Device Manager Error Codes: When Windows has trouble configuring or starting a device, an error symbol is displayed in the Device Manager and an error code is displayed on the properties sheet. Some errors may not be detected by Windows which will report that the inoperative device is "Running Properly". Some unsupported or unrecognized devices are shunted off to a category of "Other Devices". "Other Devices" is Windows-speak for we haven't a clue what this is and whatever it is, it better not require an Operating System interface.

The thirty defined error codes are listed below. Microsoft has a relatively small set of possible corrective actions:

Enable the Device: In Microsoft's vision, the device has been disabled by the user and can be reenabled via the Device Manager by selecting the appropriate configurations, then rebooting. More commonly the device has been disabled by Windows and it will be necessary to Find Another Driver (not necessarily for the device that is disabled) or do some serious Troubleshooting.

Examine the Configuration: This is recommended in a few cases where device seems to be missing, inoperative or behaving strangely. Check for loose, missing, or misoriented cables; plugs or cards that are not seated properly; or status lights that appear improper. Some plugs can be safely reseated with power on, but many things can not. When in doubt, power off, reseat, and power on.

Find a new Driver: "Driver" here means the device driver(s) itself and/or any .INF files used to install them. Downloadable Driver files generally include all software needed including the .INF files. They are available from many web sites and often from the device manufacturer. They can be installed via Remove and Replace to be described later. In some cases, there is a Driver property sheet in the Device Manager that includes a button for Changing the Driver.

Manually Configure: This entails manually allocating resources from the Resources tab in the Device Manager. Some devices don't allow this and others require clearing the checkmark on Automatic Configuration.

Reboot: This is required in a few cases. It is preferable to shut down the computer and turn the power off, then power back on rather than selecting Restart from the start menu. Cycling power returns the device to it's nominal state. Restarting may not.

Remove and Replace the device: In Microsoft's vision the Device is logically (not physically) removed in the Device Manager (System icon in the Control Panel) then reinstalled using the Control Panel Add New Hardware. That sometimes works. Sometimes it is better/less painful to logically remove the device and allow it to be redetected on the next boot. It may be preferable to boot to Safe Mode before removing the device as extra, redundant, copies of the device entry are visible and removable only in Safe Mode. In many cases, it may be necessary to load device drivers manually rather than allowing Microsoft to search for the device. That is an option available in the Add New Hardware sequence

Remove real mode driver: This indicates that a real mode driver installed in Config.sys, Autoexec.bat, or some other start up file is believed to be conflicting with a protected mode driver for the same device. In many cases, removing the driver by commenting out the line that loads it and restarting will work. In a few cases, it may be preferable to retain the real mode driver and disable the protected mode device, or to find a new, compatible, driver.

Tinker with CMOS: This appears to address situations where PNP and non-PNP devices are in conflict about resources. CMOS settings for this situations are not standardized and may not even be available. It will possibly be necessary to research details of how the specific BIOS handles Plug and Play devices.

Troubleshoot: Windows includes a Hardware Troubleshooter which may be of some value to some users sometime. A more complex and complete troubleshooting discussion is available at Microsoft shuffles their web pages every year or two, but in past shuffles the article Q number (Q133240 in this case) has generally been retained and can be used in searches to locate the new page.

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