Forcefully rooting out a bad hardware driver

Fred langa By Fred Langa

Sometimes you have to rip out a bad driver by its roots in order to install a new and better driver.

A skillful reader tracks down and solves a driver problem before Fred can even reply!

Remove a troublesome driver completely

Windows Secrets readers are an amazing bunch! Your collective knowledge — and problem-solving skills — are astonishing.

So it’s not entirely surprising when a reader solves a problem before I come up with the answer. That’s the case with Bill Anton, who asked about a perplexing CD/DVD issue but then tracked down the answer and fixed the problem himself.

  • “Hi, Fred. I’ve been in this IT racket for 50 years — from mainframes to Macs — and thought I’d seen it all. But this problem has really stumped me.

    “I’m on an HP Pavilion (2007 model) running Vista, all patched and current, with zero problems since install. Last week, the internal CD/DVD drive stopped working. Device Manager showed that little “uh-oh” yellow exclamation point, and the properties told me, ‘Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39).’ I tried Update Driver, but Windows said that the current driver was the latest. Hmmm.

    “On a deadline and up against it, I truck on down to the store, buy the latest USB CD/DVD external drive, and plug it in. Same problem. Device Manager lists both drives and shows the same error for both.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2010-12-09:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.