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Windows XP Driver Install: Practice “safe install” for Windows XP

By Craig Anderton | April 1, 2010

OBJECTIVE: Install USB and Firewire hardware devices, like audio interfaces and control surfaces, without any problems.
BACKGROUND: Hardware driver installation for Windows has become simpler, but sometimes there are still issues. This Power App Alley covers the steps you need to take for a (hopefully!) flawless installation, using USB as an example.

Win11. Create a System Restore point (go Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore) in case there’s a problem and you need to try again.







Win22. Physically unplug all unneeded USB devices (e.g., everything, including dongles, except keyboard and mouse).







Win33. If an older driver is installed, go Start > Control Panel and double-click on System. Click on Device Manager, locate the driver, right-click on it, and select Uninstall. Optional: Restarting the computer (see Step 6) after this step may solve installation problems.









Win44. Right-click on the Taskbar, and select Task Manager. Turn off all unneeded programs, especially anti-virus programs and Windows Defender, by right-clicking on the entry and selecting End Process.








Win55. Start driver installation, usually by double-clicking on an EXE or MSI file. Follow any instructions, particularly if you’re advised not to have hardware connected.








Win66. After driver installation, unless instructed otherwise, go Start > Turn off Computer and select Restart to re-boot the computer.




Win77. Plug in the hardware. Wait for the “Found New Hardware” balloon to appear, and when the “Found New Hardware Wizard” appears, select “Install the software automatically” and follow instructions. When driver installation is finished, enjoy your hardware!


¦ Step 3: You may be able to uninstall drivers by going Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs, selecting the driver, and clicking on Remove; or, by going Start > (name of program) and selecting an uninstall routine. If you’re downloading drivers, look for any instructions (e.g., PDF docs) and read them.
¦ Step 5: Most, but not all, XP hardware installations require leaving the hardware unconnected until after driver software installation.
¦ Step 6: With Line 6 hardware, a re-start is generally not required.
¦ Step 7: If a warning says the driver hasn’t passed Windows testing, click on “Continue Anyway.”

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