Trouble with PCI devices can be caused by
Software bugs.
Software settings.
Hardware faults.
Device conflicts.

The standard way to fix software bugs is to obtain the latest card driver from the manufacturer. This can usually be achieved via the manufacturers’ website. These websites often contain details of hardware or software conflicts.

Some boards will not work if they are present in the same machine as other devices. An example of this occurred in the PC of one of the authors. It was fitted with a PCI SCSI card that allowed a SCSI scanner to work very well.

All was well until the scanner and its SCSI cable were removed. After this, the IDE CD-ROM drive eject button caused the system to reboot. Removing the now unused PCI SCSI card failed to resolve the problem.

It had to be reinserted, the driver removed via the Windows 98 Control Panel and the card removed again before a reboot caused the ‘new hardware found’ dialogue. Problems with seemingly unrelated devices are not uncommon. This problem was discovered via the Microsoft knowledge base website.

Only after trying to resolve software/hardware conflicts should a hardware fault be suspected. If a card is suspected of giving trouble, shut down the system, remove the card and install it in a second PC. If the trouble persists in the second PC, the card is probably faulty - repair is not usually economic.

Without specialist equipment, troubleshooting the PCI can be tricky. Test equipment such as the PCI diagnostics card from UltraX Inc. ( ill test the PCI bus when other devices are dead or missing.

TIP: If you need to upgrade a device driver, it is often better to uninstall the old one first. Reinstallation sometimes retains old (and possibly faulty) software components such as .DLL files.

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