THE WINDOWS 95 DEVICE MANAGER
  (CONT)


Primary and Secondary IDE Controllers:

Unfortunately problems with the Primary and Secondary IDE Controllers are abundant in Windows 95, and we do recommend that you upgrade to Windows 98 unless that it not at all feasible. Neither of the retail versions of Windows 95 contain the necessary drivers for the Intel BX, MX, ZX, NX, GX, KX, LX, TX and FX chipsets or any of the VIA chipsets, which means that you will need to either download them or have the CD or diskettes that came with the motherboard. The OEM version only contains a minor few of the drivers.

Whether the error involves a CD ROM drive, Display adapter, Modem, Monitor, Mouse, Network adapter, Port, SCSI controller, sound card or even a motherboard resource, 99.9% of the time the error occurs as the result of an incorrect, damaged or missing driver. On those occasions that you see this error, and it involves let's say the hard drive itself, it is usually because the drive has a physical problem or it is operating in MS-DOS Compatibility Mode rather than in the Windows 95 protected mode.

We will use the example below in order to show you the procedures necessary to resolve a controller related issue. As you can see from the example below, both the primary and the secondary IDE controller are showing an error.

Example #1

If you click once on the controller to highlight it and then click the properties button at the lower left, it will open a properties page similar to the one shown below.

Example #2

As noted earlier, problems with IDE controllers normally stem from one of two reasons, (A) a physical problem with the motherboards controller(s), or (B) the appropriate driver files have not been loaded or have become damaged.

In order to clear this error, let's refer to Example #1 above,

While the basic procedure is the same, the technique changes depending upon the motherboard you are working with.

First: Make sure that you have the drivers, either via a download from the motherboard manufacturer or on disk (or CD-Rom).

Next: And in this case, click once on the second child device (secondary IDE controller) to highlight it, and then click the remove button at the bottom of the System Properties page. Now repeat this same process with the first child device (primary IDE controller).

Note: In some situations, Windows 95 won't allow you to remove either child device. In this case, click on the primary controller itself (PC Tech PCI IDE Single or Dual Port Controller in the picture) to highlight it, and then click remove.

Next: How the motherboard manufacturer assembled the drivers for the IDE Controller will dictate how they are installed:

  • If they are merely an INF files, such as PCTECH.INF, then locate the file using Windows Explorer, and then right click on the INF file and then choose install.

  • If the drivers come with their own installer, usually an executable file such as PCTECH.EXE, again use Windows Explorer, but this time double click on the executable file and then follow the installation instructions.

  • If the drivers are part of a CD-Rom driver installation, then insert the CD-Rom disk into the drive and then run the installer and choose that section that refers to the PCI IDE Bus Controller drivers.

Next: And this is most important! Do not restart your system normally after loading the drivers. Restart the system by clicking "Start", "Shutdown" and then "Restart", but just before you see the "Starting Windows...." dialogue, tap the F8 key a few times. This will bring you into the Windows 95 Boot Menu.

Now choose "Safe Mode" and boot into the Windows 95 Safe Mode desktop.

Next go into Control Panel, then click the "System" icon and then go into Device Manager.

Search carefully through each device area and look for duplicates or multiples of the same entries. As an example, you should only have (1) PC Tech PCI IDE Single or Dual Port Controller, (1) Primary IDE Controller and (1) Secondary IDE Controller. If you have duplicates or multiples of any device, regardless of what it is, remove them all, empty it completely.

Now restart your computer normally. When Windows 95 starts, it will begin finding the devices that you have removed and begin searching for drivers. In most cases Windows 95 will identify the device to you and ask for drivers if it cannot find them, such as in the case of a sound card or modem. Once Windows has finished loading the new drivers and the desktop is up, go back into device manager and make sure that the IDE Controller and the child devices have loaded correctly and that theare gone for this device.

If, for some reason Windows will not permit you to remove either the IDE Controller or either of the child devices, Microsoft does have a procedure for doing to. You will find that procedure in the Microsoft knowledge base. If you would like to review it now, just click on this button.

While Windows 95 does good job of providing for and loading drivers for a multitude of devices, keep in mind that as new components are designed, changed and upgraded, there will be a need to make sure you have drivers safely stored on floppy disks or CD-Rom disks.

On the next page, you will find some tips on curing other device errors you may find in Device Manager.

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