Better Driver Downloads

Recently I ran into an issue that I've run into before, but it's one of those things you forget about when you're not dealing with it all the time.

I purchased a new laptop (HP dv9000t) a few weeks ago, and had to update some of the drivers. I went to HP's web site, and found the page for my system. Their site is well organized, and it's pretty easy to find what you're looking for.

Once the files are downloaded, however, this ease-of-use evaporates. The files have names like sp12345.exe and sp67890.exe, which give you no clues about what each file contains. This might not be a big deal when you only need 1 file, but if you download a bunch of them, it's impossible to tell which file contains what driver.

This practice makes it difficult to ensure you have all of the latest drivers, especially if you're a System Administrator. It's always good to keep a local copy of all drivers that your system uses, because you never know when you might need them (and the Internet might be down!).

This problem is not unique to HP. I've also run into this with Dell, and many other companies use a similar naming scheme. My guess is that there's a system these companies use to manage their files, and it seems that the internal workings of that system are leaking out into customer space.

What I would like to see from these companies are files with a naming convention that makes it easy to tell what's in the file, something as simple as Wireless network driver.exe, or even better, something with a model number and version, like Intel PROWireless 3945 (Version 1.2.3).exe. It would be a small change on their end, but would make the lives of SysAdmins and "Computer People" much easier.

I know it's small, but it's this type of small improvement that can move us towards computing systems that are less hassle, and ultimately reduce the amount of time needed to spend on administrative details.