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HP Notebook PCs - Using HP Support Tools to Update HP Software, Drivers, and BIOS with Windows 7

This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows 7.

HP constantly improves its products and provides software updates for these products. The software on your notebook PC is composed of driver, firmware, and application files. You should periodically check the HP web site to determine if there is an updated BIOS, or a new version of a driver, or a software service pack available to keep your HP computer running properly.

To make it easy for you to keep your computer up-to-date, HP provides several automated support tools to keep your computer up to date. These tools will help you detect out-of-date drivers and install updated drivers at your convenience. If an automated tool is not available for your particular issue or if you have a non-factory image (such as the retail version of Windows 7 or a corporate image) installed on your computer, or you do not want to download and install the HP Help and Support tools, you can update the BIOS and device drivers manually.

Find the version of the current BIOS and other drivers

Before you take the time to download and try to update the BIOS or a driver, you should determine the versions of the BIOS and drivers that are currently installed on the computer.

The Windows 7 System Information window provides information about the hardware resources, components, and software environment installed on your computer. To open the System Information window, click Start , enter information into the search field, and then select System Information from the list.

Figure 1: System Information Displays BIOS and Driver Versions

Select the individual components in the left panel to view version information for drivers.

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Updating the BIOS and device drivers using automated tools

If your computer has the original operating system, BIOS, and drivers that came installed on your computer before updates, use one of the automated tools listed below to install updated versions of the BIOS and device drivers.

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Updating the BIOS and device drivers manually

If the computer has a non-HP image of Windows 7, or if you choose not to install HP Support Assistant, use one of the online tools or manual processes listed below to install updated versions of the BIOS and device drivers.

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Using HP Support Assistant

HP Support Assistant can perform an analysis of your computer to keep your computer up to date and give you alerts and tips from HP by using the Maintain tool. Click to download the latest version of HP Support Assistant . The Maintain tool can help you complete the following actions:
  • Health Analysis , examines the computer system and lets you know about the latest drivers to maintain the health of your computer.

  • Software Updates , gives you updates to you software to avoid any problems.

  • Usage Tips , updates you with the latest alerts and tips from HP.

  • Automated Tune-up , a tune-up can be scheduled periodically maintain your computer automatically.

The Health Analysis tool connects to HP servers and downloads updates and prepares an action list by gathering information and analyzing your system for any manual updates that need to be made.

To start Maintain in HP Support Assistant and run the Health Analysis tool, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start , enter HP Support into the search field, and then select HP Support Assistant from the list.

  2. Select Health Analysis from the list under Maintain , and click Refresh on the pending actions screen.

    The Health Analysis tool automatically examines the computer system.

    Figure 2: Health Analysis in progress

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Using HP Advisor

HP Advisor is a tool that provides easy access to computer information. For convenience, HP Advisor launches HP Support Assistant.

To open HP Advisor and launch HP Support Assistant manually, complete the following steps:
  1. Click Start .

  2. Click All Programs .

  3. In the Programs list, click Hewlett-Packard , and then click HP Advisor .

  4. When the task bar appears, click HP Advisor and select PC Dashboard to launch the application.

    Figure 3: HP Advisor task bar

  5. On the PC Dashboard window, click Support .

    HP Support Assistant opens.

    Figure 4: Launch HP Support Assistant

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Manually locating and downloading the latest version of the BIOS and device driver(s) for the computer

In some cases, HP support may recommend that you download and install a specific softpaq or you may have realized that a specific softpaq should be installed after reading an HP support document. A "softpaq" is the term HP uses for BIOS, device driver, and software application updates that are available for download and installation from hp.com. Each softpaq file is listed with the abbreviation "SP" (for softpaq) and followed by a reference number. For example, SP12345.

You can view a video on Use Model Name or Product Number (in English) to locate and download updated drivers on the HP web site.

To locate and download the latest version of the BIOS or device driver(s) for the computer manually, follow the steps below.

  1. Open a web browser and go to www.hp.com home page, click SUPPORT & DRIVERS link at the top of the page to display the Support & Drivers page.

    Alternately, open a web browser and click on this link to go to the Software and Driver Downloads page.

  2. Enter the model number in the Enter a product name / number field, and then click Go to search for an updated version of the BIOS or updated device driver(s) for any devices installed on the computer.

    NOTE: The Product Name, Product Number and Serial Number can be found at the bottom of the HP Support Assistant window. You can also find these items under your computer or in the battery enclosure.

    Figure 5: HP Support Assistant window

    Figure 6: Label under the computer

    1 - Model Number
    2 - Product Name
    3 - Product Number
  3. On the Software & Driver Downloads page, use the drop-down menu to Select your operating system , and then click Next to display a list of available BIOS and device driver downloads.

    NOTE: Device driver updates are listed by category. For example, device driver updates for audio devices are listed under Driver - Audio .
  4. Click the icon to expand the BIOS or applicable driver section, and then click Download for the latest version of the BIOS or device driver for your particular computer model.

  5. When prompted, click Save to save the file to a convenient location on your computer, such as your desktop. Consider renaming the file to something that is easy to remember.

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 above for each device driver that you want to update.

The latest version of the BIOS and/or any device drivers for the computer are now saved to your computer. Continue to the next section to avoid having multiple or conflicting device drivers.

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Uninstalling multiple or conflicting device drivers manually

If you are simply updating a single driver, it is not necessary to uninstall the driver prior to updating it. However, multiple or conflicting device drivers can cause a device to stop working correctly. If there are multiple or conflicting device drivers installed on the computer, uninstall the extra or conflicting drivers and install the single latest driver by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start , enter device into the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list. Grant permission to continue, if prompted. Device Manager opens.

  2. Click the + plus sign next to the device that is not working properly to expand the list.

  3. Look for two or more drivers for the same device (e.g., two drivers for a webcam) and look for drivers that display a yellow exclamation point, called a "bang". A bang next to a driver indicates a conflicting driver.

  4. Click the name of the extra or conflicting driver to select it, right-click, and then select Uninstall .

  5. Click OK on the Confirm Device Uninstall window. The extra or conflicting device driver uninstalls.

The extra or conflicting device drivers are now removed from the computer. Continue to the next section to install the latest driver(s).

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Manually installing the latest version of the BIOS and/or device driver(s) for the computer

Sometimes installing the latest version of the BIOS or software driver(s) can take a while. It is important to remain patient and not interrupt the process so that the updates will install properly.

To install the latest version of the BIOS and/or device driver(s) for the computer manually, follow the steps below.

  1. Be sure that you are running on AC, not battery, power.

  2. Locate the softpaq ".exe" file that you downloaded and saved to a convenient location on your hard disk drive.

  3. Double-click the softpaq to open the file and follow the on-screen instructions.

  4. Repeat these steps for each softpaq ".exe" that you downloaded and want to install on the computer.

  5. Restart the computer, if prompted.

The latest version of the BIOS and device driver(s) that you downloaded and saved to the hard disk drive are now installed on the computer.

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Using Windows Update to update the Operating System and Microsoft Software

Windows Update searches Microsoft's web site for any available operating system and Microsoft software updates. HP Recommends setting Windows Update to run in automatic mode. Running Windows Update in automatic mode automatically installs important updates. You can also choose to automatically install recommended updates. Just change the settings in Windows Update. Optional updates are not installed automatically, but you can choose to manually install them.

To use Windows Update to download and install the latest BIOS and device drivers automatically, follow the steps below.

  1. Click Start , enter update into the search field, and then select Windows Update from the list to open Windows Update.

  2. Windows update installs any available updates for the operating system and Microsoft software. For additional information, see HP Notebook PCs - Using Windows Update Tool to Update Drivers and Software from Microsoft

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