Disabling Unneeded Hardware Devices


Every time you turn on your computer, it has to load and initialize all of your computer hardware. Keep in mind: Your computer has a lot of devices that you do not always use. These extra devices are loaded and initialized during every boot. When it does so, your computer’s performance is slowed down. Windows XP is now a lot more efficient and smarter during the boot-up cycle. In previous versions of Windows, the system would load one hardware device driver and then load another device driver in a series. The only problem with loading the hardware this way was that it could slow down the boot dramatically if one hardware device was taking a long time to initialize.
One well-known culprit of this is the network card which pauses to wait to get an IP from a DHCP server. Windows XP has a new way of initializing the hardware devices when the system boots up. Instead of loading the hardware device drivers in series, it now loads some of them in parallel. This allows the boot to be much faster. Although the hardware devices are loaded in parallel instead of series, the addition of more devices that the system has to load drivers for will probably still slow down the boot.
To disable hardware devices, you will want to use the Device Manager. To get to the Device Manager, do the following:
1. Go to the Control Panel using the shortcut on the Start panel or menu if you are using the classic Windows interface.
2. Once you are in Control Panel, locate the System icon and run it. If you cannot find the System icon, most likely you are using the Control Panel Category View. If you are using the Category View, click the Performance and Maintenance icon and then you will see the System icon under the “or pick a Control Panel icon” heading.
3. Once the System Properties window has loaded, click the Hardware tab. Under the Device Manager section, click the button that says Device Manager.
4. Now that you are inside of the Device Manager, you can browse through your devices that are connected and currently running or disabled by browsing through the device type sections.To disable a device, right-click the device name, and then select Disable.
5. To re-enable a device, right-click the device name, and select Disable. This will remove the check from the menu and will re-enable the device.
To quickly determine the status of a device, check out the icon next to its name. All devices that are disabled have a red X over the icon. All devices that have a question mark or an explanation point on them are not set up correctly or are having problems. All devices with none of the above additions to the icon are running––and doing so without any problems.