I installed my old Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 on our new laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium with no trouble at all. All I had to do was connect it to the laptop & turn the laptop on. It first identified the new USB device, then indicated it was installing appropriate drivers (from the harddrive or from the Web, I don't know which). A small window announcing that the drivers had been successfully installed then popped up. (The "In Process" window failed to close by itself - I had to hit the "Close" button myself.) I then went to the Control Panel & looked at (I think!) "USB Devices", & Lo & Behold, there it was! "Sidewinder Force Feedback 2". I was even able to get into a calibration window that allowed me to verify the buttons, Z-Axis control, Paddle control, etc., all courtesy of Windows 7. I then started Jane's World War II Fighters (an 11-year old video game which I had installed the day before) & used the Sidewinder to play the game. Shoot, it even provided force feedback during the game!
Upshot: You shouldn't need to install any drivers for the joystick - Windows 7 knows!
I'm AMAZED... I was certain that neither the joystick nor the game would be usable, given that they both came into my life in my Windows 98 salad days. So far, Windows 7 has astounded me with its tolerance for ancient software & devices, of which I have much & many.
Actually, I need to update the previous report. When I went to the Control Panel, I accessed "View devices and printers". In the window that popped open, "SideWinder Force Feedback 2 Joystick" appeared. To access the calibration functions provided by Windows 7, right-click the icon & select "Game controller settings". In the sub-window that opens, select "Advanced". The only joystick function missing from the subwindow (it has "Settings" & "Test" tabs) is the force feedback. Unlike the old Windows 98 drivers that came with the joystick, there's no way make the stick shake or buzz through this window (though the force feedback works when I play "Jane's World War II Fighters").