Some Windows problems can be truly baffling; but there’s almost always a path — or even several paths — to the solution.
Plus: Questions about accessing compressed disks, ongoing Win7 coverage, and that Win + X shortcut.
Resolving strange hardware problems
With some deep digging, reader Christopher Harris cured a strange problem afflicting 15 PCs he maintains for his school. In every PC, three different subsystems — the USB ports, My Network Places, and Device Manager — were malfunctioning simultaneously!
Although the exact steps he followed are specific to his situation, the thorough diagnostic work he describes might suggest similar problem-solving approaches for others also facing difficult problems. And my follow-up suggestions below might provide a faster approach.
- “Fred, after many years of benefiting from Windows Secrets, I’d like to give back some insight.
“Last year, I had to change the IP [address] of a teacher’s XP Pro machine from dynamic (DHCP) to fixed in order to bypass filtering.
“I went into My Network Places properties — and it was empty! Device Manager was also empty!
“After a long time on the Web trying various solutions — such as making sure the Plug and Play service was running, checking permissions on the CurrentControlSet\ENUM Registry key, installing Microsoft hotfix KB 953979, running command-line options, and anything else I could come up with — I gave up and reimaged the PC.