Mysterious Dell Latitude E6400 ‘Unknown Device’

On a recent Windows 7 deployment project, I was working on integrating the device drivers for a Dell Latitude E6400 laptop and came across the dreaded ‘unknown device’. First, let me take a step back and explain the approach I use when it comes to managing device drivers. I usually try to keep driver packages to a minimum since I typically work with customers that have locations spread all over the place, connected by very slow links and no local distribution points (think Nomad).

One of the first things I do when working on the drivers for a new hardware model is apply the base Windows 7 image without any extra drivers. This allows me to keep the driver package as small as possible by using the Microsoft drivers that are included with Windows 7 when possible. I usually make an exception for certain drivers – network drivers being one of them, where I use the drivers provided by the OEM (in this case, Dell).

After applying my base Windows 7 image, I see two device bangs – one for Broadcom USH and the other for the ‘Unknown device’:

Device Manager

Now usually identifying devices on Dell systems is pretty easy since they are pretty good about their driver downloads on their support site. However, every now and then there may be a driver that you need that is buried in one of the Rxxxxx packs and filed under a category that you would not guess in a million years. One method of locating the driver is to download the driver CAB file (look under the Systems Management section), expand the CAB file and let plug and play figure it out.

This method works just fine for the Broadcom USH device shown above and will work with ‘most’ other devices that show up with missing drivers. The exception in this case is the ‘Unknown device’. The reason for this is because the driver for this device is not included in the CAB file. Part of the reason is that Dell does not have a Windows 7 driver for this device (USB\VID_413C&PID_8149&REV_0100). However, if you look under the Windows Vista device drivers under the Network section, you will see a device listed called Wireless 410 UWB – that is the driver that you want to download and use. Once the device driver is loaded, you will see it identified as Dell Wireless 410 Wireless USB Device and Dell Wireless 410 Wireless USB Host Wire Adapter.

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