I have a HP EliteBook 8440p (VQ668EA#AK8, i7-620M-processor 2,66 GHz 4 MB L3-cache, 4 GB RAM, un2420 Mobile Brodband module and 160 GB SSD disk) for the lab. As always, I formatted the drive and re-installed the OS. Then I needed some drivers, so I was looking at hp.com for drivers and software for the 8440p – 77 items (!). No way I’m installing all that crap. What do I really need of all this stuff? How much does it affect performance? I decided to find out…

Updated 25th Oct 2011: Did a review of the article when I re-installed the computer after updating BIOS to F.20 (released 6 Sep 2011) and IE9.

Updated 28th Feb 2011: Did a review of the article to reflect Windows 7 Service Pack 1. Differences from RTM is that you only have 3 instead of 4 unknown devices and you no longer need to install Intel Management Engine Components Driver and Interface do get rid of that unknown device.

I installed from a bootable USB-stick with Windows 7 x64 Enterprise with SP1 . After installation, Device Manager showed several unknown devices:

I ran Windows Experience Index test, I got:

  • Processor 6,9
  • Memory 5,9
  • Graphics 1,0
  • Gaming graphics 4,9
  • Primary hard disk 7,6
  • TOTAL 1,0

I had to install the driver for the Intel 82577LM and 82577LC Gigabit Ethernet Driver to get network to be able to run Windows Update a few times. This automatically installed drivers for some of the unknown devices. After the update:

There were some Optional updates in Windows Update but I decided not to install them:

The Windows Experience Index test after update:

  • Processor 6,9
  • Memory 5,9
  • Graphics 4,3
  • Gaming graphics 4,9
  • Primary hard disk 7,6
  • TOTAL 4,3

After installing all of the HP stuff below, the test went down to 3,9 – BAD!

I calculated the boot times using the following article (Windows Event Viewer -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Diagnostics-Performance -> Operational) before installing any HP software, after installing ALL HP software and then the boot time I ended up getting on my own setup when installing just a fraction of the HP software and drivers. See – expect half the boot time if you follow my guide.

Value Before HP
After HP
My setup
Boot Duration
27 seconds 64 seconds 29 seconds
MainPathBootTime 15 seconds 20 seconds 15 seconds
BootPostBootTime 12 seconds 43 seconds 14 seconds
  • Boot Duration = sum of MainPathBootTime and BootPostBootTime.
  • MainPathBootTime measures the time it takes for the system to load all drivers and services that are critical to user interaction and get to the Windows desktop where the user can begin doing things.
  • BootPostBootTime includes all the other drivers and processes that aren’t critical to user interaction and can be loaded with low-priority I/O that always gives preference to user-initiated actions that execute using Normal I/O priority.

Below you’ll find the stuff I decided to install in A-Z order:

  • Essential System Updates for Microsoft Windows 7 – says “fixes and enhancements are required to improve the performance”. For a full list what it actually does, see HP:s release notes what it actually does.
  • HP Notebook System BIOS Update – not really an install but an BIOS update.
  • IDT High-Definition (HD) Audio Driver – if you want to output the sound to external speakers – you’ll need this. Also heard that you need it for some models, otherwise the physical “mute” button doesn’t work properly. You also get utils to configure the sound (equalizer, headphones, speakers, digital audio).
  • Intel 82577LM and 82577LC Gigabit Ethernet Driver – Needed for NIC since it’s not available in Windows 7 by default.
  • Intel Chipset Installation Utility – I would suggest installing since it makes sure the following features work correctly: Core PCI and ISAPNP Services, PCIe Support, IDE/ATA33/ATA66/ATA100 Storage Support, SATA Storage Support, USB Support, Identification of Intel(R) Chipset Components in the Device Manage.
  • Qualcomm Mobile Broadband Drivers – Gobi2000 – driver for the un2420 3G/GPRS card and gets rid of another yellow warning sign in the Device Manager (HP un2420 Mobile Broadband Module).
  • Ricoh Media Card Reader Driver – Without this you won’t be able to use the SD card media reader. And it gets rid of another yellow warning in the Device Manager (Base System Device).

I had some “maybes” that you might want to install:

  • HP Business Card Reader Software – This is cool, but maybe useless to some of you. It enables you to scan business cards using the webcam (!) and then export it to Outlook, Salesforce, Excel, HTML and text.
  • HP Connection Manager – Windows 7 together with un2420 has built-in support for the 3G/mobile broandband module (however, not all broadband modules like the earlier un2400) so you really don’t need this manager. One feature however is the possibility to turn off only certain wireless componentes but leave other ones on. So you can leave WLAN on but turn off 3G.
  • HP Power Assistant – will give you some additional info on power consumption, how much it will cost you per day and detailed reports how many kWh you have consumed. Nice and environmentally friendly, but maybe nothing you need every day? I can’t really say, but maybe it adds some additional features and makes the power saving when running on battery more efficient?
  • Intel PRO/Wireless Drivers for Microsoft Windows 7 – It also adds some extra utilites to get more statistics and logs when it comes to WLAN but the actual WLAN works without it.
  • Software Support for HP Integrated Module with Bluetooth Wireless Technology for Microsoft Windows 7 – provides additional Bluetooth Profiles. What it did was to add two additional tabs in BT Settings: 1. Share, the possibility to share files, printers and modem.2. PIN Interface, the possibility to send and recieve business cards, calendar items, e-mail messages and notes. You could also turn off BT only.
  • Synaptics TouchPad Driver – if you want more than the default featues in Windows 7 like PalmCheck (prevent accident movement while typing), EdgeMotion, tap zones, double-tap, and tap-to-select and more. When installed, you’ll get an additional tab when configuring Mouse properties. Click the Settings button to get details of all the additional features.
  • Validity Fingerprint Sensor Driver – enables the fingerprint sensor and gets rid of another yellow warning sign in the Device Manager (Unknown Device) but if you’re not using it, I would suggest simply disabling it in BIOS.

The stuff I didn’t need. Sorry HP, if you find me a bith harsh – I’m sure there are scenarios where you need these stuff… For example, the HP ProtectTools is an enterprise product – not for me.

  • Broadcom Wireless LAN Driver for Microsoft Windows 7 – not for all 8440p models and not mine.
  • Broadcom Wireless LAN Extensions for Microsoft Windows 7 – not for all 8440p models and not mine.
  • Device Access Manager for HP ProtectTools – enable admins to control access to devices on the system.
  • Drive Encryption for HP ProtectTools – I’m running BitLocker.
  • Embedded Security for HP ProtectTools – Also adds Visual C++ Redistributable and enables the TPM chip.
  • File Sanitizer for HP ProtectTools – to securely remove files, history and data.
  • HP Advisor Software – “provides easy-to-use one-stop-access to software, services, solutions, and support from HP and its partners“. No thanks!
  • HP 3D DriveGuard – this is useful to “parking the heads” on the harddrive if the laptop notice a sudden drop. I have a SSD disk so I assume this is not needed since there are no “heads”.
  • HP BIOS Update (UEFI) – will create a new partition. I guess this is to make it possible to perform BIOS updates during boot without the need for Windows (?).
  • HP Client Automation Agent – an agent to connect to a HPCA server to enable collection of HW and SW inventory etc.
  • HP Power Data – installs a model-specific power consumption data catalog for use with HP Power Assistant. I couldn’t really see any difference in the Power Assistant, but if you installed that, you might install this too.
  • HP ProtectTools Security Manager – provides enhanced Windows login and website single-sign-on capabilities. Security Manager is also the host for HP ProtectTools Plugins, and therefore should be installed before installing other ProtectTools modules. It adds the security features like like replace the Windows Logon Security, ad drive encryption and pre-boot security.
  • HP Quick Launch Buttons – will enable special feature of the  “launch buttons” above the keyboard. By default, without this app, it seems that WLAN on/off, mute and volume works anyway (but it gives you some more notifications on screen except for the Windows 7 built-in) but if you want mail and browser button to work you need to install this apps.
  • HP QuickWeb Software – instant access to web browsing, without entering the primary operating system. Once installed, . Here’s a Youtube demo what it is.
  • HP QuickWeb Open Source Code – seems like the same as above but an open source version.
  • HP SoftPaq Download Manager – provides a simple, powerful way to download software updates. I prefer to do it manually.
  • HP Software Framework –  “The HP Software Framework provides a common set of software interfaces that centralize and simplify access to hardware, BIOS, and HP specific drivers that work with the Microsoft Windows Operating Systems“. No idea what it actually does so didn’t install it.
  • HP Support Assistant – “offers a single location for your computer support needs — enabling you to automate and schedule maintenance, troubleshoot issues, find information about your computer and related topics, and get assistance using self-help options or by contacting HP”. No thanks!
  • HP System Diagnostics (UEFI) – will add more choices when you press F2 System Diagnostics at BIOS boot. With this tool you get System Information, Start-Up Test, Run-In Test, Hard Disk Test, Memory Test, Battery Test, Error Log. This will actually add a 2 GB partition on your HD.
  • HP Universal Camera Driver – The webcam seems to work fine (in MSN anyway) without this driver (at least when you have run Windows Update) so why bother?
  • HP USB 2.0 Docking Station Drivers – If you have the USB docking station you would probably need to install the drivers.
  • HP Webcam Software – includes software to capture and save video and still-image using the webcam. It seems like it’s an app from Roxio.
  • HP Wireless Assistant“reports the power state and Microsoft Windows Device Manager status of integrated wireless devices, alerts the user when the status of a device changes, and enables the user to turn integrated wireless devices on and off”. If you feel the built-in tools in Windows 7 is enough you probably don’t need this.
  • Intel High-Definition (HD) Graphics Driver with Turbo Boost Technology – During installation, it complains that there’s already a newer version installed. Driver version before installation was and one installed was So I assume the version included with Windows 7 is newer but might be different in the future.
  • Intel Management Engine Components Driver and Interface – Will install Intel Management Engine Interface and Security Status, Serial Over LAN, Local Management Service, User Notification Service. What it really adds for me? No idea, but it adds an annoying app in the activity field that seems to be for management purposes. But one thing it does is removing 2 of the warning signs in Device Manager (PCI Serial Port and PCI Simple Communications Controller) – for me that’s enough.
  • Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver is designed to provide functionality for the Intel Storage Controllers. It provides improved Serial ATA (SATA) disk performance with Native Command Queuing. However, it didn’t make any difference in Windows Experience nor ATTO Disk Benchmark. The write/read was still 102/195 MB/s at 16 KB and 110/210 MB/s at 8192 KB and HD Tune still showed an average of 182 MB/s and 0.1 ms.
  • Intel PROSet Extensions for Microsoft Windows – includes wireless LAN extensions that add support for Cisco Compatible Extensions and some Intel WiFi stuff. No idea, but so far, I haven’t needed it.
  • Intervideo WinDVD 8 Blu-ray Disc (BD) Upgrade – update for the InterVideo WinDVD software. I don’t use it so didn’t install it.
  • Java Card Security for HP ProtectTools – “is a security layer, based on Java card technology, that protects access to your computer and your data” it says at hp.com. I’m not sure what it actually does, but it seems to has something with if you’re using the smart card reader.
  • Language Locale ID Fix for Microsoft Windows 7 – Don’t really know what this does so decided not to use it.
  • LightScribe System Software – enables users to create silk-screen quality labels on CDs or DVDs by burning text and graphics directly onto specially coated discs, eliminating the need for adhesive labels. This software must be used with a Lightscribe enabled drive and discs, but it seems like you need some additional software to be able to actually print?
  • LoJack Pro for HP ProtectTools“provides secure asset tracking, remote data protection, and computer theft recovery”. I’m sure it’s excellent for those running HP ProtectTools.
  • LSI High-Definition Audio (HDA) Modem Driver for Microsoft Windows – The LSI modem is correctly installed in Device Manager even before installing this so probably not needed?
  • McAfee Total Protection – IF you would use McAfee, I guess you could install this package. But I don’t use it, so I didn’t install it. Also, it seems like a 60-day trial only.
  • NVIDIA Graphics Driver for Microsoft Windows 7 – I didn’t have this card in my machine (I had the Intel) so not needed. Make sure to check which graphics card you have in your model.
  • PDF Complete – is a PDF Reader from PDF Complete. An option if you don’t like Adobe.
  • Privacy Manager for HP ProtectTools – enables users to digitally sign and/or encrypt email, messages, and documents.
  • System Default Settings for Microsoft Windows 7 – enables users to restore the default Power Management Settings in the registry. Good if you have played around with the settings a lot and simply want the default back.

Hope you like my summary. Feel free to comment with your experiences with other vendors and their drivers.

System Default Settings for Microsoft Windows 7