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In computing, Troubleshooting from Device Manager is a process by which Microsoft Windows users diagnose and repair problematic hardware or components of their Personal Computer. The Device Manager is a Control Panel applet that gives a graphical view of the hardware installed on a computer. To access the Device Manager in Windows 7, click the Windows icon/start menu, click Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, then click Device Manager. Here you can change the way your hardware is configured or how it interacts with the rest of your computer. Also, you can check the status of your hardware and update the device drivers for your hardware.
Types of icons
A disabled device has either been manually disabled by a user or by some way of error. In Windows 7, this is denoted by a grey downward pointing arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the device's icon, or a red X in some older versions of Microsoft Windows. To enable a device, right-click the device and click Enable.
Hardware not working properly
Hardware may not work properly for a multitude of reasons. If Windows recognizes a problem with a device, it is denoted by a black exclamation point (!) on a yellow triangle in the lower right-hand corner of the device's icon.
Hardware not recognized
Hardware may not be recognized if it is not installed properly or not compatible with your system. This is denoted by a yellow question mark in place of the device's icon.
Device manually selected
A blue "i" on a white field in the lower right-hand corner of a Device's icon indicates that the Use automatic settings feature is not selected for the device and that the resource was manually selected. Note that this does not indicate a problem or disabled state.
Updating Device Driver Software
Updating drivers in Windows 7 is necessary when a hardware device doesn't install automatically, when the hardware is having some kind of problem, or as part of some other troubleshooting with the hardware.
If you have a hardware device that isn't functioning properly, or you're installing a program or game that states it requires newer drivers than you currently have installed, you should check Windows Update for updated drivers. You might also want to set Windows Update to check automatically for recommended driver updates.
To update your drivers for hardware devices, refer to the following steps:
- Download the latest drivers from the hardware manufacturer's website. Drivers from the manufacturer will be the most current but there are several other driver download options.
- As part of this driver update process, you can choose to update drivers from a hardware installation disc or from Windows Update but updating drivers manually (as described below) is usually more effective. (Note: Many drivers come integrated with software that automatically installs the driver. The manufacturer's website will tell you if the driver download is packaged this way and if so, the steps below aren't usually necessary.)
- Open Device Manager from the Control Panel in Windows 7. (Note: There are also several other ways of opening Device Manager in Windows 7 but doing so from the Control Panel is probably the easiest.)
- With Device Manager open, locate the hardware device that you want to update the drivers for. (Note: Navigate through the categories of hardware devices by clicking the > icon. Specific hardware devices are listed under the major hardware categories.)
- After finding the hardware you're updating drivers for, right click on the hardware's name or icon and choose Properties. In this Properties window, click the Driver tab.
- Click the Update Driver... button. (Note: The Update Driver Software wizard will begin.)
- On the How do you want to search for driver software? window, click on Browse my computer for driver software.
- In the next window labeled Browse for driver software on your computer, click on Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer, located at the bottom of the window.
- Click the Have Disk... button located under the text box.
- Click the Browse... button on the Install From Disk dialog box that appeared.
- In the Locate File dialog box that appears next, navigate to the folder that you extracted as part of the driver download in Step 1 above. There may be multiple folders within the extracted folder so be sure to work your way to the one for Windows 7 if it exists. Don't worry if you don't find one labeled for Windows 7.
- Click any INF file that displays in the file list and click the Open button. (Note: INF files are the only files that Device Manager accepts for driver setup information. See the tips at the bottom of the page for some INF file troubleshooting.)
- Click the OK button back on the Install From Disk dialog box.
- Choose the newly added hardware in the text box and then click the Next > button.
- If you're prompted with a message warning you about how the device driver may not be compatible with your hardware, click the Yes button to continue installing the driver. Many drivers are not Windows 7 certified but are still perfectly safe to install. (Important: If you're installing a driver obtained from anywhere other than the manufacturer of the hardware, click the No button instead and obtain drivers from the manufacturer directly.)
- The Windows 7 Update Driver Software wizard will now use the instructions provided in the INF file from Step 10 to install the updated drivers for your hardware.
- Follow any additional instructions on screen to complete the driver update.
- You may be prompted to restart your computer after the driver update is complete. (Note: Not all driver updates require a restart of your computer. Even if you're not prompted, I always recommend restarting anyway. The driver update process involves changes to the Windows Registry and other important areas of your computer and restarting is a good way to confirm that updating drivers hasn't negatively impacted some other area of Windows.)
- If a driver update causes a problem, you can always roll back the driver.
Device Manager error codes are numerical codes, accompanied by an error message, that help you determine what kind of issue Windows is having with a piece of hardware.
- Code 1 - This device has not been configured correctly.
- Code 3 - The driver for this device may be corrupted, or your system may be running low on memory.
- Code 10 - This device cannot start.
- Code 12 - Not enough resources for the device. If you want to use this device, you will need to disable one or more other devices on your system.
- Code 14 - You must restart your computer for the device to work properly.
- Code 16 - Windows can't identify all the resources this device requires.
- Code 18 - Drivers for this device must be reinstalled.
- Code 19 - Configuration information in Windows registry is damaged or corrupted for this device. Uninstall and reinstall this device to solve this problem.
- Code 21 - Windows is removing this device.
- Code 22 - This device is disabled.
- Code 24 - This device is not present, does not have all its drivers installed, or is not working properly.
- Code 28 - The drivers for this device are not installed.
- Code 29 - The firmware of the device did not give it the required resources.
- Code 31 - Windows cannot load the drivers required for this device.
- Code 32 - A driver for this device has been disabled.
- Code 33 - Windows cannot determine which resources are required for this device.
- Code 34 - Windows cannot determine the settings for this device. Consult the documentation that came with this device and use the Resource tab to set the configuration.
- Code 35 - Your computer's firmware does not include enough information to properly configure and use this device. To use this device, contact your computer manufacturer to obtain a firmware or BIOS update.
- Code 36 - This device is requesting a PCI interrupt but is configured for an ISA interrupt (or vice versa). Use the computer's system setup program to reconfigure the interrupt for this device.
- Code 37 - Windows failed to initialize the device driver for this hardware.
- Code 38 - Windows cannot run the driver for this device because a previous instance of the driver exists.
- Code 39 - Windows cannot load the driver for this device. The driver may be corrupted or missing.
- Code 40 - Windows cannot access this hardware because its service key information in the registry is missing or corrupted.
- Code 41 - Windows successfully loaded the device driver for this hardware but cannot find the hardware device.
- Code 42 - Windows cannot run the driver for this device because there is a duplicate device already running in the system. (Code 42)
- Code 43 - Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems.
- Code 44 - An application or service has shut down this hardware device.
- Code 45 - This hardware device is not connected to the computer.
- Code 46 - Windows cannot gain access to this hardware device because the operating system is in the process of shutting down.
- Code 47 - Windows cannot use this device because it has been prepared for safe removal, but it has not been removed from the computer.
- Code 48 - The driver for this device has been blocked from starting because it is known to have problems with Windows. Contact the hardware vendor for a new driver.
- Code 49 - Windows cannot start new hardware devices because the system hive is too large and exceeds the Registry Size Limit.
- Code 52 - Windows cannot verify the digital signature for the drivers required for this device. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source.