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How to Troubleshoot Driver Problems (part 3) - How to Use the File Signature Verification, How to Use Device Manager to View and Change Resource Usage

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1/16/2014 3:26:52 AM

How to Use the File Signature Verification

File Signature Verification (Sigverif.exe) detects signed files and allows you to:

  • View the certificates of signed files to verify that the file has not been tampered with after being certified.

  • Search for signed files.

  • Search for unsigned files.

Note

Unsigned or altered drivers cannot be installed on x64-based versions of Windows.


Driver signing is a multistage process in which device drivers are verified. For a driver to earn this certification, it must pass a series of compatibility tests administered by the Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL). Because of stringent WHQL standards, using signed drivers typically results in a more stable system. When troubleshooting a problem that might be caused by a driver, you might choose to remove unsigned drivers to eliminate the possibility that the unsigned driver is causing the problem. While most unsigned drivers will not cause problems, they have not been verified by Microsoft and therefore have a higher risk of causing problems than signed drivers. Microsoft digitally signs drivers that pass the WHQL tests, and Windows Vista performs signature detection for device categories such as:

  • Keyboards

  • Hard disk controllers

  • Modems

  • Mouse devices

  • Multimedia devices

  • Network adapters

  • Printers

  • Small computer system interface (SCSI) adapters

  • Smart card readers

  • Video adapters

A Microsoft Corporation digital signature indicates that a driver file is an original, unaltered system file that Microsoft has approved for use with Windows Vista. Windows Vista can warn or prevent users from installing unsigned drivers. If a driver is not digitally signed, the user receives a message that requests confirmation to continue. Microsoft digitally signs all drivers included with the Windows Vista operating system CDs. When you download updated drivers from a manufacturer’s webpage, always select drivers that are signed by Microsoft.

The following tools are useful for troubleshooting problems caused by unsigned files:

  • File Signature Verification

  • Device Manager

  • Driver Verifier Manager

To identify unsigned drivers, follow these steps:

1.
Click Start, and then type Sigverif. Press Enter.

2.
In the File Signature Verification window, click Start.

After several minutes, the Signature Verification Results page displays unsigned drivers. Unsigned drivers can be reliable, but they have not undergone the same testing required of signed drivers. If you are experiencing reliability problems, you should replace unsigned drivers with signed versions from Microsoft or the manufacturer.

3.
Click Close to return to the File Signature Verification window.

4.
Click Close again.

How to Use Device Manager to View and Change Resource Usage

Installing new hardware or updating drivers can create conflicts, causing devices to become inaccessible. You can use Device Manager to review resources used by these devices to manually identify conflicts. Typically, however, you should let Windows Vista automatically allocate resources. With modern hardware, there is almost never a valid reason to manually adjust resource usage, and you might cause more problems than you resolve.

To use Device Manager (Devmgmt.msc) to view or change system resource usage information, follow these steps:

1.
Click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Manage.

2.
Click Device Manager, and then double-click a device.

3.
Click the Resources tab to view the resources used by that device.

4.
Click a resource, and then clear the Use Automatic Settings check box.

5.
Click Change Setting, and then specify the resources assigned to the device.
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