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Vista’s Device Manager

Friday, February 8th, 2008 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help
 
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Q:
I just recently started using Windows Vista and I’ve been having trouble with some of the drivers associated with my hardware. I know I should be able to use the Device Manager to fix those things, but I’m not quite sure where to start. Can you please help? Thank you so much!

A:
Excellent question! Open up the Device Manager. In Windows Vista, go to Start, Control Panel and click on the System and Maintenance link. Next, click on the System link and then on the left hand side under the Tasks pane, click on Device Manager. That will open a window that lists all of your computer’s hardware. You’ll see all of your computer’s adapters, ROM drives, your keyboard, your mouse, the controllers, the USB ports, etc. Anything that has to do with your computer’s hardware will be listed there. In short, it will look something like this:



Now, let’s get back to the question at hand. If you’ve been having trouble with the drivers for some of your computer’s hardware, there are three common issues that come into play. Chances are, your problem lies within one of them, so let’s get down to it!

1.) Certain Hardware is Not Listed – The first problem arises when hardware you expected to find is not listed. If something is left off the list, it’s likely the hardware was not installed correctly. In that case, you should power down your computer and find the actual hardware device. Take some time to make sure it is hooked up correctly and then restart your computer. Once you do that, Vista should automatically recognize the hardware and it will go through the installation process again. You may be asked for the hardware’s drivers during the new installation, so just make sure you have those ready to go as well. When the installation is done, you should now see the hardware listed under the Device Manager.

2.) You See a Yellow Exclamation Point – It’s possible that when you get the Device Manager open, you’ll see a few entries that have yellow exclamation points next to them. When that happens, it means the hardware is installed correctly and Windows recognizes it, but it’s still not working properly. This type of thing usually involves a driver error, so you just need to update your drivers. To do that, right click on the hardware (the one that has the exclamation point next to it) and choose Properties. Next, click on the Driver tab and then the Update Driver button. From there, click on the option that says “Search automatically for updated driver software.” Vista will then look for the correct updated drivers for your hardware device and install them for you. If Windows can’t find any, you will need to go to the manufacturer’s Web site and download them there.

3.) A Red X Appears – If you have a hardware device with a red X next to it, you’re dealing with a disabled piece of hardware. To fix that, simply right click on the hardware and choose Enable. That will start up the hardware and you can begin using it like normal once again.

That’s it! Working through all of these troubleshooting techniques should fix your hardware issues within your Device Manager. Luckily, they’re all fairly easy to do and they deliver results. Give them a try today!

~ Erin

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