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Diagnose Problems with Peripherals in Windows 7

Windows 7 features many troubleshooting and diagnostic tools, all carefully hidden in the Control Panel. You can use those tools to quickly determine what’s wrong with your PC and, hopefully, fix it. Most of the time, the tools lie dormant until Windows detects a problem. When that happens, you’re presented with the troubleshooting options.

You can manually run the hardware troubleshooter if you like. If nothing is wrong, the troubleshooter actually lies to you and says that the problem has been fixed, so don’t randomly run the troubleshooter. Before then, visit the Devices and Printers window: Choose Devices and Printers from the Start menu.

In the Devices and Printers window, skim the list of gizmos to see whether any of them is flagged with a yellow alert triangle. If so, Windows has detected a problem with that device and it’s in need of troubleshooting: Right-click the device’s icon and choose the command Troubleshoot.

When you suspect hardware trouble of a general or unknown nature, you can take a stab at running the generic hardware troubleshooter. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Beneath the System and Security heading, click the link Find and Fix Problems.

    The Windows 7 Troubleshooting window opens.

  3. Beneath the Hardware and Sound heading, click the link Configure a Device.

    Windows attempts to diagnose and fix whatever recent hardware woe you’re experiencing.

  4. Obey the troubleshooter; read the screen and click the Next button if necessary.

  5. Close the various windows when you’re done.

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