The main utility for managing hardware devices and drivers is the
Device Manager. The Device Manager can be started by either
clicking the Device Manager button on the Hardware
tab of the System Properties, or by selecting
Device Manager in the Computer Management console.
Device Manager provides information about the hardware installed
on the computer. It also allows you to update the device drivers,
modify hardware settings, and troubleshoot problems such as resource
conflicts. For more information about Device Manager and its options,
check out the following two pages:
of Device Manager in Windows 2000 and Windows XP
to Configure Device Manager to Display Detailed Information
There are too many options and settings related to "Display
Devices" to cover them all in these TechNotes, so we are going
to cover only the basics and the essentials for the exam.
The video adapter and monitor settings can be altered on the Display
Properties. The Display Properties can be accessed
by either the Display control panel applet, or right-clicking
the desktop and clicking Properties, and has the following
- Allows you to personalize your computer by choosing a theme.
A theme includes a background, icons, sounds, and other bells
- Allows you to configure a background or color for the desktop.
When you click the Customize Desktop button, you'll be
able to add/remove/change common desktop icons such as Internet
Explorer and My Documents. On this tab, the Desktop Cleanup wizard
can also be enabled to run every 60 days. Or click the Clean
Desktop Wizard to run it immediately. Click the Web
tab on the Desktop Items dialog box to configure Windows
XP to display a web page on the desktop.
Saver - Allows you to configure a screen saver and protect
it with a password. The Power button opens the Power
Option dialog box to configure power saving setting for the
monitor. Power options will be discussed in more detail later
in these TechNotes.
- Allows you to change the appearance of Windows items such as
buttons, dialog boxes, etc. by choosing a style, changing the
colors, or choosing different fonts. The Effects button
opens a dialog box for more bells and whistles than can be used
to change the appearance of Windows XP. A mentionable option is
the Use the following options to smooth the edges of screen
fonts. Setting this to ClearType will significantly
improve reading text on an LCD display.
- The Settings tab is displayed below:
the Screen resolution and Color quality (also
known as Color depth) can be configured on the Settings
tab, this is often done using the Advanced properties to attain
the best refresh frequency.
the Screen resolution and Color quality (also
known as Color depth) can be configured on the Settings
tab, this is often done using the Advanced properties to
attain the best refresh frequency.
A video adapter is required to install Windows XP, hence is often
already installed during Setup. In many situations however, you
want to install an updated driver for the video adapter. To install
an updated or third-party driver click the Advanced button
on the Settings tab of the Display Properties,
and then click Properties on the Adapter tab.
This will open the display adapter's Properties, which
can also be accessed from Device Manager. Click the Update
Driver button on the Driver tab to start the Hardware
Update wizard, which allows you to install a new driver. Windows
XP supports up to 10 displays to be used simultaneously, which requires
multiple PCI or AGP video adapters.
Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is an
interface for the system board that allows power management for
hardware, the OS, and applications. In an ACPI computer the operating
system configures and monitors the computer, not the BIOS hardware
settings. The operating system ensures power is only used for devices
used by active applications, allowing you to save power on a laptop
for example. ACPI is usually installed during Windows Setup, but
if some components such as ISA devices or older BIOS's that do not
support ACPI are present, a non-ACPI Hardware Abstraction Layer
(HAL) will be installed instead.
To change power settings that take advantage of
ACPI, use the Power Options control panel applet. If the
computer does not support ACPI, the Power Options properties
may have an APM tab. APM is short for Advanced Power Management,
and is limited compared to ACPI. ACPI is essential to take full
advantage of power management and Plug and Play in Windows. If you
want to use ACPI you may need to update the BIOS and/or remove non-compliant
devices, and perform an in-place upgrade. This means you
need to re-install Windows XP over the current installation (i.e.
upgrade) to replace the non-ACPI HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer)
with the HAL that supports ACPI.
Usually you don't need to configure the keyboard because it is required
to install Windows XP and it is configured during setup. If the
keyboard is not correctly installed, or you need to replace the
device driver for the keyboard, you can use the Keyboard
control panel applet or the Device Manager to update the
driver. The Keyboard control panel applet also allows you
to set the Repeat delay, Repeat rate, and Cursor
blink rate. If you need to change the layout of the keyboard,
i.e. from UK to US International, you will need to use the Regional
Options control panel applet, which is described in more detail
in our Desktop
Pointing devices such as a mouse, trackball, or touch pad, are usually
configured using the Mouse Control Panel applet. The tabs
and settings of the Mouse Properties often depend on the
manufacturer of the mouse driver installed. Note that the terms
cursor and pointer are interchangeable in the context of pointing
devices. Some of the common mouse settings are:
Cursor Speed and Acceleration
moves the cursor to the default button (i.e. the OK button)
Trails, typically useful for older LCD monitors.
Scheme, allows different themes of pointers.
Installing USB devices is generally a simple task because they support
Plug-and-Play. Many different types of devices use an USB connection,
examples include keyboards, pointing devices, game controllers,
printers, cameras, and remote storage devices. The Device Manager
lists the USB controllers and root hubs under Universal Serial
Bus controllers. If these are not listed, you may need to enable
USB in the BIOS or even update the BIOS.
Network Interface Cards (NICs) are used to connect a computer to
a network. In case of a wired network it connects to the network
cable segment, and in wireless networks it will have an antenna
built-in, or attached. Today's NICs are usually plug-and-play PCI
cards, or PCMCIA for laptops. You can configure a network card by
using the Network Connections applet in the control
panel or the Device Manager.
Modems provide remote access through dial-up
connections, converting analog data to digital and vice versa. Modems
are either internal or external. The latter is connected to a serial
port on the computer whereas internal modems are usually PCI, and
in some cases, older ISA expansion boards. Modems are usually detected
during setup, or during startup in case a modem is installed or
attached after setup. If your modem is not detected, you should
try running the Add Hardware wizard or use the
manufacturer's software to install the drivers. Modems can also
be added, removed, and configured also by using the Phone and
Modem Options applet in the control panel.
Wireless network cards are becoming more common every day. Modern
PCI, USB, and PCMCIA wireless NICs support plug and play, hence
are detected and installed automatically. Configuring a wireless
network card for proper communication usually requires the following
minimal settings that can be configured on the Advanced
tab of the NIC's Properties in Device Manager:
(Service Set Identifier) - Can be thought of as a Windows
workgroup name and should be the same for all clients and access
- Allows you to manually set the channel for Ad-hoc networks.
Type - Windows XP supports both Ad-hoc
and Infrastructure mode for wireless networks. Ah-hoc wireless
networks are peer-to-peer; there are no access points (APs) in
the network, hence clients communicate directly with each other.
In wireless networks running in Infrastructure mode, one or more
APs form the center of the network acting like a hub/intermediate
between the clients. The network type option can also be set to
Save Mode, most wireless NICs support CAM, Fast_PSP, and
Max_PSP. On laptops you should use one of the latter two to save
Smartcard and readers
readers typically connect to either a USB port or a PCMCIA slot,
hence are usually installed by Plug and Play. Windows XP includes
drivers for most popular smartcard equipment, but you should always
check the manufacturer's site for updated software. When the smartcard
reader is installed successfully, you can configure Windows XP to
require a smartcard for logon and individual network connections.
Users do not need to press CTRL+ALT+DEL to log on to a computer
when using a smart card. Instead, the smart card is inserted into
the reader, and users are prompted for a PIN instead of a user name
and password. Windows XP offers a security policy setting that can
be used to define the action that should be taken when a smartcard
is removed from a system. Possible actions are: No Action,
Lock Workstation, and Force Logoff.
(Infrared Data Association)
is a type of serial communication that allows half-duplex
wireless data transmission from 115.2 Kbps (Serial IR) up to 4.0
Mbps (Fast IrDA) and 16.0 Mbps (Very Fast IrDA). It
is typically used to communicate with hand held devices and printers.
Infrared interfaces are either internal such as on PDAs and laptops,
or external such as those connected to an USB or COM port. Internal
IrDA interfaces should be detected and automatically installed during
Setup or when a computer starts. If you need to manually install
an internal IrDA interface that isn't automatically detected, or
an external IrDA interface connected to a COM port, you need to
use the Add Hardware Wizard and select the manufacturer
from the list or provide a driver disk.
To establish a direct infrared network connection between computers,
create an Advanced connection in Network Connections,
choose Connect directly to another computer, and configure
the computer as either Guest or Host. The computer that
hosts information that will be accessed by another computer should
be configured as Host. The computer used to access information on
the host computer, should be configured as Guest. In the Advanced
connection properties choose the Infrared port as the Device
for this connection on the host, and on the quest select the
InfraRed port at Select a device.
In many situations you don't need to configure a network connection,
e.g. when transferring information between a PC and a PDA or printer.
You would only need to align your devices to make sure the infrared
transceivers are pointing at each other and are within the maximum
range. When the devices are correctly aligned, an infrared icon
appears in the System Tray of the Task Bar, informing you the connection
Scanners and Cameras
Most modern scanners and cameras support
plug and play. When you add such a camera or scanner, the Scanner
and Camera Wizard will start automatically. You can add a scanner
or camera manually by using the Scanners and Cameras control
By default, pictures from a scanner or camera are placed in the
My Pictures folder. When a camera is connected and turned on it
should appear in My Computer under Imaging Devices. This
allows the camera, the memory card in it, to be treated as a remote
storage devices and for example, drag and drop files from and to
Hand Held Devices
Hand held devices, such as PDA's, MP3 players, and GPS devices,
are usually equipped with a USB or wireless interface (i.e. 802.11b,
Bluetooth, InfraRed) and are therefore easy to install. Most hand
held devices come with their own software to set up a connection
to a PC and synchronize data.
is a feature that is used to control file replacement during Windows
XP Setup and installation of drivers and other software. All files
from Microsoft include a digital signature to ensure the integrity
of the file. Driver Signing options can be configured by clicking
the Driver Signing button on the Hardware tab
of the System Properties.
Following are the available options on the
Driver Signing Options dialog box:
- Ignore: This will install all files,
with or without a digital signature.
- Warn: Displays a warning message before
an attempt is made to install an unsigned file.
- Block: Prevents installation of unsigned
You can mark the checkbox Make this action
the system default to ensure the same driver signing options
apply for all users.
the System File Checker (SFC.EXE) command-line utility
to scan all protected files and check the Digital Signatures. The
System File Checker also can be used to schedule scanning of protected
files on boot. The File Signature Verification, SIGVERIF.EXE,
is another Windows utility that can be used to check the system
for unsigned system files.
XP Professional supports Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) with a
maximum of two CPUs. To turn a uni-processor into a multi-processor
computer, use Device Manager to update the driver of the
Computer component after you physically installed the second
Current related exam objectives for the 70-270 exam:
Implementing, Managing, Monitoring, and Troubleshooting Hardware Devices
Implement, manage, and troubleshoot display devices.
- Configure multiple-display support.
- Install, configure, and troubleshoot a video adapter.
Configure Advanced Configuration Power Interface (ACPI).
Implement, manage, and troubleshoot input and output (I/O) devices.
- Monitor, configure, and troubleshoot I/O devices, such
as printers, scanners, multimedia devices, mouse, keyboard, and smart
- Monitor, configure, and troubleshoot multimedia hardware, such as
- Install, configure, and manage modems.
- Install, configure, and manage Infrared Data Association (IrDA)
- Install, configure, and manage wireless devices.
- Install, configure, and manage USB devices.
- Install, configure, and manage hand held devices.
- Install, configure, and manage network adapters.
Manage and troubleshoot drivers and driver signing.
Monitor and configure multiprocessor computers.