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Using Your Logitech Webcam With Your Windows XP Computer

February 13th, 2014 No comments

Picking up a quality webcam opens up your opportunities for contacting family members across the globe or making new friends online. Using a brand name product from Logitech means you won’t be struggling to get a good picture out of a generic device from China. If you are looking forward to jumping on Skype for free video chatting, you need to get that webcam working on your Windows XP computer first. Creating a series of Youtube videos or vlogs is impossible until you have compatible drivers. All of the Logitech webcams plug in the USB port, but they each need a different type of driver file to work properly.

 

 

Check For The Model Number

As with every other device you might want to connect to your hard working computer, it is best to start your quest for driver files with an inspection of the webcam. Finding the exact model number on your Logitech device makes it much easier to narrow down what you have and which drivers you need for it. It could be anywhere from 8 to 16 digits, and most contain both letters and numbers. Try looking for the number on:

    • The clip or suction cup that anchors the webcam to your monitor or desk.
    • The back of the webcam body.
    • A plastic label wrapped around the cord.

Check The Pictures

Sometimes you just can’t find the original model number on the webcam you want to use. Logitech didn’t always make it easy to spot these digits on older models, so the devices most likely to work with XP computers are also the least likely to have an easy identifier. Visiting the manufacturer’s support page gives you a chance to compare your model with clear photos of each of the products offered for sale in the last few years. This is a less than ideal option because it’s easy to confuse similar looking models, but it is a last recourse for webcam owners that just can’t figure out what drivers they need.

Try A Driver Collection

If you locate the model number or match your webcam to the right photo, you can find the right Logitech support page and start searching for Windows XP devices. Don’t lose hope if there is no XP compatible drivers listed on that page. Since support for the operating system is being phased out by even Microsoft itself, all too many device manufacturers are removing or not making drivers for that OS anymore. This is especially likely for the newest webcams from Logitech. When XP drivers aren’t available from the website, try turning to a driver collection focused on XP instead. These automatic installation programs scan to check what device you have attached, then try to match it with a driver file from the collection. Check that you are downloading a software solution that includes drivers for Logitech. Sticking with a webcam specific download also increases your chances of finding the right file the first time. Don’t download one of these programs unless it is from a trustworthy source like XPDrivers.com.

Connecting The Device

        1. Start by locating the driver. Installing the file before the first time you attach the device ensures that it doesn’t accidentally get associated with the wrong drivers.
        2. Connect the device to the USB port. Wait for your computer to recognize it, and direct it to search for drivers automatically.
        3. If it can’t match the webcam and the files you have already installed, point the manual installation wizard to the relevant files where they are located on your hard drive.
        4. Attempt to start the webcam through the Scanners and Camera folder in the Control Panel. If it isn’t listed there, you may need to uninstall all of the files and hardware and start over with the correct files.

Of course, you may need more than just the driver files to use your Logitech webcam. These devices often rely on a software solution that goes above and beyond the simple drivers to keep transfers running smoothly when using high definition or specialty recording modes. Try to download a PDF version of the manual for your appliance before starting installation so you know exactly what you need in the end.

Installing Logitech Software

No matter what operating system you are running your computer, Logitech may require you to install software to access all of the features of your device. Most users will notice a definite improvement in picture quality after adding the right optional program. It’s unlikely that you will receive these software additions when using a driver collection installer to find XP compatible files. Most of the software required for webcams is compatible with multiple models, so it is a little easier to find these solutions without a long and drawn out search.

Troubleshooting Problems with Your Logitech Webcam

      • The device is not recognized by the computer – Double check the driver files you used. Uninstall the files and try again with a different set. Unplug the device if it is attached to a secondary USB port or extending hub and connect it directly to the computer via a primary port. Try a different USB port to rule out a dead connection.
      • The picture quality is lower than expected – Check driver compatibility. Install any recommended but optional software packages offered by Logitech for your model.
      • Can’t access a feature or recording option – Install the optional software to get access to anything not supported by the basic drivers.
      • Stuttering picture – Remove the webcam from a USB 1.0 or 3.0 port and plug it into a USB 2.0 port.
      • Camera is recognized but won’t respond – Test it with a different computer to rule out mechanical defects.
Categories: Cameras, Tips, USB Tags:

Finding Compatible Drivers For Older Digital Cameras

February 10th, 2014 No comments

Shopping around for a digital camera can leave you with a little bit of sticker shock if you want the power of a digital SLR or similar model for quality work. However, you can turn to gently used models that are just a few years old to save a lot of money while enjoying your artistic results. Buying a used digital camera on eBay is a good way to get into the photography hobby without having to shell out a lot of money to get the equipment you need. You could start a business selling crafts online, or create a portfolio of stock photography to offer buyers. Finding support and digital camera drivers for a Windows XP computer takes a little but of work, but it will pay off when you follow the right steps.

Original CD

Start by giving yourself a head start with a camera package that includes the original installation CD. Many used sellers track down these discs to help you install support files for your new camera.. This is also an sign that the camera has only had one user, which indicates it is likely in better shape than a model that has passed through multiple hands already. If you can’t find a product you want that includes the original driver CD, head to the manufacturer’s website. Companies like Nikon, Canon, and Fujipix all offer downloads of various necessary files when you know what kind of camera you are using. The website will also include information on finding a model number, which allows you to pinpoint exactly which driver files to download.

Native Support From Windows XP

Don’t assume that your older digital camera needs drivers before giving the XP native support a chance to kick in. Simple point and shoot cameras often allow the computer to read it without needing any further installation. It is well worth a try to plug in your digital camera with a USB cord and see if you can open its storage as folders on a drive. If you have purchased a computer requiring more than a USB connection to transfer files, it is unlikely you can use a specialty dock without finding the corresponding drivers first.

Windows XP may recognize the digital camera as a Mass Storage Device. This means you can open it as an external drive. The camera will need to offer Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) or Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) support to do this. Check the specifications listed by searching the product name to find out if a particular camera model offers this mode. If you choose one that does, you won’t have to worry about finding and installing drivers to use it with a Windows XP computer.

Windows Update

You may be able to find and download the right drivers just by connecting the camera and letting Windows search for it. Utilizing Windows Hardware Wizard is always helpful when you aren’t sure exactly what the model number is for the camera you bought or received as a gift.

Using Windows Update:

  1. Connect your digital camera to the computer with a USB cord. If you don’t hear the chime telling you it has been detected, you may need to switch it on, depending on the model.
  2. Click on the Start Button. Select the All Programs tab, then find the Windows Update listing and click on it.
  3. Enter your Administrative account information if prompted by the computer.
  4. Click on the Check For Updates link on the left side of the window.

If the program locates updates for the camera, they will be listed in the center pane. Click on any relevant links to start the automatic download and installation process.

Once the Update has run, you should be able to use your camera successfully. Any issues mean an uninstall is in order before you attempt to manually or automatically install any more files related to the camera you are using.

Driver Scanner Software

All too many of the big name manufacturers have stopped providing the Windows XP drivers for some of their most popular products. When you only discover driver files for the 7 and 8 versions of the OS, you may need to turn to a driver scanner and collection software that includes legacy drivers. Compatibility is key if you want your digital camera to run correctly. Don’t download driver installers unless they are trustworthy to make sure you get the right results. Programs that install mismatching files will cause more problems than they solve.

Other Options For Transferring Your Photos

Even if you can’t locate the driver for an older camera you have purchased, you have other options for getting the files as you need them. Start by checking into what type of media the device uses for saving the files. Nearly all modern cameras rely on some kind of SD or Memory Stick to do this. If you find out what type of memory is used, you can buy a card reader that supports it. Connect the USB reader and insert the card to have it treated as external storage without needing to install a lot of complicated drivers. Of course, this won’t help for integrated storage. Check into Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Pictbridge transfer support for further options.

Four Options For Getting The Network Drivers You Need

December 9th, 2013 No comments

Starting up an older computer you find hiding at the back of a closet is quite exciting, but it can also leave you feeling frustrated. A Windows XP computer without the appropriate drivers can’t connect to the Internet. Ethernet ports are unlikely to respond if the system relies on a controller for the service, while the same is true for on-board wireless cards or even old-fashioned modems. Most users turn to the Internet to hunt down the drivers they need. If you are stuck with a computer that can’t access the web due to a missing network driver, try one of these four tricks for getting back into the loop.

 

Using Another Computer

Accessing another computer that you have downloading privileges on is the easiest and fastest way to solve your driver problems. This could be a friend’s laptop, a work computer without limited access, or another PC in the home. The computer you use to download the drivers doesn’t necessarily need to use the Windows XP system. You can use a Windows 7 or 8 device, even a tablet if it has built-in or flash storage, to retrieve the files and transfer them to the older system in need of help.Just be sure you know where you are downloading the driver files so you can find them for the transfer. Remember to download network driver files appropriate to the Windows XP computer and not the ones recommended for the system you are borrowing for the download.

Once you have your driver files ready to go, use a transfer medium to get them on the disconnect computer. A USB flash drive is the best option for most users because it is simple and works with systems of all kinds. Driver files are rarely larger than a few megabytes, so a one gigabyte drive will hold hundreds of files. A blank CD also works, but it is a waste of space to burn an entire disc just for one small network driver. Double-male USB cables are available to create a continuous link between two systems for file transfer without the internet or a local network. However, many users report problems with these cables when the two computers have different operating systems.

 

Try The Boot CD

It’s not always possible to borrow another computer for the recovery work. Hunting down a copy of the original boot CD for the system may give you a chance to load crucial system drivers like the network support files. Take care not to accidentally reinstall your operating system when using a boot CD. Navigate to options for restoring or repairing drivers and consider making a backup of your files before trying this method. Boot CDs are far less likely to contain the files you need than a system recovery disc, so look for that kind of support software first in the original paperwork provided by the manufacturer. This method will only work for hardware that came with the system – later additions require their own installation CDs.

You may be able to prevent the loss of network driver files by making your own boot CD with your driver files before doing a fresh install to deal with a virus or other problem. Selective backup of your network files aids the recovery process when you won’t have access to the Internet. Using a program to build install packages from your drivers or collecting the download files before going offline ensures you can save the files for both original and aftermarket hardware at the same time. Don’t wipe your hard drives until you have a plan for restoring the drivers after the system is recovered.

 

Invest In New Equipment

Working with outdated network cards or wi-fi adapters makes it even harder to get the driver files you need when you can’t get online. Ordering a new piece of equipment means you get a fresh driver installation. However, you will need to verify that any PCI cards or USB devices include drivers compatible with Windows XP. Many newer models only support Windows 7 and up. Plug and play devices designed to work with generic drivers give you the highest chance of success without further installation or download issues.

 

Contact Customer Support

Finally, don’t forget to contact the customer support line of the manufacturer of both the computer itself and the network device. If you are struggling to locate older drivers for a Linksys wireless card, a few minutes on the phone could mean an installation CD is on its way to you. Some manufacturers will happily provide these discs for free or a small fee to cover shipping. It is often possible to locate drivers that are no longer available for download by getting in contact with customer support. Get in touch with your IT administrator if you are experiencing these kinds of problems with a piece of leased or company loaned equipment – they can get direct resources from the manufacturer to solve the issue.

Waiting for a disc from the support team will still take much longer than buying a new device locally or using a friend’s computer. The support line may also be automated and offer no help with drivers, advising you to visit the website instead. In these cases, you will need to choose another option.

 

A Quick Guide To Determining Which Drivers You Need

Opening the Device Manager is the fastest way to find out if your computer needs new network drivers.

  • Navigate to the Desktop on your Windows XP computer. Right click the My Computer icon found there, and select the Properties option. Select the Hardware tab at the top, towards the right.
  • Click on the Device Manager button at the top. Let the list of hardware load, then look for any immediate caution signs in the form of yellow warning icons. Look for the Network Adapters heading and click on the plus sign next to it to see all of the devices installed on the computer.
  • If you are only finding generic listings for your Ethernet or wireless devices, you may need to consult your owner’s manual or call customer service to find out what the computer contains.
Categories: Hardware, Modems, Network, Tips, 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.

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.

Why Won’t My Favorite Game Play?

September 11th, 2013 No comments

Dedicated gamers often spend hours each day in their favorite virtual worlds, but even the most casual players deserve smooth play and proper display. In most cases, a well equipped and modern system will run both commercial and indie software without an issue. Completing installation should be all you need to do to enjoy a new experience. Unfortunately, numerous issues can get in the way of your enjoyment. If you can’t seem to get your favorite game to start up or run smoothly, turn to the drivers on your system first.

 

What Has Changed?

 

In many cases, gamers will play a game for weeks or even months without issue and then find it suddenly unresponsive one day. No matter the cause, you should always start the troubleshooting process by consider what actions and changes you have made most recently. Uninstalling or installing something can always trigger a host of adjustments that leave your favorite game out of commission. If you can make a complete list of all of your recent changes, you can work your way through them in reverse to see if that fixes the issue. A less time consuming option involves updating various types of software.

 

Starting With The Device Drivers

 

Few programs take as much resources up as games, and nearly all of that power is used for producing high quality graphics. Even games that are a few years old might be too much for your graphics card if it is running outdated or badly designed drivers. If you are receiving errors related to the display or if you didn’t change anything before the game stopped working, you are likely dealing with corrupted drivers. Replace the outdated versions with newer ones by:

 

  1. Clicking on the icon in the lower left corner of your window to open the Start Menu. Select the Control Panel from the right side of the menu, then double-click on the System icon.
  2. Give the Device Manager button one click to open it. Look for a heading labeled display adapters, then double click on it to expand it.
  3. Under the heading you should find at least one listing matching the name and manufacturer of your graphics card. If the information is incorrect, you may have the wrong driver installed. Driver issues may also trigger a yellow icon to appear on the listing.
  4. Double-click on the display adapter name, then navigate to the Driver tab at the top. This window should offer you automatic options for updating the driver through the Windows Update service.

 

Windows Update can only find drivers in the Microsoft database. If you can’t get updated files from the automatic process, you will need to head right to the manufacturer. Nvidia, ATI, AMD, and other consumer video card producers all provide numerous options for matching your hardware with the latest drivers. Visiting the website could give you access to a quick and small scanning program that retrieves exact information about your graphics card and why its not performing.

 

System Resources

 

Games also tend to fail because there simply aren’t enough resources to support it while running. This is a problem that tends to occur most after a fresh installation, but it can still pop up after weeks of successful play. Opening the Task Manager and watching it as you start the game can help you discover background progresses that are sapping your memory or processing power.

  1. Open the Task Manager by pressing the Alt, Ctrl, and Delete buttons all at once. A small window should pop up immediately.
  2. Click on the various tabs to monitor how your system responds to the start up process. If you see spikes in the CPU usage or memory usage during start up, this may be crashing the application without creating error dialogs. This appears like the game simply can’t run. In some cases, you may just need to shut off your antivirus software or turn off a few programs to get the game going once more.

 

Unless you have recently installed a program that runs in the background or contracted a computer virus, you should not experience sudden losses in system resources. Any sudden strain or slowness should be investigated promptly.

 

DirectX Errors And Issues

 

Once you know your display drivers are up to date and your hardware is running properly, you need to rule out problems with DirectX. This is a programming interface designed by Microsoft that game designers use to ensure a wide audience of players can access their content. These program files need to be installed and maintained separately of any games that rely on them. If you aren’t sure what version of DirectX you are running or signs of problems with the system, it is best to go ahead and update to the latest package. 9.0C is the last version that works on Windows XP, so using Windows Update to install it is the best way to avoid accidental downloads of versions that aren’t compatible with your operating system.

 

  1. Open your Start Menu, then click on All Programs. Look for a Windows Update listing at the top of the menu, then click it once.
  2. Click on “Check for updates” and allow the program to run. If you don’t have DirectX installed, the files will be downloaded.

 

Viruses and corruption can leave you with DirectX installations that don’t work. If you suspect this problem, consider uninstalling first and letting Windows update download a fresh package. This can only be accomplished with a full formatting and fresh installation from a recovery disc. DirectX files are a crucial system component, so it is not possible to remove them without a full system wipe. However, serious problems may require this kind of fix.

 

Installing the latest service packs for Windows XP is also recommended if you suspect DirectX issues with games. Each service pack includes numerous safety and security updates for these kinds of system files. You may be surprised to find that a game that won’t work suddenly installs and runs fine after you go through the process of updating to SP3.

Device Manager In Windows: How To View A Device’s Status

April 12th, 2012 No comments

Viewing the current status of the hardware in your PC is important to ensure that everything is working properly. Doing this in Windows XP is easy and once you see a yellow exclamation point beside its icon in Device Manager, then you might just have a problem.

Checking the status of different hardware devices can be done by going to the Device Manager and checking out the details available. If there are any problems encountered by your computer, a detailed error code will be displayed, as well as suggestive solutions for troubleshooting the hardware issues you are encountering.

If you are unsure on how to check a device’s status in your computer, below are easy to follow steps on how to do it.

1. Open the Device Manager  from the Windows XP Computer Management utility option. There are still other ways to do so, including typing ‘Device Manager’ in the search box

2. After opening the Device Manager, search for the hardware device you like to check by clicking the [+] icon from major hardware categories.

3. After successfully locating the hardware you would like to check, right click on the text or icon and choose the Properties option, where you can see the device status. This will display the information and current status of your chosen hardware device.

4. If the device is working properly, the status will read:

The device is working properly. If you are having problems with this device, click Troubleshoot to start the troubleshooter.

5. If the device is not working, an error message will state:

Error Message (Code 00) Click Troubleshoot to start the troubleshooter for this device

The reason behind the importance of checking a hardware device’s status every now and then is not only to make sure that it is still working, but also to know whether or not it needs a driver update. By updating its driver, you can ensure that it will work the way you want it too and at the same time, enjoy new features offered by the manufacturing company.


Downloading Device Drivers

April 2nd, 2012 No comments

Updating the driver for a certain hardware device would require you to download the driver file from the internet. There are many available sites on the World Wide Web and this usually makes it hard to find the right site where you can download credible driver files. However, you will breathe a sigh of relief and will be saved from all the frustrations once you find the perfect site for download. Below are just some of the sources that you can check for device driver downloads:

1.  Direct from the manufacturer

The best and most trusted place where you can download device driver files would be directly from the hardware manufacturer. Most companies already have their own official website and all you need to do is visit it and download the file directly from their site.

2. Download from trusted Driver download websites

Aside from the manufacturing company, there are also driver download websites that are complete with device driver filesAside from the manufacturing company, there are also driver download websites that are complete with device driver files, which they usually organize by the name of the manufacturing company and year of release.

3. Use Windows Update to download updated device drivers

The Windows Update is also a perfect source for downloading drivers and in fact, ,are done automatically if you want to set it as such. However, do keep in mind that this solution should not be considered a priority and only choice for device driver downloads since the drivers are not readily available and if there ever are files that you can download, are not usually updated.

If for some reason you are unable to download the device driver that you need from the internet, then the Windows Update is worth trying.

4. Download from third party developers

You also have the choice to download the device driver files from a third-party driver developer. However, these files are not usually available and are only designed to meet the needs of a programmer. You may request for it personally or if there are available device drivers for download, do keep in mind that they are not that safe and you are not sure whether or not it is compatible with your system. Therefore, it is still safer to download device driver files directly from the manufacturing company’s website or from a credible website.

Using Device Manager in Windows XP To Enable A Device

March 28th, 2012 No comments

If you have any plans of using a hardware for your computer, you must first enable it in the Device Manager so that Windows XP will recognize is at existing. If you fail to enable it on your computer, you cannot assign it its own system resources thus, making it basically useless.

The good thing is, Windows XP can alert users about hardware that are not yet enabled by displaying a red ‘x’ in Device Manager beside the disabled hardware. To enable hardware device from Window XP’s Device Manager, below are easy to follow steps in doing so:

1. Open Device Manager from your computer’s Computer Management utility and locate the hardware device that you are planning to enable. You can navigate through different categories by clicking the [+] icon to see the complete list of hardware devices available.

3. After locating the Device usage option, enable the Use this device option and click OK

4. After doing so, you will notice the red x being removed from the Device Manager window. if a yellow exclamation point replaces it, you would be required to troubleshoot the problem separately. This is because the yellow exclamation point icon is basically to warn you of different issues related to the hardware’s configuration.

If you want to verify if the hardware device is already working properly, you can do so by then, to ensure that all features are updated and so that you can use the device properly.