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The Bottom Line

Adding new hardware doesn't have to be a hassle. Just remember these key points:

  • You can add all sorts of peripherals to your computer, including video cards, sound cards, keyboards, mice, joysticks, modems, DVD and CD-ROM drives, hard drives, scanners, digital cameras, and PC cameras.

  • When you have a choice, go with a FireWire or USB connection—both are fast and intelligent, and you don't have to restart your PC when you add a new device.

  • In most cases, Windows XP's Plug-and-Play function will recognize a new peripheral as soon as you restart your computer; if Windows doesn't recognize a new device, use the Add Hardware Wizard to install the device manually.

  • If you think you have a conflict between two drivers, use the Device manager to help troubleshoot the problem.

  • Windows XP lets you “roll back” a new driver to its previous version—very useful if you upgrade a driver and start experiencing problems.


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