Access Device Manager XP // IT Management Solutions

Access Device Manager XP

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

In Windows XP, the Device Manager is a centralized console for configuring all of your system's hardware. If a piece of hardware is malfunctioning, you will almost always be alerted through the Device Manager.

Unfortunately, Device Manager errors tend to consist of error codes and a brief, often cryptic, description of the problem. IT administrators need to familiarize themselves with error codes used by Windows XP Device Manager so they will know how to fix the problem.

You access Device Manager by opening the Control Panel and clicking the Performance and Maintenance links, followed by the System link. Upon doing so, Windows will display the System Properties sheet. Select the properties sheet's Hardware tab, and click the Device Manager button. Windows will now open the Device Manager, shown in Figure A.


Figure A: This is the Device Manager.

Device Manager is organized in a hierarchical fashion. Normally, the Device Manager will initially display only device categories. This keeps the view nice and clean, and you can simply expand a category to gain more information about the devices in that category.

The exception to this rule is that if a device is having problems, then the category containing the problem device will be expanded automatically upon opening Device Manager. For example, in Figure A, you can see three devices that are configured incorrectly and listed within the Other Devices section.

In this case, I know what the problem is: No drivers have been installed for these particular devices. I can tell the problem is driver related, because the screen capture was taken from my wife's computer, and I'm the one that set it up. If, however, I didn't already know what the problem was, I could simply right click on a device and select the Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu. Upon doing so, Windows would display the device's properties sheet, as shown in Figure B.


Figure B: A device's properties sheet gives you much more detailed information about a device. As you can see in the figure, the properties sheet's General tab contains a Device Status section. This section shows that the drivers for the device are not installed and that the error code is 28. It even tells me that I can click the Reinstall Drivers button to take care of the problem. It just doesn't get any easier than that.

Unfortunately, not all Device Manager errors are that easy to decipher. You will notice that the error codes are not sequential. This is because some of the Device Manager error codes that existed in other versions of Windows have been retired and are not used in Windows XP.

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