Chapter 13. Hardware

Hacks 115-120

You probably notice your hardware only when it causes problems. When everything goes according to plan, it’s invisible, which is the way we like it.

You can tweak your hardware in a variety of ways to make it run better, and you can use XP’s built-in utilities to troubleshoot any problems. In this chapter, we’ll look at hacks to help you troubleshoot hardware problems, remap your keyboard, make laptop and LCD screens more readable, and set up a cheap network by connecting two PCs.

Troubleshoot Hardware by Decoding Device Manager Error Messages

The Device Manager is a great hardware troubleshooting tool, but you’ll need this hack to make sense of the error messages it relays to you. Here’s how to decode the cryptic messages and how to use the messages to solve hardware woes.

If you install and uninstall enough hardware on your system, error messages and system conflicts are a way of life. XP does a far better job than previous versions of Windows at keeping conflicts to a minimum, but on occasion they still pop up.

The first step in resolving these problems is to use XP’s built-in Hardware Troubleshooters. Choose Start Help and Support Hardware “Fixing a hardware problem,” and under “Fix a problem” click Hardware Troubleshooter. It’s a wizard-style interface, so follow the prompts.

But that won’t always solve the conflict. Luckily, XP includes a built-in way to resolve system conflicts by hand: using the Device Manager, XP’s best all-around ...

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