome, but I recommend those options only if you already have Java installed on your PC and are confortable downloading and installing a Java applet. On my computers, I avoid anything that requires Java.) Click the button labeled “Check your system for the latest updates.” More »

A new Windows Sysinternals tool available for download allows Windows 7 users to map out the system memory usage of their machines. Developed by Windows gurus Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell, RAMMap 1.0 is now available for download both as a standalone utility and as a part of the Windows Sysinternals package.

RAMMap is capable of showing customers just what is happening to their physical memory, beyond anything the Task Manager is capable of doing. The utility is designed to integrate seamlessly with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, but also Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

“Have you ever wondered exactly how Windows is assigning physical memory, how much file data is cached in RAM, or how much RAM is used by the kernel and device drivers? RAMMap makes answering those questions easy. RAMMap is an advanced physical memory usage analysis utility for Windows Vista and higher,” an excerpt of the tool’s description reads. More »

With the releasing to manufacturing of Windows 7 on July 22nd, 2009, Microsoft has started updating all the resources adjacent to the operating system also to the RTM milestone. It is the case of Windows Driver Kit Version 7.0.0. Developers are now able to grab an updated version of Windows Driver Kit Version 7.0.0 specifically tailored to the gold development build of Windows 7. Starting with the first half of August 2008, software developers have available the resources necessary to build drivers for Windows 7 RTM Build 7600, but also for previous releases of the Windows client and server operating systems.

“The Windows Driver Kit (WDK) Version 7.0.0 contains the tools, code samples, documentation, compilers, headers and libraries with which software developers create drivers for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2003. This development kit does not contain device drivers for your personal computer,” reads an excerpt from the overview for Windows Driver Kit Version 7.0.0.

But in addition to the WDK, Microsoft has also updated the documentation made available for developers in order to better leverage the resource. While WDK for Windows 7 RTM has been live for a few weeks, the updated documentation was only offered to devs on August 14th, 2009. The Windows Driver Kit documentation is currently available for download and integration with Windows 7. More »

With the advent of Windows 7, users are bound to upgrade from Windows XP and even Windows Vista to the next iteration of the Windows client. For some, even XP’s SP3 or Vista’s SP1 and SP2 will not be sufficient an incentive to keep them away from Windows 7. However, in order to ensure a smooth transition, preparation is key for both home users and corporate customers. Of course, as market segments go, home users will have an easy task awaiting them, while companies will go through complex and painful evaluation processes lasting as much as a year and a half. Still, planning ahead is the right way to go, when preparing to upgrade from Vista, XP and previous releases of Windows to Windows 7.

As with Windows Vista, the biggest issues concern hardware support and software compatibility. Microsoft is promising that by making Windows 7 version 6.1 the vast majority of hardware products and software solutions currently tailored to Vista will continue to work seamlessly with its successor. At the same time, the Redmond company is engaging hardware and software developers to get their device drivers and applications ready for Windows 7 in due time. More »

With Windows 7 client and Windows 7 Server (Windows Server 2008 R2) available in Beta as of early January 2009, Microsoft has now also started serving the Sensor Windows Driver Kit Beta resources. The Windows 7 Sensor Windows Driver Kit Beta documentation has been published on MSDN and can be accessed by developers that are looking to integrate sensor or location products with the next version of the Windows operating system. “If you have been wondering about how to support your sensor or location device on Windows 7, wonder no longer! The Windows 7 Sensor WDK documentation is live on MSDN,” Microsoft’s Gavin Gear stated. “We’re experiencing some issues with rendering bulleted and numbered lists and working diligently to resolve this issue. Thanks for being patient,” added Jim Travis, senior content publishing lead, Microsoft. Microsoft is offering developers access to the Design Guide, Windows Sensor Reference and Sensor Samples. More »