How to Replace Missing Drivers in Windows XP

Drivers are simple software programs that allow components to communicate with your computer. They perform a variety of tasks, including enabling sound playback, screen display and operating printers. Occasionally, due to a number of reasons, they can go missing or become faulty. Windows XP systems include the device manager, which allows you to troubleshoot and restore missing or damaged drivers easily.

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Step

Check for the drivers that are missing from your computer. To do so, click the Windows "Start" menu and right-click "My Computer." Click "Properties" to launch the System Properties window.

Step

Click the "Hardware" tab and click the "Device Manager" button to launch the Device Manager. The Device Manager shows you the drivers and components installed on your computer.

Step

Scroll down the list and click "+" next to the component you want to expand. For example, if you want to see your audio drivers, click "+" next to "Sound, video and game controllers. If you see a question or exclamation mark next to any of the drivers, it means that they are missing or damaged.

Step

To repair the missing or damaged driver, right-click it and click "Update driver." Insert your Windows XP disc into the CD/DVD-ROM drive and click "Install Software automatically." Click "Next" to install the missing driver.

Step

Make a note of the missing drivers from the Device Manager if you do not have a Windows XP installation disc. Write down your computers model and serial number. Generally, you can find your computers serial number on the back or front of your computer.

Step

Go to your computer manufacturers website. For example, gateway.com or dell.com. Click "Support" and select "Drivers and Downloads." When prompted, select your model and enter your serial number. You should see a list drivers and software for your computer.

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Click the driver that is missing from your computer and click "Download." Click "Run" and install the driver to your computer. If prompted, restart your computer.

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Go back to the Device Manager and verify that the question or exclamation marks have disappeared.