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.