The Device Manager is an important management tool that keeps track of all hardware used by XP. To access the device manager, open the System Properties applet, choose the Hardware tab, and then at the top section of this tab, click the Device Manager button.
Here you see an Explorer-style listing of the devices that are part of your computer. Any devices experiencing problems are already expanded, making them easy to spot. To investigate further the properties of any particular device, simply double-click its device manager icon. You'll see a dialog box similar to the one in Figure 6-11.
Figure 6-11. The Device Manager lets you view specifics about hardware devices.
As you can see in the figure, Device Manager has identified a problem: the device has been disabled. This dialog box lets me take corrective action. In this case, all I have to do is choose "enabled" in the "Device usage" drop-down box.
In addition, just as there are hidden files on your computer, there are hidden devices that that you can reveal by changing the Device Manager View options. To view hidden devices, choose View | Show Hidden Devices.