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Perform a Safe mode cleanup

If you have problems with conflicting devices, performing a cleanup by removing all unnecessary drivers in Safe mode may help.

This article appears in the February 07 issue of PC Advisor, onsale now in all good newsagents.

A cleanup will force Windows to reinstall drivers for the devices you use, reassigning the resources used and hopefully eliminating any conflicts. Note, however, that this procedure can be tricky to do if you use a USB mouse or keyboard. And, as always when there is an element of risk involved, you should backup your files before you start. There's no need to try this procedure if your PC is working normally.

Unplug all inessential devices, then start the PC in Safe mode. Open the Device Manager in Control Panel, System. Expand each item listed and remove unnecessary or obsolete entries. Remove both copies of duplicate entries.
To refresh the USB driver stack, all USB entries must be deleted, which means that you must navigate using the arrow keys, Tab, Alt and Enter if you have only a USB mouse available. Ensure that nothing is plugged into any of the USB ports before you start Windows in Safe mode.

In Device Manager select View, Show hidden devices. Then remove the drivers for all USB peripherals, such as printers, scanners and digital cameras. Remove HIDs (human interface devices), USB root hubs and USB host controllers, in that order. The USB controllers and HID sections should disappear completely from Device Manager when you have finished. Finally, restart Windows and prepare to reinstall drivers for all your USB devices.

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