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Assign Drivers to Computer Makes and Models March 11, 2010

Posted by keithga in Uncategorized.

Speaking of Make and Models… one of the things I’ve been experimenting with lately is mixing driver management styles (grouping by Make+Model vs PnPID).



Make/Model Match

Historically, if you had different hardware platforms, and you wanted to install drivers on each type, you would create separate packages for each Make and Model. Then you could query the Make and Model information from the BIOS to determine which package to install.



For example here are four Make+Model examples:

Make Model
Dell D630
Dell D830
HP DC7800
HP DC7900

The disadvantage of this method is that you have to update the driver packages when new Models come along, and it’s also possible that you might keep multiple instances of the same driver package across many Make and Model repositories. 




PnP-ID Match

With MDT, ZTIDrivers.wsf was designed to do things in a different manner. Instead of downloading drivers and grouping them based on Make/Model, you would import the driver directly into MDT, MDT would parse the driver package, and MDT would install the driver package on the machine if the Plug and Play ID matched.



For example, Windows might search for Plug and Play ID’s that look like:






Generally this system works better than copying based on Make and Model except for a few points:

  • You must import the drivers in a correct fashion so MDT can parse the INF files, and so each driver package is a seperate entry (more on importing drivers later…)
  • Some PC Makers only certify (support?) a subset of driver versions, so it is possible that MDT may give Windows the latest non-certified version of a driver.
  • There also may be compatibility problems with specific drivers. When placed on some other platforms. (However IMHO, if a driver *can* be installed on a machine, but crashes the machine, then that is a bug of the driver).


Hybrid Make-Model + PnPID Match Solution

For my MDT environments, I don’t want to place all drivers into Make/Model groupings by default, since I loose the advantages of ZTIDrivers.wsf where it copy by PnPID. For example, I have the drivers for my Dell D620 integrated now, but it’s good to know that I probably have good coverage for any D820’s out there since they share mostly the same components.


I’ve seen some MDT implementations that totally throw away the ZTIDrivers.wsf PnPID style in favor of maintaining a manual mapping of drivers to Make+Model. However, I do concede, that there are some drivers out there that “… do not play nicely with others…”, and need to be quarantined somehow, and according to a make+model works well.


Create a Folder Structure in MDT Workbench:
























Then in your CustomSettings.ini file, you can add the following: 





(Note that DriverSelectionProfile=nothing is required if using DriverGroups).

%Make% and %Model% will be auto-expanded in the customsettings.ini file with the Make and Model values from the system BIOS.

  • If you have a driver that will work for all Makes and Models, then place it under \Common.
  • If you have a driver that is only supported for a single Manufacturer, then place it under \%Make%\Common.
  • If you have a driver that only works on a specific Make and Model, then place it under \%Make%\%Model%.

This should allow you to use generic drivers by default, moving drivers to specific makes and models when required.


Keith Garner is a Deployment Specialist with Xtreme Consulting Group


1. Brian Hoyt - July 19, 2012

Just in case anyone else has this problem it is DriverGroup not DriverGroups (no s) as shown above. I chased that around for an hour or two today.

2. Configuration Manager 2007 R2/SP2 Driver Management | myITforum.com - December 2, 2011

[…] reading this post by Keith Garner, I got to thinking about how I could do something similar in ConfigMgr. When i […]

3. yoke88 - July 19, 2010

was the size of your mdt drivers folder?

4. Brian - May 7, 2010

Hey Keith,

Have the same issues with the Lenovo’s. I am trying this as a work around…..

I added to my folder structure in the Out-of-Box the version name of the ThinkPads.

I then removed “set driver group” from my task sequence and added %version% to the drivergroups in the cs.ini file:


It seems to be working but not all of the drivers are behaving (especailly with HP laptop) so it leads me to believe that’s it is just scanning the PnP ids. Is there a log to check if the drivergroups are being used? And does %version% actually work in the drivergroup settings?

Thanks in advance,

5. Brian - May 6, 2010

Hey Keith,

I also have a Lenovo problem and was going to try %version% in the driver groups:


Any chance of this working?


6. Configuration Manager 2007 R2/SP2 Driver Management - Chris Nackers Blog - April 9, 2010

[…] reading this post by Keith Garner, I got to thinking about how I could do something similar in ConfigMgr.  […]

7. Another Take On Driver Management - Chris Nackers Blog - March 17, 2010

[…] http://deployment.xtremeconsulting.com/2010/03/11/assign-drivers-to-computer-makes-and-models/ Posted: Mar 17 2010, 08:44 PM by cnackers | with no comments Filed under: SMS 2003, Operating System Deployment, Solution Accelerators, Microsoft, Driver Management, Systems Management, SCCM, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, MDT 2010, ConfigMgr […]

8. AK47 - March 12, 2010

Hi Keith, how do you go about this with Lenovo Computers? They have model codes like 20552KG. I see alot of driversgroups tips but it is always HP and Dell examples..

tmintner - March 12, 2010

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