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Why Won’t My Device Drivers Install?

February 17th, 2014 No comments

Developing your skills as a computer owner is the only way to ensure you can get through minor issues without having to hand your device to a repair technician. Polishing up your device driver management skills could leave you frustrated if all your attempts fail to install the proper files. Keeping your device drivers updated is crucial for system safety, so you will need to build these skills now rather than later. You only need to take a few troubleshooting steps to discover why you are experiencing the problem. Fixing driver issues can save you a lot of time and money over paying for repairs every time a device has a hard time connecting.

Mismatches and Mistakes

The majority of driver installation errors arise from simple mistakes, making them surprisingly easy to solve. All too many experienced computer users have clicked on the wrong link for a download and ended up with a file they didn’t want. Double checking that the file you received is the one you wanted in the first place only takes a moment and could save you a lot of hassle. Other issues arise when you download a driver designed for a different operating system or type of processor. Check all of the following points for compatibility when choosing your download:

  • Version of Windows – XP drivers rarely load at all when used on Vista or 8 computers
  • Type of processor – Check if your computer uses a 32-bit or 64-bit processor by visiting the System tab in the Control Panel
  • Driver version – Some driver versions only work with specific firmware upgrades available for the device
  • Latest updates – You need the best version of the driver file that works with your device to avoid bugs and glitches

Most third party websites fail to list all of the details for each driver they provide. Looking for a website specializing in Windows XP drivers or stick with the manufacturer’s websites to make sure you have the information you need to make the right decision.

No Connected Device

It may seem smart to try and install needed drivers before investing in a device or connecting it to your computer. However, this is a little more difficult than you might expect. It takes a little more work to start the installation process without triggering it by connecting your new webcam or printer. You must download an executable installer file in the form of .EXE or .MSI in order to even attempt it. With just a .DLL driver file, you must attach the device to install the appropriate driver. If the computer doesn’t recognize the device when you attach it, there may be an issue with the port or the hardware itself.

Lack of Administrator Privileges

The administrator account on a computer is often the only one authorized to make changes to the system files. This means that trying to install important drivers from a limited user account often backfires and leaves you unable to use your newest device. Log in to an account with administrator privileges before starting up any installer packages to give the program a chance to add files to the System folder and write registry changes. Computers with only one account tend to have administrator allowances already added to the login credentials, and you can change the privileges of your current account to give yourself the necessary access from the Control Panel.

Problem Solving: Safe Mode Installation

When driver installation fails, the process should reverse automatically and remove all of the files. This means you are ready to start a new installation when you locate a better match for your system or solve the problem preventing the process. Try starting the installation in Safe Mode to give it a better chance of working this time around.

  • Shut your computer down with the Start menu. Gather your driver installer files and place them on the Desktop before completing this step.
  • Start the system back up again with the power button. Press the F8 button at the top of your keyboard shortly after the boot screen appears, but before Windows itself loads and displays the colored flag. It may take you a few tries to get the timing right on this step.
  • Choose either Safe Mode with Networking or without, depending on your preferences. It is generally best to choose the network-free option if you are adding drivers for devices related to networking, such as wireless adapters and Ethernet ports.
  • Run your installer and complete the driver installation process. Shut down the computer again, then restart it without pressing F8 to boot into normal mode again.
  • Test your driver and device.

Problem Solving: Automatic Driver Scanners

You can also put an end to installation problems with Windows XP drivers by using the right kind of driver assistance software. While there are many programs that use a collection of files to match your device to the right one, not all of them can scan and detect what you have attached to the computer. Pick a driver installer package that scans and automatically picks drivers for you if you aren’t sure what is causing the installation issues with another file. Without this kind of support, you may end up dealing with an endless loop due to the same exact driver.

Categories: Driver FAQ, FAQs, Troubleshooting 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.

Ten Steps To Recovering An Older Gateway Computer

December 30th, 2013 No comments

An older Gateway computer makes for a fine gift to the local school, retirement home, or job center. You can also hand down unwanted systems to help younger relatives succeed in school. Recovering the system and restoring it to the factory settings ensures that none of your personal files or data is left on the hard drive while providing the new user with the best possible performance. The process is the same for both desktops and laptops from the manufacturer, and it is easy enough for beginners to complete.

1. Find The Model Number

Without the model number on hand, it’s a pain to try and figure out exactly what the system needs, especially if it isn’t responding at this point due to viruses or driver problems. Flip over any notebooks or laptops and check for a label on the bottom with a 10 or 12 digit number. Don’t be alarmed if there are letters mixed in to help distinguish your exact model. Desktop and tower units likely have a label on the back, but you may need to tip it over and look on the bottom.

2. Gateway System Recovery

Once you know your model from the number and a quick search on the Gateway support website, you can find out if your computer includes the Gateway System Recovery partition. This service was provided for all systems shipped after the end of 2004, so only the oldest systems should lack this kind of support. Each hard drive with this recovery option includes a hidden partition containing all of the drivers and operating system files, but you will need to burn them onto a CD or DVD in order to use them for re-installation.

3. Creating Or Ordering A Recovery Disc

If the system is working and accessible, you can create your own recovery discs to reset to the factory original settings. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start Menu icon.
  2. Navigate to the Programs tab, then select the System Recovery Access listing.
  3. Select the type of operating system, driver, or application restore disc you want to burn. Insert the appropriate media, then follow the disc creation steps on the screen.

You can also order driver recovery discs and supplies for reinstalling Windows XP from Gateway Support, but there are small fees and shipping costs associated with this option.

4. Using A Recovery Disc

Whether you make the disc yourself or find the original one shipped with the manual, you can use it to bring the system back to a fresh slate. Start by inserting the appropriate disc, then restart the system. These discs are designed to open when the computer boots so system files can be loaded. The boot screen should offer to open the disc and perform installation services. If it doesn’t, you can press F8 during the booting process to open the loading screen and choose the disc instead of the hard drive.

5. Operating System Installation

Installing a fresh copy of the Windows XP operating system wipes the hard drive, erasing the files that clutter the hard drive. This frees up space and can give plenty of storage for new material, but it also removes damaged and corrupted files to replace them with working copies. Take off anything you want to keep before beginning any driver or operating system recovery processes. Using these recovery discs leaves you with an older version of the XP kit, so run Windows Update as soon as possible after the computer starts once again.

6. Spot Missing Drivers

Once you’re working with a fresh copy of the OS, you can work to restore drivers and make sure you have them all. Open the Device Manager and check for the yellow warning icons that indicate problems. You can use the tools provided through the Device Manager to install files on your own, or try picking up a complete driver suite and get the best shot at solving all of the missing models at once. You may need to remove hardware and replace it if drivers can’t be found or if you suspect damage.

7. Reinstall Software

Computers that will be donated should be given away at this point, but owners that plan to keep and use older Gateway units can start reinstalling software now. Stick with browsers, word processors, and games that run on low resources if the computer is more than a few years old. You may find it quite bogged down and unable to smoothly complete tasks if you overload it with multitasking software and recent releases.

8. Upgrade The Memory

Nothing improves the performance of an aged Gateway computer like a RAM upgrade. Just a one GB upgrade is enough to make it easier for the processor to handle modern software. Find out what type of RAM you need by:

    • Checking the manual and documentation that came with your computer.
    • Searching with your model number on the Gateway website and noting the type of upgrades they recommend.
    • Visiting a memory manufacturer’s website, like Crucial.com, and using the automatic scanning programs provided to discover what you need to purchase.

9. Gateway Support

If something goes wrong, you may be able to look up the issue on Gateway Support. Older computers don’t qualify for free phone support, but customer service is available for various fees. Use the help center and the official forums to get help from experts to take care of your problems yourself and restore a computer that is far beyond the limits of its warranty.

10. Set Up Antivirus

Finally, protect your newly recovered computer with an appropriate antivirus program. When processing power and memory is limited, stick with simple programs designed to protect resources. You may find it hard to browse the web or work on tasks otherwise. Pick a suite offering spyware and malware protection as well so you don’t have to clutter up the space with multiple programs all running at once.

Categories: Driver FAQ, FAQs, XP Drivers Tags:

The Importance Of Official And Original Drivers

December 17th, 2013 No comments

With thousands of websites offering you seemingly endless ways to solve your driver problems, it can be tempting to just start downloading everything available. Unfortunately, many miraculous claims made by software makers are exaggerated. In the worst cases, supposed drivers turn out to act as little more than spyware that mines your personal data without your knowledge. Keeping your system safe and operating as it should be requires you to pick out the original and official drivers from the fake files and third party offerings. Separating the wheat from the chaff is the best way to keep viruses off of your home or work computer.

Software From The Manufacturer

 

The best source for drivers is nearly always the company that built the company or the piece of equipment. Turning to companies like Dell, Samsung, Sony, or AMD means that you are receiving the files originally intended to be distributed with the hardware. Seeking out software from the manufacturer has numerous benefits:

  • Gives you the best chance at getting updated versions of the drivers that solve important security hazards or glitches.
  • Prevents unwanted code from hijacking your system or damaging your driver files.
  • Offers a simple installation process because most manufacturers provide executable programs that guide you through the process.

Viruses And Spyware

There is another reason to stick to trustworthy sources when trying to replace drivers for common devices like scanners and printers. Some third party or fake files contain viruses or deliver spyware that compromise your safety. When you get a keylogger or hijacker file, it can take days or weeks of hard work to move it. The hidden files send your credit card numbers or other sensitive data to the thieves. You don’t want to deal with identify theft or fraud while trying to find an authentic version of your drivers to solve an error.

 

When To Turn To Third Parties

In some rare cases, you just can’t find a driver directly from the manufacturer. Companies go out of business each year, leaving you with no website to download drivers on. Many of the biggest producers also drop support for older devices usually found on Windows XP computers. If you have discovered that your manufacturer is no longer providing the files you need, you may be forced to turn to a third party to resolve your driver woes. This is only risky if you don’t stick to reliable third parties, like XPDrivers. Sources that report scanning from verifiers will help you avoid driver download websites that accidentally or purposefully spread malware and spyware.

 

How To Test The Safety Of Unknown Drivers

When you are pushed into choosing a driver file that comes from a third party, it is best to do a little testing and preparation before attempting to pick the right one. Installing some protection will ensure that your experiments don’t go awry if you accidentally download an infected one.

  1. Start with a good anti-virus program. You can find dozens of top rated options for free, including AVG, Avast, and Webroots. Install it before downloading a single driver file, even if you are using a trustworthy website.
  2. Run a complete virus and malware scan. There’s no point in trying to fix a driver problem when a piece of malware is running wild on your hard drive.
  3. Create a folder on your desktop and set it as your download folder for your browser. This process varies based on the anti-virus program you have chosen.
  4. Run a scan on all supposed driver files before executing them or unzipping archives. If the anti-virus or malware scanning software detects a problem, delete the file and look for an alternative.
  5. Install the drivers if there are no warning signs. Run the scan again after installation to make sure nothing slipped in with the other files.

The Power Of Collections

When trying to access original drivers that are no longer listed on the manufacturer’s website, it often helps to find complete collections of files for specific devices. A general mix of network drivers all packaged together in one set gives you a good shot at finding something that works. Stick to groupings of genuine content gleaned from the installation discs and websites rather than third party materials created later. You may gain access to rare or unusual files that would be impossible to find otherwise.

 

System Recovery Processes

There is one more simple trick for locating trusted drivers when the original maker is out of business. If you can find your original system discs or a system recovery CD created later, you may be able to restore the right files in just a few minutes. Using the XP System Restore process also helps. When driver files are removed or changed, the system can make a restore point prior to the event that allows you to rollback to a previous version later. Keeping System Restore enabled is the best way to reverse driver damage if you catch it as soon as it occurs. Follow these steps to check and see if you have this valuable service enabled.

  1. Open the Start Menu by clicking on its icon on your task bar. Look for the My Computer listing and right click on. Select and click on Properties.
  2. Select the System Restore tab. There will be two checkboxes – if they are checked, the automatic restore point process has been turned off. The boxes need to be clear to allow the establishments of regular check points.
  3. Click on OK after making any changes to commit them.

Look For Signing

Working with signed drivers is a good way to avoid fakes and forgeries. When you try to install a file or executable, Windows may warn you that the component is missing its signing. This should give you pause and redirect your plans to install the drivers. Signing allows the computer to tell when a file has been altered since its original authoring, according to Microsoft.

Categories: Backup, Driver FAQ, XP Drivers Tags:

Getting To Know The Device Manager

December 5th, 2013 No comments

Control The Device Manager

Taking charge of your computer requires you to get familiar with the tools provided by your system. Windows XP gives users a chance to manage their hardware and the driver files needed for it through the Device Manager. While this is far from the only tool used for driver troubleshooting, it is the most powerful one for basic tasks and beginners. Try finding the device manager and learning about it before you need to make a change to the system because of an error or an unresponsive device.

 

 

Accessing The Device Manager

Finding the program itself can require a few different methods. Use the one you are most comfortable with. If you have never used the Run function or the command line, start with the Start Menu route.

Start Menu Access

  1. Hit the Start Menu button found in the lower left corner. Once it is open, click the Control Panel listing and look for the System icon In the folder that opens.
  2. Select the Hardware tab at the top. You will see a button labeled Device Manager at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Click that button and you will be ready to explore the program.

Use The Desktop

  1. Try the desktop access option for a quick and reliable way to get into the Device Manager. Open the desktop and find the My Computer icon. All XP systems should feature this icon on the screen. Right-click on the icon and select the System options.
  2. Click on the Hardware tab, then click on the familiar Device Manager button at the bottom.

Run The Program

  1. Direct run commands will also work. Open the Start Menu through the colorful icon, then click on Run at the bottom.
  2. Type “devmgmt.msc” into the box that pops up. Click on the OK button and watch as the Manager window suddenly appears.

Discovering Driver Problems

It only takes a few clicks and a little looking to discover problems with outdated drivers or damaged files. Once the Device Manager is open, the program will scan your computer and its hardware. Any problems that are discovered will lead to a bright yellow caution icon next to any listings reporting problems. It could mean that the hardware itself is damaged, or that the files that help the devices communicate with the peripherals and other devices. You may need to expand the various categories listed for the equipment to see all of the errors listed.

 

How To Learn More About The Drivers You Are Using

Creating a more stable computer environment requires regular updates to your driver files. Checking the age and looking for updates is simple when you’re using the Device Manager. Double-clicking on any particular device listing brings up a menu that shows the age of each driver you have installed on the system. Any drivers that are older than a year or two likely needs an update if they are still available from the manufacturer. You can try the Update Drivers button to see if Microsoft Update has a file for you. However, don’t assume that you don’t need an update just because no drivers are automatically found. You still need to check with the company to make sure there aren’t any newer files.

 

Ten Times To Open The Device Manager

  1. Blue Screen – If your computer suddenly shuts down and displays a blue screen error, you may have a driver or system file problem. Check for errors and consider running a program to scan for hardware failures.
  2. Freezing – Missing files can lead to a lock up that requires restarting to solve.
  3. Adding Devices – After you add a new device to your Windows XP computer, you should double check that the installation proceeded properly before using it.
  4. Error Codes – Pop ups may warn you about Device Error 1, 19, 24, or 3. These common error codes mean that a visit to the Device Manager is in order.
  5. Game Issues – When your favorite games starts having graphics or sound problems, update your video card drivers immediately to see if that is a quick fix.
  6. Device Won’t Restart – Many computers go into sleep mode or hibernate when not in active use. Returning from this mode should restore access to your devices. When this fails to happen, you can adjust the settings in the Manager to put an end to this problem.
  7. Rolling Back – If a driver update starts causing problems, you can always roll back to a previous version with just a click of a button.
  8. Removing Drivers – In rare cases it is necessary to remove drivers manually through this System tool before you make a clean install of a new download.
  9. Disable It – Put an end to broken devices and the havoc they wreak on the system by disabling them in the Device window.
  10. Check System Performance – The Device Manager offers a lot more than just control over the drivers. Check out the other tabs to view how your hardware is affecting your system response and discover details about your computer.

Dangers of the Device Manager

This screen is quite powerful and full of tools, so don’t use it unless you are following trustworthy instructions. Users that don’t feel comfortable working with this screen can choose automated programs that scan for driver problems and install replacements. Avoid uninstalling drivers or components that you aren’t familiar with. Even if you think it’s safe to remove a listing because it’s outdated, you never know what the changes may affect with certain programs or devices. It is especially important to watch out in the other tabs of the Manager that can disable start up programs and certain system components.

 

A few minutes of scanning and examination can make you quite familiar with the Device Manager. Stick to how to instructions for dealing with specific issues and automatic scans until you know how to use each feature of the program. This tool is indispensable when a driver problem does start interrupting your ability to use your computer.

How To Fix Drivers That Must Be Installed Each Time You Start Up

December 2nd, 2013 No comments

Escaping Driver Errors

Few things are quite as frustrating as a device that is recognized as brand new each time you start your computer. This leads to a seemingly endless cycle that can really ruin your productivity. Putting an end to this repeating problem takes a few steps and some hard work, but you will finally be free of the annoying loop of Windows drivers forcing a fresh install with each boot. Take charge and solve repeating driver installation issues today with this handy guide.

 

Are Your Devices Working?

There are two distinct types of problems that lead to drivers being reinstalled constantly. Some computer users will find that their devices work just fine despite the pop up advising the installation of a device. Others discover unresponsive microphones or webcams and must go through the installation process easy time, making restarting a major chore. If the device doesn’t work even after proper driver installation, it’s likely a hardware issue that can’t be solved with registry edits or driver updates. Troubleshoot the device itself if possible by using it with another system to ensure you aren’t really dealing with a malfunctioning peripheral.

 

Start With A System Restore

For many users, a simple driver issue starts the loop. Try using the Windows XP System Restore option to reset your computer back to a point when everything was running smoothly. If you have had these points enabled, access the program using these steps and see if you can boot without being prompted for drivers.

 

  1. Log into an account with Administrator privileges. If you don’t have one, you can give an existing profile these rights through the Control Panel.
  2. Click on the Start Menu button, then hover over the All Programs title. Click on the Accessories folder, then System Tools and System Restore. This should bring up the System Restore menu.
  3. Click on the radio button next to the Restore option. Click on the Next button.
  4. Check the calendar for an automatic Restore Point from a time when you weren’t experiencing driver problems. Select a relevant date, then hit Next at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Restart your computer and see if the problem returns. If you don’t see a driver installation window and your devices work, you may be done.

 

Improper Installations

Many driver installation loops begin because you have accidentally installed a driver file incorrectly. This is easy to do, even if you are experienced with computer updates. Failing to restart after installation can lead to a file that is never properly registered. Glitches or unexpected shut down during driver installation also commonly causes an endless loop of notifications. Try uninstalling the existing driver that is causing problems and giving it a fresh install.

 

  1. Visit your desktop and right click on the My Computer icon found there. Select the System tab on the menu.
  2. Look for the Hardware tab at the top of the screen and click on it. Click the Device Manager found near the bottom.
  3. Pick through the various categories listed on the Manager to find the device or devices that are triggering a re-installation process. You may see them highlighted with a bright yellow icon, or they may be hidden because they aren’t active. You can highlight hidden drivers by clicking on View and selecting Show Hidden Devices.
  4. Double click on the listing for the device driver. Click on the Uninstall button and follow the menus that pop up to complete the process.
  5. Repeat these steps for any other devices causing the same problem.

After deleting the drivers, restart your computer. Have the driver files on hand to install as soon as the prompt appears when the system boots. A fresh install should solve the problem, but you have more options to remedy the loop if it returns once again after these attempts. Keep working on your system if you want to be rid of the New Hardware notification for good.

 

Automatic Options For Driver Problems

Finding the right driver for your Windows XP system can be challenging, especially since many companies have dropped regular support for older computers and devices. If you can’t seem to find a reliable or matching driver file, you can’t follow the fresh install process properly. You may need to turn to a respected source for automatic driver scanning and installation. The right program can speed up the troubleshooting process by providing rare or unusual driver files. Stick to trustworthy driver installation programs to ensure you don’t just compound your problems while trying to fix an annoying occurrence.

 

Incorrect Driver Versions

Some driver files just aren’t meant for all Windows XP versions. Installing a driver file meant for 64 bit systems won’t work very well if you have a 32 bit system. Match your driver downloads from the manufacturer’s website to your OS or you may accidentally start a file problem.

 

Complex Installation Steps

Video card drivers and other similar system files often need a complete installation package to properly register all of the related files. Skipping over the installer and using the files for manual use can cause all sorts of issues by interfering the hardware. If the manufacturer of your device offers an automatic installation program in the form of an .EXE file, use it before attempting to install any other drivers. This is especially important for devices and drivers from companies like AMD and NVIDIA.

 

Overclocking, hardware issues, and serious system flaws can all cause this problem as well. If you work through the above troubleshooting and repair steps and find the problem just won’t stop, you may need to start testing your hardware. A fresh install of Windows should resolve even the most stubborn problems linked to the system or software. Be sure to back up all of your files and programs before starting a clean install of Windows XP. Damage to the GPU or chip set errors will trigger driver installation processes no matter what you do, and these problems require professional repair.

Why Is My Laptop Battery Failing To Charge?

November 28th, 2013 No comments

You don’t have to take complex data analysis tasks out to a remote mountaintop just to enjoy the flexibility offered by a laptop. Working on the go and catching up on tasks while waiting in the airport or relaxing at home in bed can help you grow your business without staying chained to a desk. If your laptop battery is starting to act unusual or won’t seem to hold a charge at all, get to the bottom of the power leak before you invest in a brand new battery.

Five Common Causes Of Dead Batteries

Understanding how a laptop battery breaks down is essential to preventing it. Some of the most common causes include:

  1. AC Charger Damage – A frayed or broken charger cord can’t refill the battery or keep the laptop on when it is removed.
  2. Constant Overcharging – Due to the cycling method used on laptop batteries, leaving the device constantly connected to the wall can shorten the lifespan of the battery. Eventually the unit simply won’t hold a charge for more than a few minutes at a time.
  3. Overheating – Batteries tend to be sensitive to heat. If the power cells are overheating, the laptop may shut off sporadically and fail to hold a charge.
  4. Driver Problems – Nearly all Windows XP laptops from manufacturers like Dell and Gateway include built-in drivers for battery support. When accidents or viruses destroy the files, the battery can suddenly stop responding at all.
  5. Age – Laptop batteries just aren’t meant to last forever. The average unit is built for about 2 years of daily use, if proper charging and discharging practices are followed.

The Quick Reset

In many cases, your battery just need to be manually reset to start charging again. It can become physically detached or suffer from software disruption. Both issues have a chance of being resolved with this simple process.

  1. Turn the computer off. Disconnect the power cord from the laptop and from the wall.
  2. Close the laptop and flip it over gently. Locate your battery and look for tabs that slide to unlock the power unit. Open any locks and slide the battery out.
  3. Attach the power cord to the laptop and wall once again. Start the laptop up, then shut it down again through the operating system.
  4. Slide the battery back in, lock it in place, and start the laptop once more.

You should immediately see the battery indicator reappear and show the charging effect. However, this quick reset isn’t always effective. Move on to the driver troubleshooting steps if your battery isn’t being recognized or if is still fails to load.

Forced Reinstall of Drivers

This sounds like a drastic step, but it is quite simple. Microsoft continues the files needed to reinstall your battery drivers. To trigger this process:

  1. Open the Device Manager by clicking on the Start Menu and right clicking on the My Computer icon. Hitting Properties and then the Hardware tab will lead you to the Device Manager button at the bottom of the window.
  2. Click on the Batteries category to expand it. Look for the battery itself, which should be listed as a Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery. Right-click on it to uninstall the drivers. Don’t uninstall the files for any other listings found in the category.
  3. Follow the prompts to complete the process. Once the battery is no longer listed, right click anywhere on the Device Manager screen and select Scan for Hardware Changes. The computer will recognize the connected battery and reinstall the appropriate Windows XP drivers.

Recovering And Recuperation

The design of modern lithium ion batteries prevents them from being programmed. Other types of rechargeable batteries get stuck at certain charge points due to improper loading in the first days of use. However, this isn’t a problem with most modern computers. It is far more common that the battery’s internal components register the amount of charge incorrectly. This leads to a fully charged unit that reads as empty to the computer. In some cases, a full discharge is enough to reset the sensors and restore proper charging and reading once again.

  1. Start with a battery that is reading as full charged, or as close as you can come to it. This may only be a few percentage points. Disconnect the charger cord and let the laptop run, with screen saver and hibernate options disabled, until the laptop shuts down.
  2. Reconnect the charger and let the laptop charge for at least two full hours before turning the laptop back on.
  3. Check the battery for increased charging capacity.

You also try a battery calibration application. The manufacturer of your laptop may offer one, or you can take your chances with a third party program. Look for a piece of software that can diagnose charging issues and help you adjust them. There is no guarantee it will work with your specific battery, but it is well worth a try before you spend money on a replacement.

Installing the Drivers For A Replacement Battery

When you do make the decision to buy a new battery for your laptop, make sure that the driver files are installed the right way the first time. Find the CD or download link and retrieve your files, then follow these steps.

  1. Turn off the computer, remove the charger, and take out the old battery.
  2. Reattach the charger cord and turn the computer on. Insert the disc or navigate to the relevant download location and start the installation process.
  3. Follow the steps to complete the driver installation. Once the files are in place, shut the computer down once again.
  4. Add the new battery and insert it into the laptop. Start up the device and give it a chance to boot completely. Give the battery two to three hours to charge fully, then remove the charger to check that it is functioning properly.

Expect to replace your battery at least once every two the three years. While these replacements aren’t cheap, they are still less expensive than a brand new laptop.

Where Are Drivers Located On The Computer?

November 21st, 2013 No comments

For being such crucial system files, drivers are surprisingly fragile. Big communication processes for computer hardware is handled by small, easily deleted files that lie hidden within multiple locations on your hard drive. Even uninstalling the wrong listing from your Add and Remove Programs folder could trigger a whole chain of driver issues that are hard and time consuming to reverse. Learning about the common locations of drivers will help you avoid accidents, but it is also helpful to learn how to identify a driver file that might pop up in an unexpected place.

The Systems32 Folder

On computers running the Windows XP operating system, nearly all of the driver files are located within the Systems32 folder. This folder is on your main hard drive in most cases. You can usually find this folder by navigating to C:/Windows/Systems32. If you have installed your operating system on a partition or an external drive, you may have a different letter proceeding the address. Driver files may be located within that folder mixed in with executables and text files, or they may be hidden away in the /Drivers sub folder. Moving or deleting either of these folders will do a serious blow to the functionality of your computer.

Protecting The Directory

Many driver catastrophes occur when a cat runs across a keyboard or a child tries to explore the file system. Setting your computer to lock to the Welcome screen after a short period of inactivity is one of the best ways to stop accidents like this from occurring. However, well-meaning adult users can also wreak havoc. Setting up some controls on your system can keep system folders from being deleted on purpose or accidentally.

Hiding The Folders

Moving the entire Windows directory out of sight is an easy way to prevent deletion without making the files accessible when you do need them.

  1. Open any folder on your desktop. This opens a Windows Explorer window. Click on the Tools tab on the top row of the window.
  2. Click on the Folder Options tab at the top of the screen that pops up.
  3. Select the tab labeled View.
  4. Look for a listing labeled “Do not show hidden files and folders” next to a check box. Check that box, if it is empty, to make sure your system folders and files aren’t visible during casual use.

Limiting Access

The Windows XP system is designed to help you control and limit file access. If you have a user that could accidentally damage the system, a limited account works best.

  1. Select the Start button, then navigate to your Control Panel. Double-click on the User Accounts icon.
  2. Create or designate an Administrator account, if you don’t already have one. This account needs to be password protected and inaccessible to anyone but the owner of the system.
  3. Click on the Create An Account link to run the wizard. Once your Administrator account is ready, run it again and select the Limited User option instead.
  4. Follow the prompts and restart your computer. Log in on the new limited account to check that everything works, then let your accident-prone user surf without worry.

Record Keeping

Keeping good records of all of your hardware and their manufacturers is also very important. If you aren’t sure what parts make up your computer, it is much harder to repair and restore the system if something happens. Unfortunately, simply copying your Systems32 folder to a blank flash drive won’t protect you from deletion.

Why Backups Aren’t Enough

Driver files are simple and small, but they aren’t directly executed by the computer until they have been registered. This means that each driver has to be installed. The installation process requires other files, most notably the .inf files that the computer read to learn where to put the files and how to register them. Without an .inf file, a driver file is useless. These temporary files are only included for installation and don’t remain in the directory with the driver in most cases. Backing up the system folders can give you a heads up on what you need, but you will still need to download or find the installation packages from the manufacturer.

The INF Directory

In your explorations of the hard drive, you may well find the INF storage folder. It can provide a false sense of hope if it still has some installation files lingering in it. Unfortunately, nearly all .inf driver files are removed after installation is complete. You must also know which .inf files go with which devices and drivers to complete a manual installation. This makes driver backup only truly possible with a complete disc image of the system or a collection of installers ready to use.

Identifying Drivers In Other Places

Driver files can pop up in program folders, the Desktop, or even in your Documents folder. Accidental movement accounts for a lot of weird driver appearances, but some need to stay in place. Always try moving the file to a folder and checking for disruption of a service before outright deleting it if you are questioning its validity. Look out for these common signs that a mysterious file is a driver that needs to stay in place:

  1. It popped up due to the installation of a new device, game, or program. Many software programmers have to write special drivers to ensure their programs can work with your hardware. Deleting files in the folders of games is especially not recommended unless you know what they are used for.
  2. It features a .DLL extension. Also known as a Dynamic Link Library, these files are one of the most common types of drivers. Other common driver related extensions include .SYS, .INF, and .OCX.
  3. The system tries to warn you not to delete it. Windows does have some protections for system files, so you may be asked for Administrator approval if you try to remove it. However, don’t delete randomly and assume you are safe because the computer isn’t trying to stop you.

What Happens If I Install The Wrong Driver?

November 5th, 2013 No comments

Driver mismatches can arise from sheer frustration or simple mistakes. If you click on the wrong link when searching the support pages of a computer manufacturer, you can end up with a driver or installation file that is definitely not designed to work with your system. Many users often do this on purpose when they can’t locate a driver that is perfectly compatible with their operating system or exact device model. The search for a rare or out of date file often seems nearly impossible. However, installing the wrong driver can have quite a few consequences.

 

Problems Ranging From Small To Large

 

Driver files are utilized by the operating system to communicate with devices connected to the computer. Each file is written to work with a specific piece of hardware, so all sorts of errors pop up when the wrong code is executed in the attempt to do something with a printer or camera. You may not even notice that you have chosen the wrong files for weeks or even months until issues start occurring. Some of the most common issues caused by incorrect drivers include:

  • Error windows that appear every time you start the computer or when you attempt to use the device. These windows may list the incorrect or missing driver file, or they may not hint at the actual cause at all and report a completely different problem.
  • Constant restarting. If the driver for a major component involved in start up can’t be loaded properly, the system may just keep restarting endlessly to try and resolve the problem.
  • Replacement of the old driver files even after the new, correct versions are added. Windows can become convinced that the wrong files are the right ones and undo your work if you don’t install the correct drivers in the first place.
  • Failure to start up at all. Getting stuck at the boot screen is often linked to just one tiny file in the System folder.
  • Programs stop working. When your video driver or your USB controller file is corrupted, the programs that rely on these components won’t work either.
  • Issues installing the right files. Windows XP often reinstalls the older version as part of the errors caused by incompatibility, which is endlessly frustrating when you have the right file and it keeps getting overwritten by the wrong one.
  • Difficulties uninstalling the component or getting your computer to realize it is no longer connected. Even if you remove the driver, the system may have a phantom loop left behind that leads to the hardware detection wizard after a CD drive or printer is long gone.

 

Handling Your Mistake

 

When you realized that you may not have the right driver for your hardware, your first step should be research. Finding the right Windows XP driver is always recommended before you try uninstalling the old file, but that should take priority if the file is causing a restarting loop or random shutdown problems. You may need to remove the component, even if it is a video card or other internal device, to accomplish this.

 

Starting In Safe Mode

 

Starting your computer in Safe Mode will help you stop the endless cycle of driver errors and get a handle on your system again. Print these instructions so you can restart in the right mode without having to access the Internet in the middle of the process.

 

  1. Shut down the computer normally through the Start Menu. Find the F8 key on your keyboard, then start the system back up again.
  2. Press the F8 key as the computer starts up and works through the various boot screens. If the Windows XP logo pops up rather than a boot options screen, allow the system to start up fully and try again. The key is to have F8 pressed in the two to three seconds after the system starts, but before Windows XP itself is loaded. It may take a few tries to access the boot menu.
  3. Select the Safe Mode with Command Prompt option. Avoid the networking option unless you know you aren’t having problems with drivers related to your modem or ports.

 

The computer should boot with only the minimal system drivers loaded. If the issue lies within one of these files, you may experience the same errors, but it is likely that Safe Mode will work well enough for you to remove the incorrect drivers and replace them with new ones.

 

Try A Restore Point

 

If Safe Mode triggers the same errors or you can’t seem to get the wrong driver uninstalled, you may need to let the operating system have a try at the problem. The easiest way to do this is to reset to a previous restore point made before you installed the offending file. If you have System Restore turned on as a feature, try:

  1. Logging into an Administrator account or an account with Administrator privileges.
  2. Open the Start Menu in the left corner of the screen and navigate to the All Programs tab at the bottom. Select the Accessories folder, then System Tools, and click on the System Restore listing.
  3. Select the restoration option on the window that opens and press Next. Pick a restore point from the list that you are sure was made before the driver was installed. If you aren’t sure when the wrong files were added, try checking the Device Manager and looking for the date of the latest driver update.
  4. Follow the rest of the instructions in the System Restore window and allow the computer to restart itself.

 

Uninstalling Manually

 

When a driver file is wreaking havoc with your system, it is best to uninstall it. You can do this quite simply with the device manager:

  1. Open the Start Menu and click on the Control Panel listing.
  2. Double click on the System icon, click on the Hardware tab, then press the Device Manager button.
  3. Find the affected device and double click on its listing. Selecting the Driver tab, then click on the uninstall button near the bottom.
Categories: Driver FAQ, Performance, XP Drivers Tags:

The 6 Best Ways to Update Your Drivers

October 28th, 2013 No comments

Drivers are an integral part of Microsoft operating systems: software components that help your computer use its various hardware features … or any new devices that you buy and attach.

This makes drivers very important for managing external data as well as internal functions. Over time, they can steadily lose their relevance if they’re not updated. Generally speaking, you don’t need to update a driver if nothing is wrong, but if you’re noticing problems with important devices or functions, it may be time to search for an upgrade.

Here are some of the most common ways to find the right driver installations, and important considerations for each method.

1. The device itself

From USB to printer drivers, most devices include a download that automatically provides the necessary software when you’re first connecting the device to your PC. Sometimes (although this is increasingly rare) you have a CD with software included on it.

You may be prompted to visit a company website and download from there. Typically, driver software that comes with a device is not very dependable; it tends to be old and obsolete compared to online versions. But if your device is not installing properly, reinstalling the original drivers could be the solution to your problem.

2. The operating system

If you want an easy way to update drivers, look at your Windows operating system. In the Device Manager or a related Windows tool, you will see all the drivers that need to be updated, and you can ask Windows to update your drivers itself.

This does not necessarily mean you will get the latest drivers, but it will provide you with the best updates that Windows can find, and compatibility will probably not be an issue.

3. An aggregation website

Fortunately, others have already done a lot of the work for you. If you want a driver for any external advice, try using a generic search to see what pops up. Some sites will help you quickly locate the right drivers for your operating system with a minimal amount of fuss. They’ll get your downloads in a short amount of time with easy instructions. If you can find a site that does the work for you, use it!

4. Your computer brand site

Sometimes it can be more difficult to locate the driver that you want. In those cases, it’s time to visit the website from which you bought your computer or the brand website that your device belongs to. Dell, HP, Logitech, Lenovo … you get the idea. They may have driver downloads available or at least provide a quick link to the right place to find them.

5. The chipset manufacturer

If you’re determined to get the latest driver for internal functions, visit the manufacturer of the chipset for your computer. The most common manufacturers are companies like Nvidia and Realtek.

These brands have the latest drivers up in record time, since they’re the ones responsible for bringing it to market. Search for your particular chipset model to locate the right drivers. However, you may want to approach this option carefully: the very latest driver updates may come with bugs or compatibility issues. It may actually be preferable to get an older, smoother version.

6. The hardware manufacturer

If you want to go a further step down the supply chain, you can look for the hardware manufacturer itself — the company that makes the actual video card, motherboard, or other hardware component. You can’t get any closer to the source than this.

Many of these manufacturers offer advanced update options that let you customize the update in various ways, to add features or ensure compatibility … as long as you know what you’re doing.