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Archive for January, 2014

Three Ways To Connect Your Creative MP3 Player To Your System

January 13th, 2014 No comments

Although there are dozens of brands producing quality entertainment devices like MP3 players, Creative Labs stands out from other makers by offering such a wide range of quality devices. Many of their products are over a decade old and still in use. If you have chosen one of their popular models like the Zen, MuVo, or Nomad devices, you may need to find compatible Windows XP drivers to help your device connect with your computer. If you can’t find the drivers you need, it becomes impossible to upload new music files or play lists from your collection. With internet access, all you need to do is a little searching to find just what you need.

The Challenges Of The Driver Search

Finding drivers that work with the XP operating system can be a little tricky in 2014. The OS is well over a decade old, so Microsoft itself has set a date for ending support. Creative Labs has only limited support for their devices and these less used systems. You will have the best chance of locating appropriate driver files if you are working with a device manufactured in 2012 or earlier. The very newest models likely only come with files for Vista and above. Any simple flash drive based USB players from the brand should work with XP computers by utilizing generic plug and play code.

Don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts don’t turn up the driver files you need. It can take a little perseverance to connect with what you need to get started using your MP3 player.

Searching The Site

Start your quest for Creative drivers at the company’s website. Creative Labs USA is where most XP users will want to go, but worldwide support is also available. Select the Support tab when you load the homepage to begin combing through the options. You will need to examine your device and identify it manually to get the right drivers with just one search.

  • Examine the front of the case for the name of the make and model of the device. Nearly all players have the information right on the front, such as the Zen line.
  • Flip the device over and check the bottom of the back of the case. You should see a range of icons and notes, in addition to the alphanumerical model number. Copy down the model number and enter it into the search box on Creative’s website.

Once you know what device you are working with, check out the support page that pops up. There should be multiple options listed. Look for files listed as compatible with Windows XP, which will likely come in the form of an automatic installing .EXE file.

Creative’s Software AutoUpdate

Model numbers and names can wear away, leaving you confused to the origin or exact identity of your device. You aren’t without options if this is the issue, and Creative has a tool to help users having a hard time looking for the right drivers. This software is easy to use, but it doesn’t always work. Back up your attempts with the Software AutoUpdate program with double checking to make sure it was correct.

  • Download the Creative Software AutoUpdate from the Support website. It is linked on the page of every MP3 player, so you can simply select any one of them to find it.
  • Install the software by double clicking on the downloaded installer. Once it is running, connect your MP3 player with a USB cord. Cancel any automatic pop ups from Windows, then let the software scan the device to identify it.
  • Follow the on-screen prompts to download and install the recommended drivers.

Be prepared to remove the drivers and manually install a different set if the program is wrong. You should restart your system after the installation and give the MP3 player a chance to try and connect before ruling out any specific diagnosis. You may need to run the software two or more times if you seem to be having trouble getting a correct match.

Automatic Driver Scanners

You can also use a full range driver program to find and fix missing files for Creative devices. This is usually the best option if the website no longer lists XP drivers for your favorite player. If you choose a trustworthy tool, you can quickly scan your system and download the necessary files without all of the work. You may even gain access to less common drivers that are no longer available anywhere else. Legacy files are usually included in these kinds of collections. The XP Drivers tool supports a wide range of music players, including products from Creative Labs. This option is best for beginners uncomfortable with changing their driver files themselves.

Don’t Forget The Firmware

While your computer needs driver files to communicate with the player, the device itself also features software to manage and play the music files loaded on it. This is known as firmware. It needs updating just as much as the drivers do if you want reliable service on your daily commute or run. Creative will post firmware updates on the support pages along with driver files, so check out what is available. These files aren’t limited to specific operating systems but rather device versions, so check model numbers before attempting an installation. Your device will need to be connected and working smoothly with your computer prior to firmware updates. When both firmware and drivers are available, update them together to make sure all bugs and incompatibility issues are ruled out.

Categories: XP Drivers Tags:

Can XP Drivers Work On Vista?

January 9th, 2014 No comments

Driver files are highly specialized, with plenty of coding going in to each distinct version of a particular file. If you could open the drivers and examine them, you would find great differences in the files needed to make one device work with a Windows XP system and a MacBook Pro. While this does make it a little harder to get devices working when you can’t seem to locate a matching driver file, it is necessary to prevent a lot of communication errors between a printer or MP3 player and the computer.

The Trouble With Generic Drivers

There have been many attempts to create generic driver files over the years that have backfired or mostly failed. Since the various operating systems are so different in how they operate, it is hard to design a set of instructions that work on all of them. Executing an action on Windows XP requires different code than it would on Windows Vista. This means that a driver written for XP will do nothing on Vista – or possible create havoc by executing inappropriate actions when triggered by the device. Installing the wrong drivers can send the system into a complete reboot loop. Many users attempt to force trustworthy XP drivers to install through the Device Manager. The computer may warn you about the practice or complete it without complaint. If you aren’t sure that a file is designed for the version of Windows you’re using, get a fresh download rather than attempting to install it manually.

Generic Exceptions

This rule about driver complications is mainly true for complex devices like printers, MP3 players, scanners, external hard drivers, and similar accessories. Very simple items, including USB flash drivers and basic keyboards, communicate with all Windows operating systems just fine. These items are covered by generic drivers. You can tell if a certain accessory falls into the umbrella of generic coverage by looking for the Plug and Play designation on the packaging. Devices with this capability tend to work just fine with both XP and Vista without any concerns about downloading and installing new drivers. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find devices more complicated than basic input or storage tools that can just start working with the computer without the download and installation of drivers.

Upgrading Your Operating System

Many people face a driver conundrum for the first time when they want to upgrade a computer with Windows XP to Vista or an even newer OS. Digging out the recovery or installation discs that came with the system will only provide you with a set of XP drivers if that is what was originally installed. Even if the system had an option to order with Vista pre-installed, the manufacturer was only allowed to send you discs for the OS you picked. Unless the system had a dual installation of the newer system, don’t expect recovery discs to be much help during an upgrade. You are going to have to go on the hunt for Vista appropriate drivers rather than relying on XP files.

The Generation Gap

It is perfectly possible for a computer running Windows XP to be incompatible for an upgrade despite being powerful enough to support it. Even if the processor and memory is sufficient, some older systems and components just don’t have support anymore. Check that the manufacturers decided to make Vista drivers for the computer and hardware you are trying to use. If they didn’t, there may be no safe and reliable way to force the newer operating system to work with the hardware. There is a generation gap between the two systems of quite a few years, so only expect the last few computers that shipped with XP to feature drivers and other forms of support for newer options.

Six Steps To Finding Vista Drivers

Always start by double checking that your computer can handle the higher demands of the newer operating system. Once you are sure it’s worth undertaking, you need to make a few preparations before popping the OS installation disc into the drive.

  1. Find a reliable driver program and save it. Look for a major installer that includes libraries for both XP and Vista drivers. If you run this program shortly after the fresh copy of Vista is in place, most to all of your drivers should be installed automatically.
  2. Make a list of all of the components inside the computer. You will likely need to hunt down drivers for each wireless card and graphics card separately, so use the Device Manager to examine what’s installed before attempting to make a switch.
  3. Check the manufacturer’s website for the computer and see if Vista drivers are available. If there are missing support files, head to the websites for the makers of each component. Use the exact model numbers reported by the Device Manager to make sure you are getting the right files.
  4. Don’t forget about 32 vs 64 bit system requirements. If you use 64 bit drivers for your XP installation, the same will be needed once Vista is the dominant OS.
  5. Load all of the drivers onto USB flash drives or burn them onto CDs. USB devices tend to be the best choice because the generic drivers that come along with the new version of the OS should mean that support is available after the initial Vista boot.
  6. Be prepared to roll back to your previous version of the system if there are unexpected incompatibilities. Having a second computer for driver and system file troubleshooting online is best when doing this kind of work. There can be issues with the installation itself, even if you have all of the right drivers and other files on hand.
Categories: Backup, Driver Tools, FAQs Tags:

When Should I Remove Drivers From My Computer?

January 3rd, 2014 No comments

Since drivers are such crucial system files, it is best to handle them very carefully. Overzealous removal of files that seem unneeded or outdated could cripple your system and leave your hardware on the fritz. Most users should leave their drivers alone, but problems popping up may require you to do a little selective trimming of the archives. It takes a few steps to fully remove driver files. However, virus infections and incompatibilities often call for the deletion of device drivers before brand new copies can be installed. Learning when and how to remove driver files is important if you don’t have a computer service department to fall back on for repairs.

Arguments Against Removal

It is a good practice to uninstall software and games when you’re done with them to keep your hard drive from getting cluttered. However, driver files are small and won’t take up significant room. There are far more benefits to keeping older version of drivers around than there are risks associated with them. If you keep your files, you can:

  • Easily rollback to a previous working version when an update causes all sorts of issues. Many new releases come with unexpected bugs, so rollback is one of the most powerful driver tools you can use on Windows XP.
  • Use System Recovery to reset your entire computer back to a point before a virus or bug took hold. If the drivers have been deleted since the last good working point, recovery will likely fail in at least one way.
  • Keep generic drivers from being installed for hardware you use every day. Removing a driver still in use often triggers an automatic installation that leaves you with limited to no use of the equipment.
  • Registry files are left behind after many types of incomplete driver uninstalling processes. Leaving these listings could mean that new items are incorrectly recognized as the old equipment. New sound cards or printers with no response are often linked to driver confusions.

Corruption And Malware

One situation that calls for uninstalling the older set of drivers is when malware or viruses strike. Many high level viral threats attack the system files to make it much harder for you to remove the infection. Being forced to delete your graphics card driver may cause the system to act up, but it could be your only option for eliminating the threat. Your anti virus software may ask to quarantine the file before deleting it, which will require a reboot. Make sure you follow the uninstallation process after quarantine, then clear the system with your anti virus program, before you attempt to install a new copy.

Driver Errors

You may also need to initiate a full removal of scanner drivers or similar files if you find that error codes keep popping up every time you start your computer. This is often the only indication that you are dealing with file problems at all. Keep an eye out for:

  • Code 18 – The driver is in need of reinstallation before the device can work properly again.
  • Code 38 – There are issues loading the driver files because existing instances are already open.
  • Code 45 – The hardware is not connected.
  • Code 49 – Too many devices have been installed into the registry. This is the code most linked to the need for immediate deletion of old and unneeded drivers.

New Equipment

When you want to replace a stock piece of hardware or an outdated accessory, you may need to completely remove old drivers along with the unwanted equipment. Leaving files in place often means a new video card or sound card is simply recognized as the previous version. This prevents the hardware manager from following the process for adding the right driver files for your upgrade. Again, deleting the physical drivers won’t take away the corresponding registry listings, so follow a full uninstallation if your new equipment recommends it. It’s smart to follow the process even if it isn’t recommended when installing anything attaching to the motherboard.

It is also recommended that you prune out some outdated drivers if you reconfigure your hardware and remove things that aren’t replaced. Leaving too many drivers behind will use up precious system resources and slow down the start up process. Each driver file has to be loaded during the boot phase, so excess listings can lead to slightly slower loads. This is barely noticeable on a modern system, but an older XP computer with limited memory and processing power could struggle greatly if it gets too bogged down. You may find a streamlined start after a careful survey of driver files that are no longer needed.

How To Remove Drivers In Full

A quick process is all it takes to remove driver files and the registry listings associated with them. You won’t be able to see the files for missing or disconnected hardware unless you take the right steps to unlock them says Tech Republic.

  1. Open your Start Menu by clicking the circular icon in the left hand lower corner.
  2. Select the Run option near the bottom.
  3. Enter the word “cmd”, without the quotes, into the Run box that appears. Use lower cased letters.
  4. When the Command Prompt window opens, type in “set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1” without the quotes. Press enter after to execute the command. Nothing will appear to happen, but the setting will change as soon as you see the blinking cursor move to the next line.
  5. On the next line, enter “devmgmt.msc” with no quotes. Again, press enter. At this point you will see the Device Manager opening – without you having to go through the Start Menu again.
  6. Open the View menu at the top of the Manager screen. Click on the Show Hidden Devices option.
  7. Check the updated listing on the screen. You should see any inactive or unused drivers as grayed out icons and text. Double check every device and listing before making any changes. When you find something you can verify needs removal, right click and select Uninstall to complete the process.