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Unknown Device Slows Windows XP Computer Start Up

I have encountered on many occasion of “unknown device driver” error on a fresh install of Windows XP on a desktop computer. This error is common on computer repairs which is kind of annoying as there is no sure way of knowing which device driver to install. The error doesn’t identify whether the unknown device is a printer, a PCI device, or whatever hardware it is connected to the computer.

I noticed that missing Computer Drivers causes the computer to sluggishly load Windows XP during start up. Windows XP operating system actually tries to search for the unknown device driver. Usually a popup window prompts for either ignoring the missing device driver or search for the driver automatically on the Internet.

A usual cause of this “unknown device driver” is due to defective device. When the device is defective then the device could not be recognized by the system. Mostly people assume that that all PC components work properly from the computer store. I have experienced some USB port based devices like computer printer that do not work. Even if the Computer Printer Drivers from the installation CD were installed the error still persist. A simple check of trying the device on another PC would confirm whether the device is defective or not.

Computer Device Drivers which is not fully installed is also a major reason for “unknown device error”. There are also times that the device driver software needs to be installed first before the device is plugged on the computer. Sometimes after installing the driver a restarting of the desktop computer is needed.

Fixing the unknown device driver requires installation of the required driver for the computer hardware. Some devices require basic programs from the Windows XP installer to fully function. Windows update which installers newer set of hardware device drivers could solve this error. A good practice though is to always follow installation directions step by step and have the Windows XP installer ready.

There is also computer software that could scan the whole computer and determine the needed device driver. Some online website like provides free device driver scans. Computer repair technician have this kind of software collection ready all the time. It would also be very handy for doing some minor computer repairs at home.

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