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Configure devices and device drivers

Skill: Configure driver settings

Device drivers provide Windows 10 with the information required to populate the device details that you find in Device Manager. If only a few details are available to view, the device might have been installed using the built-in driver, and you might be able to install a driver from the manufacturer’s website, which will give additional information through Device Manager.

In this section, you explore Device Manager, configure driver settings that are available for installed devices, and look at how to view and configure settings for older hardware.

View device settings

The default Device Manager screen enables users to work directly in the Properties dialog box of a device and provides information about the device that the hardware and device driver provide. The following is a review of Device Manager features that you can use to explore the available information so that you can configure the driver settings.

In Device Manager, explore these four menu options.

  • File This menu enables you to exit the console and optionally delete the record of the console customizations you make to the console settings.

  • Action This menu enables you to access the action-specific tasks relating to the highlighted hardware, including Update Driver Software, Disable, Uninstall, Scan For Hardware Changes, Add Legacy Hardware, Properties, and Help.

  • View This menu enables you to change how the console view displays advanced information relating to the devices listed in Device Manager. You can view devices by device type or connection or resources by type or connection. Some hardware is also hidden from normal view, and this option can be set to show hidden devices. The Customize option enables you to show or hide items within the console.

  • Help This menu offers access to help topics relating to Device Manager and the console, plus a link to the Microsoft TechCenter website, which is part of TechNet.

There are several advanced views in Device Manager that standard users do not normally use. These include the connection type and hidden device views, as follows.

  • Show Hidden Devices In previous versions of Windows, printers and non–Plug and Play (PnP) devices could be marked by the device manufacturer as a NoDisplayClass type of device, which prevents it from automatically being displayed in the Device Manager. Devices that have been removed from the computer but whose registry entries are still present can also be found in the hidden devices list.

  • Devices By Type This is the default view and shows devices grouped by familiar device name such as Network Adapters, Ports, and Disk Drives. Each node can be expanded by selecting the > symbol to the left of the node name.

  • Devices By Connection You can view devices based on the hardware connection, such as physical or virtual.

  • Resources By Type Use this option to view resources organized by how they connect to system resources, including Direct Memory Access (DMA), Input/Output (IO), Interrupt Request (IRQ), and Memory. Unless your BIOS allows you to declare that you are not using a Plug And Play–compliant operating system, you will not be able to modify these settings.

  • Resources By Connection This view is for advanced users only and is not particularly useful on a modern system. Viewing the device hardware resources by DMA, IO, IRQ, and Memory were useful for earlier versions of Windows prior to the introduction of Plug And Play, which allowed the operating system to manage automatically the resources required by devices.

Support for older hardware

Some of the advanced settings in Device Manager are seldom used but have been retained for backward compatibility with older devices that do not support Plug And Play. Modern hardware peripherals must support Plug And Play, which allows Windows 10 to assign hardware resources automatically to new devices. If you look on the Resource tab of a device Properties dialog box in Device Manager, you see that a check box is selected indicating that Windows 10 is using automatic settings, as shown in Figure 3-13. The setting is dimmed and not changeable unless you disable the BIOS/UEFI setting, which declares that the operating system is Plug And Play–compliant.

FIGURE 3-13

FIGURE 3-13 Automatic resource allocation

The Plug And Play standard for connecting devices to Windows is nearly two decades old. Some hardware still exists that requires the administrator to install it manually. In Device Manager, the Add Hardware Wizard enables you to install hardware that does not support Plug And Play. To install such hardware, perform the following steps.

  1. Open Device Manager.

  2. On the Action tab, click Add Legacy Hardware.

  3. On the Welcome To The Add Hardware Wizard page, click Next.

  4. Select one of these options:

    • Search For And Install The Hardware Automatically (Recommended)

    • Install The Hardware That I Manually Select From A List

  5. Follow the wizard prompts to finish the configuration of the hardware and provide the driver when requested.