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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.

Three Ways To Connect Your Creative MP3 Player To Your System

January 13th, 2014 No comments

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

The Challenges Of The Driver Search

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

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

Searching The Site

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

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

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

Creative’s Software AutoUpdate

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

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

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

Automatic Driver Scanners

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

Don’t Forget The Firmware

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

Categories: XP Drivers Tags:

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:

Six Tricks For Finding The Right Drivers The First Time

December 12th, 2013 No comments

Whether it is overzealous deleting or viruses that wipe out your driver files, the search for new ones is rarely a fun occasion. These types of issues always seem to pop up right in the middle of work that is already past the deadline. If you need to get your computer working again fast to get back to your school paper or end of the year sales report, try at least one of these six tricks to find genuine drivers as quickly as possible.

 

Auto Scanners

For fast discovery of specific issues, nothing works faster than an automatic driver scanner program. Some manufacturers of video cards and sound devices offer them to help you discover which model you have from their line up. Others scan your drivers against long lists of identification checks, such as the program offered by us here at XPDrivers. Computer users that are uncomfortable with the idea of hunting down driver files on their own should turn to a trusted source for scanning and automatic driver help.

 

Use Windows Update

In many cases, there is no need to download any extra software at all to solve your driver issues. Windows XP includes a program known as Windows Update that connects to the Internet to solve numerous problems with the operation system or drivers. If the device is supported by Microsoft, you may find an automatic download and installation completing that fixes your problem in just a few minutes. It is well worth a try, especially when the problem involves a system file like the hard drive driver or motherboard files.

 

ID Numbers For Manual Identification

Sometimes Windows Update and automatic driver scanners just don’t seem to work. Running them turns up nothing, while your device continues to malfunction and cause serious issues with the computer. Many systems spiral into an endless loop of restarts and crashes when driver files become corrupted or go missing. Opening the Device Manager and writing down two numbers from the malfunctioning device can aid you in your search when you can’t identify the manufacturer or model number on your own.

  • Start the Device Manager by clicking on the Start Menu. Click on the Run listing to the right of the menu.
  • In the text box, enter “mmc devmgmt.msc” without quotes. Click on the Run button.
  • Look for the device that is listed as unknown or generic. This device may be listed as reporting errors or properly installed.
  • Right click on the listing and select Properties. Look for two pieces of information on the window that pops up. Record the four characters after the headings VEN_XXXX and DEV_XXXX. Go to Google and find a hardware ID database, then enter these two values into the search engine to discover the details of your mystery device.
  • Head to the manufacturer listed on the database. They should provide drivers for your device through their Support or Downloads pages.
  • Consider searching Google for the details of the driver if you can’t find a current website for the manufacturer.

Try A Collection

Sometimes you just need to overwhelm the problem with plenty of options. Loading a collection of the most common device drivers onto a flash drive or CD will give you a good chance at solving your dilemma. Pick a set based on the type of hardware you are having trouble with. You need to get lucky and match your device to one or more of the driver files included in the collection. If the right ones aren’t available, the software may attempt to connect to the Internet to access a larger database and give you a shot at finding rarer files.

 

Circumventing Crashes

Serious driver problems leave your computer stuck restarting itself over and over again. This hijacks your system and makes it impossible to access your files or complete important tasks. You can’t even work on replacing the offending drivers until you can break the loop. Try starting in Safe Mode to restore control over the system until the new files can be loaded.

  • Restart your computer through the Power options in the Start Menu. Press the F8 button on your computer as the system boots up to bring up the boot menu. Use your keyboard arrows to choose “Safe Mode with Networking”, unless your problem is related to a network device.
  • Let the system boot up in Safe Mode. Access your Device Manager and attempt to install new drivers if the computer manages to stay on without restarting once again.

Checking Compatibility

It is crucial to verify you are downloading or installing the right version of driver files before proceeding with the process. Using releases designed for another Windows OS or a completely different system altogether could further lock up the system. The file name will often contain a clue to the release version or intended platform. You may also have access to a wide variety of driver files due to using a collection or an executable for all systems. When in doubt, get a new version from the most trustworthy source you can find rather than install a model that might be incorrect.

 

Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget To Restart

Many driver issues seem impossible to solve because the computer user working on it simply forgets to restart the system after each attempt to resolve hardware errors. When you install a new driver or roll back to a previous version, restart the computer to let the registry update. Wait to check the Device Manager for further signs of trouble until the system boots up again. This also gives you a quick chance at accessing Safe Mode if your attempts to fix the problem lead to crashes or hang ups. Most scanners and installers also recommend restarting after the services run.

Categories: Driver Tools, Tips, XP Drivers Tags:

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.

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.

How To Choose Between Multiple Versions Of A Driver

November 25th, 2013 No comments

Microsoft designed the Windows XP system to streamline system file updates through the Windows Update program. However, the application may not support all third party devices and peripherals that you add. Going on the hunt to find the right files for your favorite digital camera or printer can lead you into a long maze of conflicting recommendations. One popular model could have over a dozen versions of its drivers available. Learning to differentiate between the various installers available from the manufacturers will help you avoid wasting time with incompatible drivers.

The Automated Options

Many major device manufacturers provide simple programs that can scan your system and identify components. Once the application tells you exactly which video card or scanner you have attached to the computer, you can pinpoint just the right driver. If you can’t find a scan program from a manufacturer, try a Windows XP driver scanner to determine device errors with one click. You can also check out the website for information on how to identify your product by looking for model numbers and service tags. You may have to turn the printer over or open part of the unit to find the information you need.

System Concerns

Some of the newest computer accessories simply aren’t designed to work with older operating systems. Before purchasing a device, verify that Windows XP drivers are available first. Trying to load driver files designed for Windows 7 or Windows 8 instead will only damage your system or fail completely. If the manufacturer no longer lists XP files on their support pages, try:

  1. Using a program designed to scan and automatically download the drivers you need. These often link to collections of relevant system files, making it easier to find rare or discontinued files.
  2. Contacting the manufacturer and asking for a manual download. They may even be able to forward an original copy of the relevant installation disc for a small shipping fee.
  3. Finding archives of Windows XP drivers that are no long listed. This is often a long shot, and better collections are usually found through automated driver fixing software.

You must also match your driver files to your system. If you have a 32-bit computer, you can’t expect 64-bit files to function just the same. Determining which type of system you have only takes a few steps.

  1. Click the Start button to open the menu. Find the Control Panel icon on the right hand side of the menu and click on it.
  2. Double click on the System icon.
  3. Look to the right side of the window and locate the System heading. Below that text, you should find information on the operating system installed on your computer. If you have a Home or Media Center Edition of XP, you have a 32-bit system. Professional versions that are not designated as 64-bit as also simply 32-bit. The only XP systems that require 64-bit drivers will be labeled Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Version in this part of the System screen.

Once you know for sure which type of system you have, look for matching drivers on the support websites. If there are no 64-bit drivers available, you can always try the 32-bit versions. Some will work fine. The manufacturer may have a lead on the files you need as well if you can’t find them at first.

Go For The Newest

In most cases, you will need the latest update or release for your relevant drivers that still supports your operating system. AMD or Dell may not have brand new XP drivers for every device, but you should still determine which release was last compatible. Nearly all driver lists are organized chronologically so that you can identify their ages. If you find that there are issues with the latest version, you can always work your way backwards until you locate just the right match.

How To Check The Current Driver Version

Just because you’ve received an email from the manufacturer about a driver update doesn’t mean you necessarily need one. You may already have the latest file installed and not even know it. Finding your driver’s version number is a simple task.

  1. Open the Start Menu with a click of its colorful button. Open the Control Panel with the relevant listing to the right of the menu.
  2. Double click on the System icon. Look for the Hardware tab near the top right hand corner, and give it a click.
  3. Click the button near the bottom labeled Device Manager. Once the Manager is open, locate the device that you need to check. Right click on its name and select Properties at the bottom of the menu.
  4. When that Properties window appears, choose the Driver tab at the top. You’ll see the exact Driver Version number listed in the box, along with the date of the latest installation. Compare the version number to the download offered by the manufacturer to determine if it would be a worthwhile installation.

You will also find out who supplied the driver version you currently have. If you have just added a new device, you may only see a default driver provided by Microsoft. This won’t necessarily help your device function properly when you need the correct driver instead. Checking the Device Manager can reveal when an inappropriate version was accidentally installed or an update was rolled back.

No matter what methods you use for managing your drivers and keeping them updated, it is recommended that you occasionally check your driver versions through the Device Manager. A little extra checking could reveal issues before they get a chance to interfere with the operation of your favorite game or scanner. Set reminders on a calendar or to-do list so your driver maintenance becomes a regular part of your computer use. You will be rewarded with a system that performs as it should for as long as possible.

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