Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to Install New Devices on Your Computer

. Sunday, January 31, 2010

Everyone has trouble with is installing a new device to their computer. The device might be a printer, camera, scanner, etc. Most of the time, whatever device you are trying to install will have a driver associated with it. That's fine, if it works. The problem is many times these drivers don't have instructions on how to install them. Or even worse, the instructions are just plain wrong! This is especially true with devices originating in foreign countries.

If the writer uses "ain't" or some other words that might cause English teachers to "cringe," that's no big deal. But I do appreciate it when the writer at least knows enough of the language that I'm not lost before I even get started. Another problem with manuals is that they are sometimes hidden in a text file on the installation CD.

If you are having installation problems, go to the manufacturer's website. There's a good chance that you'll find a software update that either fixes the problem or a FAQ file that will help you to better understanding what you're doing wrong. If you have a manual read it! Even if your device has a printed manual, look on the CD anyway. Many times, a manufacturer will find a bug in the software and will include the fix on the CD. It's expensive to reprint manuals while it costs practically nothing to include the fix on the CD. Of course, the website should have the latest information.

Here are three devices that I see people having trouble with all the time, scanners, digital cameras, and printers. These first two devices use a "twain" driver and this is where the problems usually start. Most of the better scanners and cameras use the USB (Universal Serial Buss) for connecting to the computer. USB ports are "hot swap" ports, meaning they will automatically detect a new device as soon as you plug it in. The problem most people make is to plug in the device before they install the software.

Usually, the software has to be installed before you plug in your device. READ your manual. If this is the case, install the software, then, with your computer up and running, plug the USB cable into your new device (making sure the device is turned on) and then into your computer. A message should appear on the monitor saying something such as, "scanner found" or "camera found." You may even get a message on the monitor before the software is completely installed saying, "plug in your device." Just be sure to follow the instructions and you should be OK.

Printers install in much the same way. Printer/scanner combinations are usually the best choice if you need color printing. If you only need to print text, then a laser will most likely be your best bet.

Another peripheral I'm often asked about is the monitor. There's not much to hooking up a monitor, but once it's connected, you'll probably need to adjust it. Every video card is different and each monitor will display the image a little differently. Adjust the controls on the monitor so that the image covers the complete display area. If you see a black border between your screen image and the edge of the monitor, it's out of adjustment. I've seen 17" monitors that were so far out of whack; they looked more like a 15" monitor.

Don't forget to set your display output from within Windows itself. I usually use 1024 x 768 with 16 bit color, but this will depend on the size and type of monitor you're using.

Installing new devices is easy if you just take the time to read your manual and then follow the directions closely. If you don't have the manual, you might be able to find it if you Google it. Also, check out "YouTube." I've found tutorials there that have been a huge help in both installing and operating new peripheral devices.


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