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Stopping the Windows XP Found New Hardware Wizard

I had an aggravating experience with Windows XP’s "Found New Hardware" wizard. Every time I rebooted, Windows automatically started the wizard. Even the checkbox that gave me the option to tell it "Don’t ask me if I want to install this software" didn’t work.

I’ve written recently (links below) about using two monitors at work, and using the program UltraMon (commercial, with 30-day trial download) to create a large Windows Desktop that stretches across both monitors.

Following up on a couple articles, I decided to set up a two-monitor arrangement for my notebook computer, which is my primary home computer.

It all started when I realized that I had a nice, 14-inch, low-profile ViewSonic LCD monitor that my son formerly used. I could put it on the side-shelf of my notebook table, hook it to the monitor output on my Dell notebook, press the Function-F8 keys to use both screens, and install the trial of UltraMon to try out a dual monitor setup.

The first thing I ran into was that the monitor was so old that it maxed at a 1024×768 resolution. Unfortunately, my notebook automatically changed its own LCD to match (I normally use 1680×1050 on the notebook). That killed the whole idea.

The snag was that, when I booted with the ViewSonic VA520 monitor attached, Windows XP found the new hardware. Instead of setting up the display as a "Default Monitor" and working perfectly, as it has on every LCD projector to which it has been attached, Windows wanted a driver CD.

By the way, ViewSonic has deleted almost every reference to this monitor on their web site and no longer has drivers for it available, even in their obsolete products archive section. I’m very disappointed in their choice to do this.

I finally gave up — mainly because I didn’t want 1024×768 on my notebook, and I unhooked the ViewSonic monitor. Whether I had a driver or not, that was going to be the maximum resolution fo both the ViewSonic and for my notebook, since it was the max the ViewSonic would do.

That’s when I discovered the problem: Windows XP continued to ask me to set up the new hardware every time I booted — whether the hardware was installed or not.

Fortunately, if you have a problem like thtis, you can stop the Found New Hardware Wizard from starting every time you boot.

First, left-click on the Start Button, then follow this route:

  Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System > Device Manager > View > Show Hidden Devices.

The Hidden Devices are those that Windows has had connected in the past. They have yellow icons beside them. Identify the problem one, right-click on it, and select Uninstall.

When you boot again, you should not have the same problem. If you do, then you uninstalled the wrong hidden device. Try again.

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