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How to Download Driver Files Without a Dedicated Internet Connection
January 24, 2011

A dedicated Internet connection is no longer required for browsing the Web in order to download hardware device drivers, with free wireless Internet locations nationwide. Several major retail chains now offer free wireless access (Wi-Fi) at thousands of locations, and most public libraries also have computers available for free public access to the web. Wi-Fi access requires a laptop with a working wireless adapter, while public library access requires an external storage device such as a USB thumb drive in order to download files.


Public Library Access

Step 1

Navigate to the desired website using one of the library's computer terminals.

Step 2

Locate the desired file.

Step 3

Insert the USB thumb drive into an available USB port on the computer. Seek assistance from library staff if the device does not automatically install.

Step 4

Click the link to download the file. Click "Save File" to save the file instead of running it. Watch for any informational bar at the top of the screen that may be preventing a file from downloading, and click the bar if it appears. The page may need to be reloaded.

Step 5

Select the USB thumb drive as the file location and press "OK" or "Save" to start the download.

Step 6

Click "Safely Remove Hardware" and then click the name of the USB thumb drive when the download has completed. Wait for the system to prompt that it is safe to remove the USB thumb drive, and then remove the drive from the computer and log out.


Free Public Wireless Access

Step 1

Click the "Wireless Network Connection" icon on the toolbar near the clock. It is the icon that appears as a series of signal bars similar to a cell phone signal indicator.

Step 2

Click the name of the wireless connection and check the box to allow the computer to connect automatically. Be sure to click the strongest available connection if several are available and be sure that the one clicked actually belongs to the establishment and not a private home or hacker. Ask staff to ensure the right connection is being used if unsure. Click "Connect."

Step 3

Click "Public Network" when prompted to enable the strongest protection available from hackers.

Step 4

Open a web browser and attempt to navigate to a website. Read and agree to the terms of the wireless access agreement page if one appears.

Step 5

Navigate to the desired page and download the driver file normally.



Most hotels and universities also provide free wireless Internet access with varying rules on public access. Many corporate networks require agreeing to their terms every time a computer connects to their network and they achieve this by automatically navigating users to a special page on their network prior to allowing full web access.



Always click "Public Network" when prompted for a new connection in a public place. Use caution when entering passwords or other personal information on public wireless connections as this information may be subject to interception by other users on the network. Connecting to private wireless networks without permission is illegal in most locations.


References & Resources

·         New York Public Library: Wireless Internet Access (Wi-Fi): http://www.nypl.org/help/computers-internet-and-wireless-access/wireless-internet-access

·         Starbucks: Wireless Internet: http://www.starbucks.com/coffeehouse/wireless-internet

·         McDonald’s: Free Wi-Fi @ McDonald’s: http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/services/free_wifi.html

·         Barnes & Noble: Complimentary Wi-Fi: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/Wi-fi-at-Barnes-and-Noble/379001240/

·         AT&T Wi-Fi Locations: http://attwifi.know-where.com/attwifi

·         Institute of Museum and Library Services: State Library Agency Trends: 1999-2008: http://www.imls.gov/pdf/Brief2010_02.pdf

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Norm is a 30-year veteran of the IT world and genuine computer guru, offering local businesses a single point of contact for all of their computer-related needs.  TQF.US is Dell Partner Direct authorized and offers professional sales, support and installation of products from Dell, Microsoft, Intel and other top brands.
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