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Chapter 7. Installing and Uninstalling P... > Device Advice I: Installing Hardware - Pg. 82

Installing and Uninstalling Programs and Devices 82 The latter is less of a problem thanks to Windows XP's support for something called Plug and Play. This enables Windows XP to immediately recognize a new device and to configure that device automatically. It's a kind of hardware nirvana that makes it easy for the average bear to upgrade the physical side of their computers. To make it work, however, you need two things: · Devices that support Plug and Play--Most new hardware doodads are Plug and Play friendly. However, to be safe, check the box to be sure it says "Plug and Play" before buying anything. Note that the newfangled USB (Universal Serial Bus) devices support Plug and Play. However, your computer needs to have one or more USB ports to use them. See Also Not sure how to delete a folder? Head for Chapter 6, "Using My Computer to Fiddle with Files and Folders," and see the "Deleting a File or Folder" section. To learn how to delete items from the Start menu, go to Chapter 25, "Revamping the Start Menu and Taskbar." · Devices that are compatible with Windows XP--Windows XP, finicky beast that it is, won't work with just any old device. Again, before buying a device, check the box to see whether it says anything about being compatible with Windows XP. (Devices that are compatible with Windows 98, Me, or 2000 ought to work fine, as well.) Understanding Hardware Types Although thousands of devices are available, and dozens of device categories, I like to organize devices according to how you attach them to the computer. From this point of view, there are four types to worry about: · External plug-in devices--These are devices that use some kind of cable to plug into a port in the back of the PC. These devices include keyboards, mice, joysticks, modems, printers, speak- ers, and monitors. These kinds of devices are easy to install if you remember one thing: The computer's ports each have a unique shape, and the cable's plug has a shape that matches one of those ports. So, there's usually only one possible place into which any cable can plug. The exception to this is if the back of the computer has two ports with identical configurations. That just means your machine offers two of the same port type, so you can plug your device into either one. · PC Card (PCMCIA) devices--These types of devices are the easiest to install because they simply slip into any one of the computer's PC card slots (or sockets , as they're called). Note, however, that these slots are almost always found only on notebook computers. · Internal disk drives--These are the toughest devices to install not only because you have to get inside your computer, but also because there are many steps involved. Your best bet here is to take the machine to a computer service center or cajole a nearby computer geek into doing the job for you.