Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows Azure
Windows Server
Windows Phone
Windows XP

Tips and Techniques for Installing Devices

- Free product key for windows 10
- Free Product Key for Microsoft office 365
- Malwarebytes Premium 3.7.1 Serial Keys (LifeTime) 2019
3/4/2011 10:46:27 PM

When working with Windows 2000 and Windows NT, there was one cardinal rule for choosing a device to attach to your Windows XP system: Check the hardware compatibility list! This was a list of devices that were known to work with Windows. Like its operating system ancestors, Windows XP also maintains a list of compatible hardware, only now it’s called the Windows Catalog. You can get to this website by entering the following address in your web browser: www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog/.

If you see your device (and, in some cases, the correct device version) in the hardware list, you can install it secure in the knowledge that it will work properly with Windows XP. If you don’t see the device, all is not lost because you still have two other options:

  • Check the box for some indication that the device works with Windows XP or contains drivers for Windows XP. Seeing the Designed for Windows XP logo on the box is the best way to be sure that the device works with Windows XP.

  • Check the manufacturer’s website to see whether an updated Windows XP driver or device setup program is available.

Installing Plug and Play Devices

The Holy Grail of device configuration is a setup in which you need only to insert or plug in a peripheral and turn it on (if necessary), and your system configures the device automatically. In other words, the system not only recognizes that a new device is attached to the machine, but it also gleans the device’s default resource configuration and, if required, resolves any conflicts that might have arisen with existing devices. And, of course, it should be able to perform all this magic without your ever having to flip a DIP switch, fiddle with a jumper, or fuss with various IRQ, I/O port, and DMA combinations.

Plug and Play is an attempt by members of the PC community to reach this Zen-like hardware state. Did they succeed? Yes, Plug and Play works like a charm, but only if your Windows XP system meets the following criteria:

  • It has a Plug and Play BIOS— One of the first things that happens inside your computer when you turn it on (or do a hardware reboot) is the ROM BIOS (basic input/output system) code performs a Power-On Self Test to check the system hardware. If you have a system with a Plug and Play BIOS, the initial code also enumerates and tests all the Plug and Play–compliant devices on the system. For each device, the BIOS not only activates the device, but also gathers the device’s resource configuration (IRQ, I/O ports, and so forth). When all the Plug and Play devices have been isolated, the BIOS then checks for resource conflicts and, if there are any, takes steps to resolve them.

  • It uses Plug and Play devices— Plug and Play devices are the extroverts of the hardware world. They’re only too happy to chat with any old Plug and Play BIOS or operating system that happens along. What do they chat about? The device essentially identifies itself to the BIOS (or the operating system if the BIOS isn’t Plug and Play–compliant) by sending its configuration ID, which tells the BIOS what the device is and which resources it uses. The BIOS then configures the system’s resources accordingly.

Plug and Play is built in to every device that connects via a USB or IEEE 1394 port, and it comes with all PC Card devices and almost all interface cards that connect to the PCI bus. Other devices that connect via the serial, parallel, or PS/2 ports aren’t necessarily Plug and Play–compliant, but almost all of these devices manufactured in the past few years are. Interface cards that connect to the legacy ISA bus are not Plug and Play–compliant.

Before you install a Plug and Play device, check to see whether the hardware came with a setup program on a floppy disk, a CD, or as part of the downloaded package. If it did, run that program and, if you’re given any setup options, be sure to install at least the device driver. Having the driver loaded on the system will help Windows XP install the device automatically.


Only members of the Administrators group can install device drivers, so be sure to log in as a member of that group before installing the device. Alternatively, you can log in as another user and then enter your Administrator username and password when prompted during the installation.

How Windows reacts when you install a Plug and Play device that is designed for Windows XP depends on how you installed the device:

  • If you hot-swapped a device such as a PC Card or a printer, Windows XP recognizes the device immediately and installs the driver for it.

  • If you turned your computer off to install the device, Windows XP recognizes it the next time you start the machine, and installs the appropriate driver.

Either way, an icon appears in the system tray and a balloon tip titled Found New Hardware pops up to tell you that your new hardware is installed and ready for use.

If Windows XP did not find a device driver for the new hardware, it automatically runs the Found New Hardware Wizard. The wizard first asks whether it can connect to Windows Update to search for the latest drivers.

If you bypass Windows Update—if you allow the connection but Windows XP doesn’t find an appropriate driver—the wizard gives you two choices to proceed:

Install the Software AutomaticallyActivate this option if you have a floppy disk or CD that contains a Windows XP–compatible device driver for the hardware. Insert the disk or CD and click Next.
 Windows XP examines the system’s disk drives, locates the driver, and then installs its. If the wizard finds more than one driver, it asks you to choose the one you want from a list.
Install from a List or Specific LocationActivate this option if you’ve downloaded a driver from the Internet or if you have a disk or CD that has a driver that isn’t compatible with Windows XP. Click Next.

If you choose the latter option and click Next, you see the dialog box shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. This dialog box appears if you elected to install the device driver from a list or a specific location.

Again, you have two ways to proceed:

Search for the Best Driver in These Locations.Activate this option if you’ve downloaded the device driver from the Internet. If the driver is on a floppy disk or CD, leave the Search Removable Media check box activated; otherwise, deactivate it. If the driver is on your hard disk or a network drive, activate the Include This Location in the Search check box and then enter the full path of the folder that contains the driver. Click Next.


If the downloaded driver is contained within a compressed file (such as a Zip file), be sure to decompress the file before moving on to the next wizard step.

Don’t Search. I Will Choose the Driver to Install.Activate this option if you have a floppy disk or CD containing a device driver that isn’t compatible with Windows XP. Note that you should also choose this option if you want to use one of Windows XP’s built-in drivers that you think might be a close enough match for the device. Click Next, choose the appropriate hard ware type, and click Next again. In the next wizard dialog box, you have two choices:
  • If you have a floppy disk or CD, insert it, click Have Disk, type d:\, where d is the letter of the drive that holds the disk or CD, and click OK.

  • If you want to pick an existing Windows XP driver, activate the Show Compatible Hardware check box, select the driver that closely matches your device, and then click Next.

Installing Legacy Devices

When it comes to installing legacy devices (that is, devices that don’t support Plug and Play), your best bet by far is to run the setup program that the manufacturer supplies either on a floppy disk, a CD, or as part of the driver download. If you’re asked, choose the Windows XP driver, if one is available. If no Windows XP driver is available, the Windows 2000 driver will work in most cases. If the device only has drivers for Windows NT, Windows 9x, or Windows Me, these almost certainly will not work with Windows XP, so there’s no point in installing them. Go to the manufacturer’s website and look for a Windows XP (or, at worst, a Windows 2000) driver to download.

If you don’t have a setup program for the device, Windows XP might still be able to support the hardware using one of its legacy device drivers. To do this, you need to run one of Windows XP’s hardware wizards. Some of these wizards are device-specific, so you should use those where appropriate:

  • Joystick or other game device— Launch Control Panel’s Game Controllers icon and then click Add.

  • Modem— Launch Control Panel’s Phone and Modem Options icon, display the Modems tab, and click Add.

  • Printer— Select Start, Printers and Faxes, and then click the Add a Printer link.

  • Scanner or digital camera— Launch Control Panel’s Scanners and Cameras icon, and then click the Add an Imaging Device link.

For all other devices, connect the device and then run the Add Hardware Wizard:

Launch Control Panel’s Add Hardware icon.

In the wizard’s initial dialog box, click Next. The wizard searches for new Plug and Play hardware.

When the wizard asks whether the hardware is connected, activate the Yes, I Have Already Connected the Hardware option and click Next. The wizard displays a list of installed hardware.

At the bottom of the list, select Add a New Hardware Device and click Next.

You now have two choices:

Search for and Install the Hardware AutomaticallyActivate this option if you have a device that the wizard is capable of locating using hardware detection. This route often works with modems, printers, video cards, and network cards. Click Next to start the detection process. If the detection failed, the wizard will let you know. In this case, click Next and proceed with step 6.
Install the Hardware That I Manually Select from a ListActivate this option to pick out the device by hand. Click Next.

Select the hardware category that applies to your device. If you don’t see an appropriate category, select Show All Devices. Click Next.

Depending on the hardware category you selected, a new wizard might appear. (For example, if you chose the Modems category, the Install New Modem Wizard appears.) In this case, follow the wizard’s dialog boxes. Otherwise, a dialog box appears with a list of manufacturers and models. You have two choices:

  • Specify your device by first selecting the device’s manufacturer in the Manufacturers list and then selecting the name of the device in the Models list.

  • If you have a manufacturer’s floppy disk, CD, or downloaded file, click Have Disk, enter the appropriate path and filename in the Install from Disk dialog box, and click OK.

Click Next. Windows XP installs the device.

Click Finish to complete the wizard.

Controlling Driver Signing Options

Device drivers that meet the Designed for Windows XP specifications have been tested for compatibility with Microsoft and then given a digital signature. This signature tells you that the driver works properly with Windows XP and that it hasn’t been changed since it was tested. (For example, the driver hasn’t been infected by a virus or Trojan horse program.) When you’re installing a device, if Windows XP comes across a driver that has not been digitally signed, it displays a dialog box similar to the one shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Windows XP displays a dialog box similar to this one when it comes across a device driver that does not have a digital signature.

If you click STOP Installation, Windows XP aborts the driver installation and you won’t be able to use the device. This is the most prudent choice in this situation because an unsigned driver can cause all kinds of havoc, including lock-ups, BSODs (Blue Screens of Death), and other system instabilities. You should check the manufacturer’s website for a Windows XP–compatible driver, or upgrade to a newer model that’s supported by Windows XP.

Having said all that, although not installing an unsigned driver is the prudent choice, it’s not the most convenient choice because in most cases you probably want to use the device now rather than later. The truth is that most of the time these unsigned drivers cause no problems and work as advertised, so it’s probably safe to continue with the installation. In any case, Windows XP always sets a restore point prior to the installation of an unsigned driver, so you can always restore your system to its previous state should anything go wrong.


Test your system thoroughly after installing the driver: Use the device, open and use your most common applications, and run some disk utilities. If anything seems awry, use the restore point to roll back the system to its previous configuration.

By default, Windows XP gives you the option of either continuing or aborting the installation of the unsigned driver. You can change this behavior to automatically accept or reject all unsigned drivers by following these steps:

Launch Control Panel’s System icon.

Display the Hardware tab.

Click Driver Signing. Windows XP displays the Driver Signing Options dialog box, shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Use the Driver Signing Options dialog box to specify how Windows XP should handle unsigned device drivers.

Choose an option in the What Action Do You Want Windows to Take? group:

IgnoreChoose this option if you want Windows XP to install all unsigned drivers.
WarnChoose this option if you want Windows XP to warn you about an unsigned driver by displaying the dialog box in Figure 2.
BlockChoose this option if you want Windows XP not to install any unsigned drivers.

If you want this action to apply to all the users of the computer, leave the Make This Action the System Default check box activated.

Click OK.


There are some device drivers that Windows XP knows will cause system instabilities. Windows XP will simply refuse to load these problematic drivers, no matter which action you choose in the Driver Signing Options dialog box. In this case, you’ll see a dialog box similar to the one in Figure 2, except this one tells you that the driver will not be installed and your only choice is to cancel the installation.

Other -----------------
- Setting Up and Accessing a Small Network - Walking the Walk: Topology and the Lay of the LAN
- Setting Up and Accessing a Small Network - Hardware: NICs and Other Network Knickknacks
- Setting Up and Accessing a Small Network : Understanding Networking
- Troubleshooting Windows XP Startup
- Useful Windows XP Logon Strategies : Customizing the Logon
- Custom Startups with BOOT.INI
Top 10
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Finding containers and lists in Visio (part 2) - Wireframes,Legends
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Finding containers and lists in Visio (part 1) - Swimlanes
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Formatting and sizing lists
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Adding shapes to lists
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Sizing containers
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 3) - The Other Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 2) - The Data Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 1) - The Format Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Form Properties and Why Should You Use Them - Working with the Properties Window
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Using the Organization Chart Wizard with new data
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows Azure
Windows Server