Best way of troubleshooting problem devices
Hacking the registry and other dangerous activities can be fun but also tiresome, especially when you're not quite sure what's wrong and how to fix it. This is especially true of device problems—figuring out which registry setting to change in order to get your device to work can be a nightmare.
The easiest way of troubleshooting a problem device on Windows platforms is to simply remove the device and reinstall it, letting Windows redetect the device and install the necessary drivers and create the registry settings needed for it to work. By removing and reinstalling the device I mean either physically remove it from the computer (if possible) or open Device Manger, right-click on the problem device, and select Uninstall. Then reboot your computer and Windows should automatically detect the device and try to reinstall it. And if Windows can't seem to automatically detect the new device, just run the Add New Hardware wizard from Control Panel. In my experience the large majority of all device problems can be fixed this way, provided you've downloaded the latest drivers for the device from the manufacturer's website.
Mitch Tulloch is President of MTIT Enterprises, an IT content development company based in Winnipeg, Canada. Prior to starting his own company in 1998, Mitch worked as a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) for Productivity Point International. Mitch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking and security and has written 14 books and over a hundred articles on various topics. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch is also a professor at Jones International University (JIU) where he teaches graduate-level courses in Information Security Management (ISM) for their Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program. For more information see http://www.mtit.com.