The driver catalog helps manage the cost and complexity of deploying an operating system in an environment that contains different types of computers and devices. The driver catalog consists of two nodes in the Configuration Manager 2007 administrator console: Drivers and Driver Packages. Storing device drivers in the driver catalog and not with each individual operating system image greatly reduces the number of operating system images that are required. When you deploy an operating system image, each operating system image can install enabled device drivers that have been imported and are available on a distribution point.
You can also store multiple versions of Windows device drivers in the driver catalog. Maintaining multiple versions of device drivers provides an easy way to upgrade existing device drivers when hardware device requirements change on your network.
Driver Catalog Terminology
- Windows device driver
- A Windows device driver consists of an INF file and one or more additional files required to support a device. Configuration Manager 2007 will read and obtain the hardware and platform information from the INF file.
- Driver Package
- A Driver Package is a Configuration Manager 2007 package that contains the content for one or more device drivers. When you add a new device driver the content is added to the driver package share. The driver package can then be copied to a distribution point so that computers can install them.
Importing a New Windows Device Driver
Windows device drivers must be imported into the Configuration Manager 2007 site so that they are available for operating system deployments. You should import only device drivers that you plan to deploy as part of your operating system deployments in your Configuration Manager 2007 environment. For more information about importing new Windows device drivers into the driver catalog for use with operating system deployments, see How to Import Windows Device Drivers into the Driver Catalog
Device Driver Categories
You can assign device drivers that have been imported into the driver catalog to a category. Device driver categories are helpful with linking similarly used device drivers together in a logical fashion. For example, you can assign all network adapter device drivers to a specific category. When you initiate an operating system deployment you can you can configure Windows setup to search in only the specified categories when locating device drivers.
Creating Device Driver Packages
Device driver packages group similar device drivers together to help streamline operating system deployments; for example you may decide to create a driver package for each type computer manufacturer on your network.
Driver packages contain the content associated with one or more device drivers. Device drivers should be added to a driver package and copied to an available distribution point so Configuration Manager 2007 client computers can install them. Driver packages also provide you the flexibility to distribute device driver content to only the distribution points that will require them.
When you create a driver package, the source location of the package should point to an empty network share and the Configuration Manager 2007 system account must have read/write permissions to the driver package source location. When you add device drivers to a driver package, Configuration Manager 2007 will copy the device driver to the driver package source location. Only device drivers that have been imported and are enabled in the driver catalog can be added to a new or existing driver package. For more information about creating a driver package use the following link: How to Create a Driver Package
You must copy the driver package to at least one distribution point for computers to be able to access them, and all device drivers in a specific package are copied together. If you want to copy a subset of device drivers from an existing driver package, you must create a new driver package and copy it to a distribution point. If you change the source location of an existing driver package, you will need to manually copy the device drivers to the new location. If the device drivers are not moved to the new location they will be removed as part of the next distribution point update.
Adding Device Drivers to Boot Images
You can add Windows device drivers that have been imported into the driver catalog to a Configuration Manager 2007 boot image. You should only add mass storage and network adapter device drivers to boot images because other types of drivers are not generally required and will increase the size of the boot image. Only device drivers that are intended for use with Windows Vista should be added to a boot image because the required version of Windows PE is Windows Vista-based. For more information about adding device drivers to a boot image see: How to Add Windows Device Drivers to a Boot Image
Driver Catalog Task Sequence Steps
There are two task sequence steps that you can use with your operating system deployments to install device drivers that have been imported into the driver catalog. When you use these task sequence steps you can also specify how device drivers will be installed on a target computer.
The following list briefly describes the two device driver task sequence steps:
- Auto apply drivers - allows you to
automatically match and install device drivers as part of an
operating system deployment. You can configure the task sequence
step to install only the best matched driver for each hardware
device detected, or specify that the task sequence step will
install all compatible drivers for each hardware device detected
and allow Windows setup to choose the best driver. For more
information about using the Auto Apply Drivers task sequence step
see: Auto Apply
- Apply Driver Package - allows you to
make all device drivers in a specific driver package available for
use by Windows setup. Windows setup will search in the specified
driver packages for required device drivers. For more information
about using the Apply Driver Package task sequence step see:
Driver Catalog Reports
- You can use several device driver reports to
determine general device driver information. The reports category
Driver Management contains reports that can help you
inventory available device drivers and evaluate device driver
applicability and availability. For more information about the
reports that are available with operating system deployment and the
driver catalog see: Available Operating
System Deployment Reports