About 3 weeks ago the PC I use for testing software and operating systems, most of which ends up as articles on my web site failed. After finding a replacement PC, I performed a “Clean Install” of both Windows XP and Windows 7, each on its own separate hard drive, with only one hard drive connected at a time.
Windows XP: The XP install found some drivers during or after the install completed and the PC rebooted. But an exceptional large number of devices where not found. So I installed the motherboard chipset drivers, the network chip drivers, sound chip, WIFI drivers and so on, which I had previously downloaded from the motherboard and video card manufacturer’s web site. There were so many device drivers to install its like being on the highway in rush hour traffic. Some devices just showed up as “Unknown” and I had to do a little more effort to identify these devices. A couple of hours of off and on effort and I was finally finished.
Windows 7: Windows 7 on the other hand correctly identified all but one device and the entire effort was completed in the time it took to perform the clean install, reboot and let Windows discover each device and install the drivers.
For reference purposes the motherboard is an ASUS P5W DH Deluxe. This motherboard was first released on or about June 2006, which was just about 5 months before Vista’s RTM date.
Conclusion: For a Beta version, Windows 7 does a great job of finding and installing the correct drivers for your motherboard with little or no effort on your part. This means that a lot of older motherboards may work just fine even if the manufacture does not provide specific drivers for 7 on their web site.