But clean install of Windows 7 or 8 + ninite.com. Windows generally has the drivers you need out of box, or at least the NIC / wireless driver so Windows update can find the rest for you, automatically. I can't remember the last time I had to manually get a driver for something, with the single exception of a USB to serial adapter I need for work.
A lot of laptops are different. The Lenovo T520 I'm using right now has an ethernet chip that the OEM version of Windows 7 couldn't figure out, and I had to track what the chip was before I could get on the internet.
So it isn't all roses in the Windows world with drivers. At least there was a driver, though.