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How to manage devices in Windows XP
Article ID: 283658 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q283658
This article describes how to use Device Manager to manage devices in Microsoft Windows XP.
Managing devices with Device ManagerDevice Manager provides a graphical view of the hardware that is installed on the computer, as well as the device drivers and resources associated with that hardware. Using Device Manager provides a central point to change the way the hardware is configured and interacts with the computer's microprocessor.
Using Device Manager to manage devices and their drivers require the following permissions, all of which are granted to Administrators:
To access Device Manager, use any of the following methods:
Viewing information about a device driverTo get information about the driver for a device, perform the following steps:
To view information about the device driverThis information helps determine the file version of the device driver. An icon appears next to device drivers that are digitally signed.
Windows device drivers and operating system files have been digitally signed by Microsoft to ensure their quality. A Microsoft digital signature is an assurance that a particular file is from that manufacturer, and that the file has not been altered or overwritten by another program's installation process.
Depending on how your computer is configured, Windows either ignores device drivers that are not digitally signed, displays a warning when it detects device drivers that are not digitally signed (the default behavior), or prevents you from installing device drivers without digital signatures.
Views and characteristicsThe views and their characteristics are available in the following options with descriptions:
Updating or changing a device driverEnsure the latest device driver for each of the devices is loaded in Windows XP. Manufacturers frequently update their drivers to fix problems and take advantage of operating system features. These drivers are usually available from the manufacturer's Web site, and Microsoft also maintains driver files for many devices on its Web sites.
Upon downloading drivers, read the manufacturer's instructions before attempting to use the files to update the device. Often, downloaded driver files are compressed into a self-executing file that needs to be extracted in order to use the driver. In the Hardware Update Wizard, click to select the Have Disk option, then click the Browse button to locate the driver files.
How to install a new driver from Device Manager
Rolling back to a previous version of a driverUse this feature if you encounter problems after you install a driver, such as error messages when you access the device, faulty behavior of the device, or even the inability to start Windows.
Windows XP provides this roll back to a previous, working, device driver:
TroubleshootingIf the status is Disabled, that is usually the result of user action, and does not necessarily mean that the device has a problem. However, sometimes users disable a device because it was causing a problem, and you should try enabling it to see if it impacts another device negatively.
If the device is experiencing a problem, the Device Status box displays the type of problem. You may see a problem code, or number (or both) and a suggested solution. If you call a support line, this number can be useful for determining and diagnosing the problem.
Troubleshooting a device requires steps specific to that device. If the Device Status box displays a problem, click Troubleshoot to launch the Windows XP troubleshooter for this device type. Supply information and answer questions as prompted.
If you cannot resolve the problem with the troubleshooter, contact the manufacturer.
For help with device problems in Windows Vista, visit the following Microsoft web page:
Fix problems in which devices do not work or are not detected in Windows
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244601/ )How to troubleshoot unknown devices that are listed in Device Manager in Windows 2000
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/125174/ )Explanation of error codes generated by Device Manager
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/133240/ )Troubleshooting device conflicts with Device Manager
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/304514/ )How to configure Device Manager to display detailed information
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310126/ )Troubleshooting device conflicts with Device Manager