Finding Device Drivers

Device Driver Installation Guide

Windows in notorious for needing Device drivers for each and every piece of hardware a system has. Sometime it can use generic drivers but to get the most out of your hardware you need the driver that were written by the hardware manufacturer.

If you are lucky you know the model number of the device you need a driver for and you know the manufacturer. If this is the can you can usually go to the manufacturer’s website and find the drivers in the support section. A good example would be an HP Printer. HP printers always have their model number printed on the outside and HP’s website is pretty easy to navigate. Just go to and click on the “Software and Driver Downloads” link near the bottom left, than enter your model number (let’s say you have a deskjet 932c. A list of search results will come up, click on Deskject 932c, select your operating system and then click the file you want to download. In this case we will probably want the full feature driver. That’s all you have to do, installation should be as simple as running the executable.

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Windows Password Recovery

Windows Password Recovery

Did you forget your windows password? Or maybe you never knew it 😉 Whatever the case to use the procedure I’m going to show you, you will need physical access to the computer so I doubt you are actually a hacker.

The process I am about to describe will work in any windows NT based system. So you can reset your password in Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2003 and even Windows Vista possibly but I havn’t tried that one. Using this method it is not possible to find the password just reset it to something else or make it blank.

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Starting a Computer Repair Business

Starting a Computer Repair Business

If you are like me you grew up always being interested in Computers. I was always reading thick computer books for fun and tinkering with all the computers we had at home and started collecting more and more until I had enough to setup my own home network. I felt like I could fix anything with the computer and I was not too far from the truth. Then it started, my friends and family and acquaintances started wanting help with their computer. Being the generous guy that I was I help them out and didn’t charge them anything. But then it started happening more and more and I thought about charging but had no idea how much
or when or anything. If you feel like you are in the same place I might be able to help you start your computer repair business.

Like most things in life to get anything out of it you first have to put something into it. You can’t expect to start a business without putting any effort or capital into it. So you might have to spend a little money on marketing and promotion. I would say the first part about making your business is making it look like a business. The best way to do that is by making some business cards. I don’t know why but somehow a little piece of paper with your name and number on it and maybe a little eye candy has a way of making people take you seriously. After you have a business card print out a thousand or so (after all you are
serious about this, right?)

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Windows XP Won’t Boot

Windows XP won’t boot

If you’ve worked with windows for 2 minutes you’ve probably been exposed to the Blue Screen of Death or BsD. Usually Blue Screens are rather harmless and go away after a reboot. But when they don’t, when they stick around and keep reoccurring after every reboot, then you have problems. The first thing you should do is try to boot into safe mode. You can do this by pressing F8 after you hear your computer beep while it is booting up. If it boots into safe mode all is well and good and you just have a start-up program gumming up your computer. (See my Spyware Removal Guide for information on how to manage start-up entries.) If safe mode generates the same blue screen you have more work ahead of you.

If you can’t boot into Windows XP, not even into safe mode, and you’re getting a message like, “unmountable boot volume” on the blue screen they a simple chkdsk might fix the problem. The tricky part is booting your computer so you can run chkdsk. The easiest way to do that is to use a windows installation CD. To do boot off of a CD you first need to configure your BIOS to look for an Operating System on the CD before it tries the hard drive. Usually this is done by pressing ‘del’, ‘F2’, or some other key to enter setup and adjusting the boot priority so that the CDROM is first. When Windows setup finally loads (it takes several minutes) all you have to do is press ‘r’ to enter the recovery console.

Sometimes it will prompt you for the administrator’s password. Most people I encounter don’t know this or think they don’t have one. See the Password Recovery Guide to find out how you can reset your administrator password.

Once you are in the recovery console you will be greeted with a friendly command prompt. The first thing you are going to want to try is chkdsk. Simply typing “chkdsk” should scan your hard drive and fix any problems it finds. Sometimes it is necessary to use “chkdsk /p” and if you want to be really thorough and have several hours to burn you can use “chkdsk /r” that causes it to do a surface scan of the disk. If chkdsk get’s hung up for more than an hour, as in the percent complete doesn’t change for a long time, there is most likely something physically wrong with your hard drive it will have to be replaced. Once chkdsk complete restart the computer by typing “exit” and see if windows will boot now.

If windows still doesn’t boot go back to the recovery console and run “fixboot.” fixboot will copy certain files needed for your hard drive to boot onto your hard this will fix the problem if your computer was complaining about a missing ntldr or something like that. If fixboot doesn’t fix the problem then you should try fixmbr. fixmbr recreates the master boot record of your drive, it usually is only needed if you installed some other boot loader like grub and you want to revert back to using just Windows XP. However sometimes the master bot record becomes corrupt and it is necessary to restore it using fixmbr.

If you are getting black screens with messages like “Windows could not start beacuse following file is missing or corrupt \windows\system32\config\system” then you have a registry problem. Also if you are getting Blue screens with the stop 0x0000007E or similar messages then you might be able to fix by restoring your registry using the recovery console. Microsoft wrote a very nice article on how to do this called How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting It involves booting in to the recovery console as described above and copying the registry files from a backup.

If windows still does not boot after using all the above methods then you’ll probably need to reinstall it. There are basically two ways to do this, a repair install or a new install. A repair install is usually preferred because it does not reset your settings or programs, the registry remains intact for the most part and when it is finished your computer will work just like it did before. With a new install windows will be like a blank slate and you probably have to reinstall most of the programs that were previously installed. Both of these can be done without loosing any information. To do a repair install you need the same edition of Windows XP that is installed on the computer. So if you have Windows XP Home you need the Windows XP Home disc or the repair install will not be an option for you.

If you are still getting blue screens or other errors after doing a reinstall of windows I would verify the integrity of my hard drive. There are many ways of doing this and most hard drive manufactures provide diagnostic software on their website. OEMs such as Dell have their own diagnostic software that they ship with their systems. However, there is an option that works with any system and any hard drive, that is the Ultimate Boot CD or UBCD. You can download it at the ultimate boot cd website.

If at this point you are sure your hard drive is functional and windows XP still does not boot you will need to reinstall windows.