What display driver do I need for my Dell laptop?
Dave, I have recently had to completely restore the operating system on my sister's Dell Inspiron 2600. Since doing this the resolution has reduced back to 860, and cannto be changed. How do I know what driver to reinstall, (if this is what to do)?
With many major manufacturers, identifying the correct device or display driver can be a relatively easy task ... if you're lucky. Dell, like many manufacturers, stymie this, though, because they make the same "badged" model with entirely different components inside, making it hard to know exactly what driver you need without knowing about the internal components of your specific system.
Today you can go to their website and get one model (say a 6000) with processors ranging from a Celeron to various types of Centrino processors, as well as at least three different types of graphical configurations.
Now, with major manufacturers such as Dell, you can usually track exactly what is in your machine through the serial number, or something similar. Dell happens to use a unique number called the "Service Tag" which you can enter into their website so they can pull up your original hardware configuration. After a bit of menu-hunting, you can find exactly what pieces, including what graphical setup, is in your sister's laptop.
By the way, having a laptop makes the process of identifying the Service Tag number especially easy because these numbers are usually on the bottom of the case itself (and will be on your Dell). Desktops can take a lot more maneuvering to find numbers that are usually in a dark corner on the back of the machine.
Specific to Dell, many models at some points in time have been shipped with driver/software CDs that are separate from the actual Restore CD. Your driver may be here: ask your sister if she remembers getting a CDROM with her unit when shipped from Dell.
Finally, you can also download the latest drivers from the Dell website, which is often the best choice. In many instances across manufacturers, their own video (or modem, or audio) drivers may work better than the actual component manufacturer's drivers.
I hope that'll get your laptop up and running again with minimal fuss!
Thanks to Jeff Lawley and Ed Ellis for their usual excellent research assistance on this question.
More Useful Windows PC Help Articles:
✔ What's the easiest way to speed up my Windows PC laptop?
My Dell Windows 7 laptop is starting to drive me crazy. It's so darn slow! I've had it a few years and I...✔ Can I force a Windows 7 OS system update?
Every so often Windows 7 pops up a window and tells me that there are updates. That's nice, but how can I force...✔ Fix Google Drive (Gdrive) no longer supported (out of date)?
I'm a big Google fan and have been using Google Drive for quite a while as a cloud storage device. It's a breeze,...✔ How do I open or unpack a RAR archive on my Windows PC?
I have some ".rar" files on my Windows 8 PC and am curious how to unpack them to see what's inside. From a...✔ How can I shrink my Windows 8 Desktop file icons?
I've figured out most things in the new Windows 8 interface, except I can't see how to easily reduce or shrink the file...
Let's stay in touch!
Sign up for my weekly AskDaveTaylor Newsletter and you'll receive even more tech and gadget help right to your inbox, along with exclusive news and industry updates. It's good stuff. I promise!
I do have a comment, now that you mention it!
Check This Out Too...
Look for Answers
All Our Categories
Apple iPad Help
Articles and Reviews
Auctions and Online Shopping
Blogs and Blogging
Building Web Site Traffic
Business and Management
Computer and Internet Basics
d) None of the Above
Google Gmail Help
Google Plus Help
Industry News and Trade Shows
iPhone and Cell Phone Help
iPod, Sony PSP and MP3 Player Help
Kindle Fire Help
Mac OS X Help
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Shell Script Programming
Tech Support Video Help
The Writing Business
Twitter, LinkedIn and Social Network Help
Unix and Linux Help
Video Game Tips and Help
Windows PC Help
Find Me on Google+
ADT on G+