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Part: V Interfacing Windows and Hardware > Exploring Your Hardware Interface

Chapter 13. Exploring Your Hardware Interface

Microsoft designed Windows so that you could take advantage of the latest hardware advances. Windows recognizes most devices currently in use and is designed with future devices and expandability in mind. This chapter shows how the Windows interface utilizes your hardware. Windows supports Plug and Play, a term that describes automatic installation of new hardware you add to your PC. Prior to Plug and Play, you had to set jumper switches and make operating system settings. Often, hardware and software conflicts would occur, creating many hours of debugging headaches. With Plug and Play, you simply plug new hardware components such as memory, disk drives, CD-ROM drives, and expansion boards into your computer, and Windows immediately recognizes the change and sets up everything properly. In addition to plug-and-play devices, many external peripherals such as external hard drives, keyboards, and mice, now connect to USB and FireWire connections which make adding such peripheral equipment even simpler than Plug and Play allows.

Plug and Play requires almost no thought when installing new hardware to your system. At least that's the theory. In reality, you might still encounter problems, as this chapter demonstrates. If Plug and Play does not perform as expected, Windows provides a hardware setup wizard that you can use to walk you through the new hardware's proper installation.


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