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Using the Add New Hardware Wizard


Installing new hardware under Windows 98 is eased by the use of Plug and Play technology and the Add New Hardware Wizard. Today, almost all new hardware provides Plug and Play capability; in addition, most systems sold over the last three years comply with PnP. The result: Easier hardware installations.

Not sure if your system is PnP-compatible? The following things must be in place for PnP to work with your installations:

If you have a working PnP-compliant system, you'll notice that hardware installations go much more smoothly. Even when Windows 98 doesn't get it right — which does happen occasionally — the intuitive onscreen guides help prompt you as to what to do.

The Add New Hardware Wizard provides a common user-friendly interface for hardware installation procedures. Several things can happen to launch the wizard, including these:

Installing Plug and Play Hardware

Regardless of how the wizard is invoked, it provides a consistent step-by-step approach. The following list represents a typical sequence of the events that occur when Windows 98's Add New Hardware Wizard detects a new device at start up.

  1. Windows 98 displays a message saying that new hardware has been detected. After a period of time, the Message Building Driver database appears. A timeline in the dialog box shows the progress of the update.
  2. The Add New Hardware Wizard dialog box prompts you to tell Windows 98 where to find drivers for the new device. Click the Next button to continue.
  3. Windows 98 recommends that you search for new drivers; click the top radio button to do this. If you know exactly where the drivers are located, click the bottom radio button to display a list of all drivers located in a certain area. Click Next.
  4. Tell Windows 98 where to search by checking the drives and locations to search. If you have checked either the CD-ROM or floppy disk, make sure the media with the drivers is in the appropriate drive.
  5. When Windows finds the appropriate .INF file, you will be prompted to install it by clicking Next.
  6. Note
    If Windows 98 can't find the required device driver file in the expected location, you will be prompted to browse for the necessary files.


  7. When the driver installation is complete, click the Finish button. You may be prompted to restart Windows 98.

By default, the Add New Hardware Wizard often asks you to insert the Windows 98 CD-ROM. But depending on the age of your Windows 98 disc, you may find newer drivers included with the hardware itself. As a general rule, you should use the newest drivers you can when installing new products. In fact, I often check the manufacturer's or Microsoft's web site to download the newest driver before installing hardware.


Installing new hardware involves making changes to the Windows 98 Registry, the central configuration database that is vital to your system's operation. Before you install a new device, you should make it a point to back up your Registry settings. Open the Registry by clicking Start | Run. Type Regedit in the text box and click OK. In the Registry Editor, select the My Computer icon at the top of the list on the left, click the Registry menu item, and then click Export Registry File. Save the file to a desired location (such as to a floppy disk) using the Export Registry File dialog box. Also give your exported Registry file a name. If your existing Registry becomes corrupt following an installation, you will be able to fix the problem by asserting your old, working Registry from your hard drive or floppy disk. Alternatively, an even better idea is to back up the entire Windows directory, which ensures that you can return your operating system to its native state should the installation overwrite or corrupt any key system files.


Using the Add New Hardware Wizard for Undetected Devices

What do you do if the wizard fails to properly detect your newly installed card? You need to intervene and manually tell Windows 98 what it is you are installing. But the wizard's consistent interface does help guide you. Follow these steps:

  1. Follow steps 1 through 5 above. Windows 98 will prompt you by saying that it was unable to determine the new hardware device. Click Next.
  2. The next dialog box offers a list of hardware device types. Select the appropriate device type and click Next.
  3. In the dialog box click the device's vendor in the Manufacturers list box, and then click the device model in the Models list box.
  4. If you are loading drivers from a floppy or CD-ROM, click Have Disk and navigate to the appropriate .INF file. The device drivers will then be loaded.
  5. When the driver installation is complete, a message box advises you that system settings have changed and asks whether you want to restart Windows 98. Click Restart Now so that your driver change takes effect.