Section 3.6. Hardware

3.6. Hardware

Detect non-Plug and Play devices and install the appropriate drivers.

To open

Control Panel Add Hardware (in Classic view)

Command Prompt hdwwiz.cpl


When you turn on your computer, Windows automatically scans for newly added Plug and Play (PnP) devices and installs drivers for any that it finds. If you're trying to install a device that isn't detected automatically, you'll need to run the Add Hardware Wizard.

When you start the Add Hardware Wizard and click Next, it goes through the following steps:

  1. You're asked whether to have the wizard search for and install the hardware automatically, or whether you want to choose the hardware from a list. It's best to have the wizard search automatically.

  2. The wizard scans your system for any newly attached PnP devices. If one or more devices are found, the appropriate drivers are located and installed.

  3. If no new devices are found in step 2 (or if you decide in step 1 to choose hardware from a list), you'll be asked to click Next to choose your hardware from a list.

  4. The wizard displays a list of hardware categories from which you can choose ("Display adapters," "Imaging devices," "All devices," and so on). Select a category. A list of manufacturers appears. Select the manufacturer.

  5. If you have the drivers for the device on either a floppy, a CD, or your hard disk, click Have Disk at this point. Otherwise, choose the specific model number from the list on the right. If your device doesn't show up here, drivers for it aren't included with Windows Vista.

  6. The last steps involve copying and installing the drivers, and then prompting you to restart (if applicable).

Set options for how Windows handles the insertion of various types of media and content.

To open

Control Panel [Hardware and Sound] AutoPlay


Whenever you insert a CD or DVD in your PC, Windows either takes an action or asks you what action it should take. AutoPlay lets you set how Windows should handle many different types of mediaand can even take different actions based on the media's content.

Configuration is straightforward. For each type of media or content, select the action you want Windows to take when the media or content is inserted and then click Save.

Configure all hardware installed in or attached to a computer.

To open

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] Device Manager

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] System Device Manager

Control Panel [Hardware and Sound] Device Manager

Command Prompt devmgmt.msc


Device Manager is the central interface for gathering information about and making changes to all the hardware installed in a system. Device Manager has an Explorer-style tree listing all of the various hardware categories; expand any category branch to display all installed devices that fit in that category. For example, expand the Network adapters branch to list all installed network cards in the system.

View and change the properties of disks and volumes, including removable disks.

To open

Right-click a drive Properties

Click a drive Organize Properties


The exact number of tabs on the Disk Properties page varies according to the type of drive or volume and its characteristics. For example, a hard drive may have seven tabs: General, Tools, Hardware, Sharing, Security, Previous Versions, and Customize. A USB flash drive, on the other hand, may have six: General, Tools, Hardware, Sharing, ReadyBoost, and Customize. And a DVD-RW drive may have five: General, Hardware, Sharing, Customize, and Recording.

Tip: There is a difference between a physical disk and a volume, although Windows Vista calls them both disks. The physical disk is the hardware itself, and a volume is a separate section of the hard disk. So a single disk may have multiple volumes, or it may have only a single volume.

Change the settings of your display adapter and monitor.

To open

Control Panel [Appearance and Personalization] Adjust screen resolution

Control Panel [Appearance and Personalization] Personalization Display Settings

Right-click on an empty portion of your Desktop Personalize Display Settings

Command Prompt desk.cpl


This dialog lets you choose the resolution and color depth of your screen, change your display hardware settings, and customize how you use two monitors on the same system. Two limitations of your video card may affect the settings here. First, the amount of memory on your video card dictates the maximum color depth and resolution you can use. Second, as you adjust your color depth, Windows may automatically adjust other settings depending on your card's capabilities. If you increase your color depth, your resolution might automatically decrease; likewise, if you raise the resolution, your color depth might go down.

If you have more than one monitor, using either two separate video cards or a single video card that supports two monitors, all configured screens will be shown in the preview area. Click any screen icon to activate it; the settings below apply only to the selected monitor. You can even drag and drop monitor icons to rearrange them so that, for example, a different monitor assumes the role of the upper left. If you're not sure which monitor is #1 and which is #2, click Identify Monitors.

Change the keyboard repeat rate and text cursor blink rate.

To open

Control Panel [Hardware and Sound] Keyboard

Command Prompt control main.cpl Keyboard

Command Prompt control keyboard


The Keyboard Properties dialog controls the way characters are repeated when keys are held down, as well as how quickly the text cursor (insertion point) blinks. Tip: move the "Repeat rate" slider all the way to the right (toward Fast), and your computer may actually seem faster.

Change settings that affect the behavior of your pointing device and the appearance of the mouse cursor.

To open

Control Panel [Hardware and Sound] Mouse

Command Prompt control main.cpl

Command Prompt control mouse


The Mouse Properties dialog controls the buttons and motion of your pointing device and the appearance of the various mouse cursors, such as the arrow and hourglass.

Manage printers.

To open

Control Panel [Hardware and Sound] Printers


Printers is actually a specialized Windows Explorer folder that offers a variety of ways to manage your printers and printing. The folder lists all of your printers and includes a toolbar for managing them, including adding a printer, opening the print queue, choosing printing preferences, pausing a printer, renaming and deleting a printer, sharing a printer, and so on.

Many of the same options are also available when you right-click a printer. To set a printer as the default, right-click it and choose Set as Default Printer.

Displays and configures scanners and digital cameras.

To open

Control Panel [Hardware and Sound] Scanners and Cameras


The Scanners and Cameras window lists any digital cameras or scanners attached to the system.

If you have a scanner or digital camera attached to your system and it's not showing up, click Refresh. If it still doesn't show up, click Add Device, and the Scanner and Camera Installation Wizard appears. It is, in fact, the same wizard as the Add Hardware Wizard, so just follow those instructions.

Record and play sound files.

To open

Start All Programs Accessories Sound Recorder

Command Prompt Soundrecorder


You use the Sound Recorder to record simple sound clips, either in Windows Media Audio (.wma) or Waveform audio (.wav) format, depending on your version of Windows Vista. Windows Vista Basic and Windows Vista record sound files as .wav files, and all other versions record sound files as .wma files.

Unlike the Sound Recorder in Windows XP, the Windows Vista version only records sounds and cannot play them back or edit them. (For playing them back, use Windows Media Player.) There are virtually no controls. Click Start Recording to begin recording sound; click Stop Recording to stop and save the sound, or click Resume Recording after you've stopped to continue recording where you left off.

Control the volume of sound devices.

To open

Control Panel [Hardware and Sound] Adjust System Volume

Notification Area Right-click the speaker icon and choose Open Volume Mixer

Notification Area Left-click the speaker icon and choose Mixer


The Volume Mixer lets you change the volume of your current speakers or other audio device, as well as the volume of sounds for Windows system events and for individual applications that use sounds for notifications and warnings. If you have multiple applications running, you can change their volumes independently of one another, through separate sliders.

Control how Windows finds new drivers.

To open

Right-click Computer on Start menu Properties Advanced System Settings Hardware Windows Update Driver Settings

Control Panel [System and Maintenance] System, then click Change Settings Hardware Windows Update Driver Settings

Command Prompt sysdm.cpl Hardware Windows Update Driver Settings


When you connect a new device to your PC, Windows finds and installs the driver by default. The Windows Update Driver Settings dialog lets you change that behavior. You can have Windows ask each time before checking for drivers, or not check at all.

View documents in the new .xps format.

To open

Double-click any file in the .xps format.


The new XML Paper Specification (XPS), introduced with Windows Vista, is Microsoft's answer to Adobe's popular Portable Document Format (.pdf). It displays a document with all of its layout, fonts, and graphics intact. Any Windows application can create a .xps file by printing as it would normally, except choosing the Microsoft XPS Document Writer as the printer and then saving the results on disk to an .xps file. XPS documents can be read but not edited.

Windows Vista's built-in XPS Document Viewer runs as a specialized instance of Internet Explorer.

Windows Vista Pocket Reference
Windows Vista Pocket Reference: A Compact Guide to Windows Vista (Pocket Guides)
ISBN: 0596528086
EAN: 2147483647
Year: N/A
Pages: 63 © 2008-2017.
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