Missing Motherboard Drivers
If the central processing unit of a computer is its brain, then what is referred to as the motherboard must be its body. By itself, it can do little more than power on and self test; the motherboard itself has a small amount of storage which contains something called the BIOS. BIOS is an acronym which stands for Basic In Out System, and it is an extremely simple software environment whose functions are essentially limited to recognizing hardware components and adjusting base system settings such as the internal clock and device boot order. It also contains the code necessary for recognizing different hardware that is supported by the particular motherboard, sort of like base-level, preinstalled drivers.
It is important to realize that not only does a motherboard facilitate the acceptance of various components or modules, but it always provides some functions of its own as well. Some of the most common devices are already built in on nearly every motherboard produced. For example, while it is true that you can purchase and install a "card" or module for USB port availability or ethernet access, so many people use these that they will often come soldered on to the motherboard and are irremovable. When one installs an operating system like one of the many configurations of Windows, its built in drivers will be able to recognize your motherboard's basic configuration in that all of the most important devices plugged into it will be functional. This allows the user to get a base environment up and running, making the hardware useful enough that more advanced configuration can take place. In other words, if your on-board video isn't working at all and you're staring at a blank screen, it's not possible to navigate to the web site needed to install the correct drivers. Your display will probably be running at a very low resolution and without hardware acceleration before driver installation, but it will be enough for you to see what you're doing.
When a user first installs Windows, it is important to navigate to the "device manager" utility on their computer. While it can be accessed a number of different ways, the easiest way is to right click on the "My Computer" entry on the desktop or in the "Start" menu; this will display a list of selections that can be made, and the one we're looking for is properties. Once that has been selected a new window will appear which displays system information and you will notice multiple tabs at the top. Locate the "Hardware" tab and select it. In this section will be a button near the bottom entitled "Device Manager." This is what we're after. Once in the device manager, a list of every component on your computer will be viewable. Even if a device is not fully recognized, it will show up in some form or another. The section under which an unknown device is listed can give you clues as to what it might be, as an internal USB hub would show up under Universal Serial Bus Controllers, and so on. If you are missing the motherboard drivers that came with the documentation on CD, you will likely have a significant number of unknowns on your list.
Luckily, missing motherboard drivers can be easily installed from online sources, namely the manufacturer's website. Find out the model and brand of motherboard you have and navigate to the official brand website. The goal from here is to find the correct drivers for all of the unknown devices. To make the process more streamlined, there is usually an executable installation file available which contains every single driver for your model rolled up into one neat package. If not, all of the individual drivers will certainly be listed and can be downloaded and installed individually. Usually Windows will ask you after each individual installation if you want to restart your computer so that the changes will take effect; I recommend installing all of them in one shot after they have been downloaded to a single location on your hard drive. Once they are all installed you can reboot and each change will take effect simultaneously. This will save a significant amount of time, making the process less cumbersome.