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Troubleshooting Installed Devices techniques...

Troubleshooting installed devices is one of the most interesting jobs that I have done.

Finding out why an installed device is not operating is one of my favorite things to do. This may not be the case for you. You have a device that is not working and you need it to complete a job, a document, or heck play a game and you are not interested in what I like to do!  Smiley for you...

We will assume that you have checked the Device manager and the device in question is not there.

Ok then lets get started!


First is the device an embedded device on the motherboard or a card?

Second you need to ask yourself some questions :  (I could ask but then my answer would be different than yours!)

  • When did it stop?
  • Did you change anything before you noticed it stopped?
  • Did you add or remove any hardware?
  • Delete any drivers? (By it I am assuming you are supplying the device like a hard drive, CD ROM, Sound Card, or NIC.)

Troubleshooting Installed Devices Instructions:

  • If it was a hard drive or CD/DVD ROM go to the hard drive trouble shooting guide.
  • If this is an embedded device go to the BIOS setup, if it is a installed card check to see if it is seated properly, you will have to open the case to see if it is seated correctly. Observe ESD! 
  • You will need to know the BIOS setup keystroke when you power up your system.
  • Go into the BIOS setup, depending on the device you will either go to the 'Storage', 'PCI', 'PCIpnp'. All you are looking for is any indication that the device has gave the BIOS program an error or is missing from the list of embedded devices.
  • If it is there then you know the system sees the device, it still may have a physical problem that is stopping if from working.
  • When you are done checking the BIOS setting 'Save' the settings and exit, it might be that the BIOS has become corrupt and you have fixed it!
  • Let the system finish the startup into the Operating System, I will assume that you are using a Windows OS for the rest of this procedure.

With computers you can also use the smaller condensed "Check list" to accomplish a single repair task.

Once the system is running and you have logged on, did you see the "New Hardware found' Wizard" if so let it configure your installed device and then test it, you are done! If not you need to do some more troubleshooting.

Right click on 'My Computer' when the menu opens go to 'Manage' scroll down to 'Device Manager'. Is the device there? No go to installing devices.

  • Yes? Locate your device, is it listed by name or is it a generic" yellow "?. Either way right click on the device, go to properties. On the General tab check the Device status. The status reports either working properly or there is an error. Any error that the OS reports you will have to check Microsoft's web site to decode it. You have a failed device and you may need to be replace it.
  • No error code: check the Device usage box, if it is reporting 'Do not use this device.... (disable)' change to 'Use this device (enable)'. Next go to Driver tab it should report a Driver Provider, Date, Version, and if it is a signed driver. If it is there it isn't a driver listed close the properties page.

Troubleshooting Installed Devices Driver issues:

  • Note the names of the drivers listed, if you have the install program or media have it handy. You may want to copy the drivers to another folder for safe keeping if you do not have the media with the original drivers or the updated drivers.
  • The assumption at this time is that the drivers or the registry entry for the device are corrupt in some way. We do not want to use them.
  • Uninstall the device. You will have to restart the system and reinstall the device drivers through the "New Hardware found" Wizard. Once it is complete did that fix the problem?

No? Open the device manager, check the device, did the driver change do any thing? Are the drivers installed? Any hardware errors. If you still have a non functional device consider it failed and needs to be replaced.

Note: Embedded devices can be disabled in the BIOS. If your motherboard is out of warranty and you have an open slot you can disable the device and install an add on card to take care of that function.

Also consider that if an embedded device has failed the motherboard needs to be replaced as soon as possible because when one device fails then others or the motherboard will fail. This is a cascade effect to all the embedded devices on the motherboard.

If you have a piece of hardware and can not find a driver for it try this resource:


Emergency Repair
isk (ERD) - Will Yours Work?

Repair Disk

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You keyboard isn't thirsty, and it doesn't need calcium. Milk and other liquids will ruin a keyaboard!

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