A common problem for many new computer users is trying to identify the system specifications and components within a computer. There are many ways to finding out the hardware within the system and multiple ways to launch the required application. Device Manager is really useful within Windows control panel as drivers can be updated whilst identifying components.
Launch Device Manager
Locate the search/run box in the task-bar at the bottom of the screen and type ‘device manager’. Device Manager will launch immediately providing a list of all installed components.
Device Manager can also be accessed via control panel/system and then listed on the left of the display box.
Note: Any devices which have a (!) beside them are malfunctioning. A driver installation or update is required to remedy the situation. Depending on the significance of the component it may be OK to disable the hardware. Disabling a webcam would be fine though vital hardware such as display adapter wouldn’t unless there is an alternative component active.
All of the lists are expandable. By clicking a heading a list of relevant components will become visible.
For many users identifying the graphics card model is a priority as it’s not easily identifiable from the control panel main screen. Some configurations contain multiple components for the same category.
In the instance above the Intel i7 processor has a built-in low level graphics display capability Intel HD Graphics 530. For demanding gaming and video editing the system will utilize the more powerful dedicated GTX 970m display adapter.
Double-click the relevant component and select ‘Driver’ tab. If it’s possible to disable the device then it will be bold font. Simply click disable device to stop the system using it’s resources. Re-enable is done in the same way. Rather than display ‘disable’ the option will state ‘enable.
Update Device Driver
For optimal system performance it’s important to have the correct and up-to date drivers for system devices. New improvements, enhancements and fixes are likely to have been implemented by hardware manufacturers. Unless the devices are up-to date the system won’t have access to these updates. Out of date or incompatible drivers are a common cause of system crashes.
Right Click the hardware component from the device manager list and select ‘update driver’
Double Click the component, locate the driver tab and select ‘update driver’
Users have the option to search and download a compatible driver or browse the system storage for an available driver.
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