THE WINDOWS 95 DEVICE MANAGER
The ports entry in Device Manager refers to your COM (communication) and LPT (printer) ports in your computer. Most motherboards (main boards) installed in computers today come with two COM ports, COM “A” and COM “B” also known as COM #1 and COM #2. Your modem can be assigned to either of these two COM ports or it can be assigned to a “Virtual COM Port” created by Windows 95 (any edition). Windows 95 can create up to four of these virtual COM ports, COM #3 through COM #6. You should keep this information in mind when making a port assignment for your modem. While most people like to see their modem on either COM #1 or #2, this would effectively disable either of these ports that are part of the motherboard. These two “on-board ports” could be used for another purpose, such as communications with another device including another computer and possibly even a backup power supply that would communicate your power status or provide alert information to your computer.
Correcting port errors and problems in Windows 95 is relatively easy if you follow a few simply procedures. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent in your changes. Don’t make frantic changes in settings in an effort to correct a problem. The following applies whether the error is with a COM port or an LPT port.
Although Device Manager errors involving SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) cards do occur at times, and can be difficult to resolve, they are extremely rare. Most, if not all, of these errors depend largely upon what is attached to the SCSI card. If you are one of our customers, your computer came with either an Adaptec or Symbios SCSI card. The only exception to this are those computers that were shipped as a special package along with a Hewlett Packard flatbed scanner that relied upon a SCSI card provided by Hewlett Packard.
SCSI card device errors can occur for various reasons, although most are the result of incorrect device number (or address) assignments. Here are some of the basics to review in sorting out a SCSI problem.
If, after checking all of these areas, you still have a SCSI device error, please contact our Technical Support department.
All of the computer systems that we have built over the years that have a sound device (card) installed, were equipped with a Sound Blaster sound card manufactured by Creative Labs, unless the customer specified otherwise. If you are having a problem with a sound card other than a Sound Blaster, and the card was installed by us at your request, please contact Technical Support without going any further. For problems involving any of the Creative Labs sound devices, please read on.
Depending upon the year of production, our computers came equipped with any one of a number of Creative Labs Sound Blaster cards and in varying versions, such as the Sound Blaster 16, the AWE 32, the AWE 64, AWE 64 Value, AWE 64 Gold, Sound Blaster Live Value, Sound Blaster Live (all EISA cards) as well as the Sound Blaster Live Platinum (EISA and PCI) and the Sound Blaster Live PCI.
Generally, correcting sound device (card) errors in Device Manager can be handled in a couple of different ways depending on the sound device itself. As an example:
Sound Blaster 16
The Sound Blaster 16 is a relatively simple card to work with, and in Windows 95/98 the drivers for the various devices supported by this card load rather easily without user intervention. Obviously, if there something physically wrong with the sound device (card) itself, loading or reloading drivers will not make a difference. If you have a Sound Blaster 16, just open Device Manager, expand the “Sound, Video and Game Controllers” area and remove all of the entries and restart the system. 99% of the time, this will cause Windows to reload the sound devices for you without further problems.
On occasion this may not work correctly, but this is usually the result of another problem hidden beneath what you are seeing. If you are satisfied that the sound device or card is working and is not damaged in any manner, then you may need to investigate Device Manager in a little more depth. Over the years of working with the Windows 95/98 operating systems, we have noted that on occasion Windows will load multiples of the same devices in Device Manager, but when you open Device Manager in a normal session, all you may see is one entry for each device. This is referred to as the “active device” according to Windows, even though the device isn’t working at all. This problem is due to multiple device entries listed in the Windows registry, (the files used by the Windows operating system to load your various devices when Windows starts).
Is there a remedy, yes there is, but not in the sense that most people expect. While there isn’t really any way to prevent Windows from loading multiples of these devices, there is a way to determine if this is happening.
Sound Blaster AWE 32
For some unknown, and largely unexplained reason, the Sound Blaster AWE 32 sound card has always been problematic during the installation process, but primarily in Windows 95. This problem doesn’t seem to be computer specific or sound card specific, but rather driver related. On some computers and in certain situations, this sound card will load without difficulty and in others it can be a non-ending problem. Don’t look for an easy answer, as we haven’t found one! Windows 95 (all versions) does not contain the most recent driver files for all versions of the Sound Blaster AWE 32 sound card.
We have found a couple of methods that, in our opinion, make this problem easier to handle. The first is to remove the sound card devices in Device Manager as noted above for the Sound Blaster 16. The second, would be to remove the device through Device Manager as noted above, but before restarting your computer, load the sound card drivers from the Creative Labs CD Rom disk that was included with your diskette packet. Once they have been loaded, Windows should automatically load the sound card devices with the appropriate drivers.
Sound Blaster AWE 64
This applies to the AWE 64, AWE 64 Gold and the AWE 64 Gold Value sound cards. This is an outstanding card for audio performance and has always been a rather easy sound device to install. However, like any other computer device, there are times when problems arise. Aside from the addition of new functions across the various models of this card, the basic functions and devices of the AWE 64 card remain alike and rely on drivers provided by Creative Labs. Again, like the Sound Blaster 16 and the AWE 32, the basic drivers for this card device are on the Windows 95 CD Rom disk and should load properly during the installation process, presuming that (A) you have verified that there are no hardware related problems (the card is not damaged) and it is secure in the slot on the motherboard, and (B) you have checked Device Manager while in Safe Mode to insure that multiple device entries are not the problem.
While the Windows 95 CD Rom does contain the basic drivers for this card, there are a number of drivers and files on the Creative Labs CD Rom disk that you may want to use to improve sound quality. For the most part, whether there is an error in Device Manager, or you just want to add the additional sound functionality to your computer, just insert the Creative Labs CD into the drive and load the drivers and files that you want. After this installation has finished, restart your computer and check it. If it doesn’t perform correctly, restart it again, but this time boot into Safe Mode (see above under Sound Blaster 16 and AWE 32) and verify that there are no multiples of the same devices listed. If there are, remove all of the devices and then restart your computer and Windows will reload them correctly.
Sound Blaster Live, Live Value and Live Platinum (EISA and PCI)
The Sound Blaster Live family of sound devices (cards) come in several flavors depending upon the date of release. The earlier versions were release as an EISA card requiring an EISA motherboard slot, while later versions were release in both an EISA format as well as PCI. These cards are the top performers of the Sound Blaster line of sound devices (cards) issued by Creative Labs.
Although Windows 95 (all versions) includes base drivers for normal sound functionality of the Sound Blaster Live, there are a large number of additional card devices that are not enabled with these basic drivers, thereby requiring that you use the Sound Blaster Live CD Rom diskette you received in your diskette packet.
For the most part during the installation process of Windows 95, the loading and installation of the basic drivers for the Sound Blaster Live will be uneventful and when you check Device Manager you will note the appropriate entries under “Sound, Video and Game Controllers”. However, you may see several other devices with the common Device Manager error sign that have not been installed, or at the least, installed correctly.
Unlike the earlier Sound Blaster cards, the Sound Blaster Live series adds a new entry to Device Manager, titled “Creative Miscellaneous Devices”. In this category, when installed correctly, you will find the “Creative Multimedia Emulation” as well as the “Creative SB Live! SB16 Emulation”. As noted earlier, Windows 95 does not include basic drivers for either of these devices, nor does it install a category for them in Device Manager, therefore they will show up as unrecognized devices in Device Manager. We have found the following steps to be the easiest method by which to handle the installation of all of the devices and features included with this sound card:
If, after having followed these sound card instructions, you still have errors relating to a sound card in the Windows Device Manager, please contact our Technical Support department and they will assist you in resolving them.