Where’s the extra driver info on Windows Update?

During the beta cycle for Windows 7, I noticed an interesting detail in Windows Update. If you’re offered a new driver file via Windows Update (or if you’re looking at the history of previously installed updates), there’s a link that offers to provide additional information about the driver. Here’s a recent example from an HP Pavilion Elite system:


The Winqual subdomain points to Microsoft’s Windows Quality Online Services site. The driver ID at the end of the URL is, presumably, a unique identifier tied to that driver. (I checked some other drivers, and they have different ID numbers.)

When I clicked this particular link, I expected to find information specific to the listed update: version number, a description of compatibility issues, a list of fixes, and so on.

Instead, I was redirected to a generic information page containing links to articles about how drivers work.

This is the exact behavior I saw during the beta cycle and after RTM. I expected the links to begin pointing to driver-specific information after Windows 7 was officially launched last month, but there’s still no live connection to the Winqual database.

A quick scan of Microsoft message boards reveals that I’m not alone in being confused and frustrated by these links that promise but don’t deliver.

Microsoft, what’s the story?

4 thoughts on “Where’s the extra driver info on Windows Update?

  1. But, it shouldn’t take you to a generic page. It should tell you WHY that particular driver is needed and any information pertaining to it.

  2. First of all, Ed, you are my hero. Thanks for your website, articles on ZDnet and the old stuff on TechRepublic. You are the main reason that ZDNet became regular reading for me.

    I don’t often feel the urge to leave comments, but this time I do. Microsoft driver updates are UNreliable. That’s not an adjective a company wants to be labeled with. Their not providing version number or driver date is shoddy. This was especially troublesome in the early days of Vista when Vista and its device drivers were like blind/deaf/mute/noseless mice trying to locate their mother. What happened with me was that Windows Update downloaded a NVidia graphics driver that rolled back my newer driver that I had downloaded directly from NVidia. Normally, I would have ignored that update, but at that time I knew something was amiss, because I was occasionally getting pitched black screens. I couldn’t tell what NVidia driver Windows Update was downloading and installing until it was all done. Windows Update rolled back my NVidia graphics driver from September to July 2007. I ended up going back to the NVidia website to get the latest driver at that time which was November 2007. You’d think that in November 2007, Windows Update would have given my computer the November 2007 driver.

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