Fixing Device-Specific Problems

More often than not, problems are unique to a particular type of component. For example, modems often suffer similar types of problems, and not necessarily the same as those that affect other types of hardware. The following guidelines should help you solve most component-specific problems (as opposed to general lockups or application error messages).

Tip

A non-functioning component can be a great excuse for an upgrade, especially considering the amount of time and money involved in getting your old hardware to work properly. Consider the fact that a new device may work better or may be faster than the component it replaces, often at half the cost.

Video Cards (Display Adapters)

Most likely, without the correct video driver installed, you still should be able to use Windows at a bare-minimum resolution of 640 480 with an 8-bit color depth (256 colors); this is a standard mode supported by all video adapters and is Windows’s default display mode. If you can display this mode but no others, odds are you don’t have the proper drivers installed. In fact, nearly all video card problems are caused by faulty or incorrect video drivers.

Whether or not you’re currently experiencing problems with your video, you can often significantly improve your video card’s performance — and possibly the stability of your entire system — by installing the latest drivers available from the manufacturer of your video card. Such optimized drivers can increase speed, offer higher ...

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