OK folks, Windows 7 is finally here, and already people have lots of questions about obtaining drivers.
There is a big mentality, that people are looking for drivers, in the same way that they look for drivers for Windows XP and Vista.
First of all, Windows 7 is a brand new
operating system, released in 2009. Windows XP is an old operating system, released seven years ago in 2002, so the drivers included with it are dated from back then. If you're installing Windows XP on a system built within the last seven years, then of course, drivers for your hardware are most probably NOT included, so naturally you'll need to install them afterwards.
But get this: Windows 7 is a brand new
operating system, so it will now include drivers for more recent hardware. I've installed Windows 7 myself now on three different systems, my Wind U100 notebook (Intel 945 chipset), my K9A2 Platinum (AMD 790FX chipset), an ECS Geforce 6150 board (with nVidia nforce 430 chipset) and my current MSI KA790GX-M board (AMD 790GX chipset), and I was able to install Windows 7 and NOT need to install any drivers (including for onboard Realtek LAN and HD Audio), it just worked 'out-of-the-box'.
What I'm trying to say, is that many people are unneccessarily looking for drivers for Windows 7 when they don't need them. Of course, some chipset manufacturers are already starting to provide specific Windows 7 drivers for some VGA cards and audio devices, which of course you may choose to install if needed.
Basically, install Windows 7 and then when its done, have a look in your Device Manager, and look and see what devices are missing drivers. (You'll see them highlighted with a (!) and possibly listed as 'Unknown Device'. I'm willing to bet that most people with recent hardware will find few if none, except for some external peripherals such as scanners or printers. But to actually get your system up and running, generally you'll be fine.
So what do you do if you actually do need to install a device driver? First of all, look and see if that chipset or hardware manufacturer provides a specific Windows 7 driver yet. What if they don't? Well, try and see if a Vista driver is available. Vista drivers should work with no problems, provided you choose the correct 32bit or 64bit version, depending on which version of Windows 7 you have installed.
32bit drivers will only work on 32bit OS, and 64bit drivers will only work on 64bit OS.
For your information, I have an old Mustek 1200UB USB scanner, and driver support ended at Windows XP. Yet these 'ancient' XP drivers are happily driving my scanner, and it is working flawlessly under Windows 7, though I had to manually install them using Device Manager.
You don't always need the latest drivers for your hardware to function correctly. That is another mentality that is common here, that drivers are like fresh food and go out-of-date after time.
I would leave this topic open, but I just know that it will be filled with requests like 'where can i find windows 7 drivers for xxx', so unfortunately I'm going to lock it. Google is your friend, or just look on xxx manufacturer's website for download. Also bear in mind that (for now) Windows 7 is not yet released, so you won't find specific Windows 7 drivers on MSI's website just yet, so please don't start topics asking when MSI will provide Windows 7 drivers, they will appear when Windows 7 is released.>> Links to popular hardware manufacturer's websites <<
EDIT: Windows 7 drivers are now being added to MSI product pages, so look there first!