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Windows XP Professional: The Missing Manual by L.J. Zacker, Craig Zacker, David Pogue

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Connecting New Gadgets

In books, magazines, and online chatter about Windows, you’ll frequently hear people talk about installing a new component. In many cases, they aren’t talking about physically hooking it up to the PC—they’re talking about installing its driver software.

The truth is that you generally have to install both the hardware and the software. The ritual goes like this:

  1. Run the installer on the setup disk, if one came with the new equipment.

    Doing so copies the driver files to your hard drive, where Windows will be able to find it in the later steps of the installation.

  2. Physically connect the gadget.

    That is, connect it to the inside or outside of the computer, according to the instructions that accompanied the equipment.

    The beauty of USB gadgets, FireWire gadgets, and PC cards is that they identify themselves to Windows XP the instant they’re plugged in. For this kind of gizmo, there is no step 3.

    Other kinds of gear aren’t so lucky. In general, you must turn off your PC before connecting or disconnecting components from other kinds of connectors. When you turn it on again (after hooking up the new gadget), Windows XP examines every connector, port, and slot on your machine, checking to see whether or not it’s now occupied by a piece of equipment it hasn’t seen before.

  3. Install the driver software into Windows.

    If your new gear is Plug and Play–compatible (if its box bears a “Designed for Windows” logo, for example), then skip this step. The simple act of connecting ...

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