Troubleshooting Yourself In The Foot



  • I was about a month from taking my A+ Certification exams, and my landlady had a favour to ask. Her printer was refusing to accept jobs; the first job in the print queue was stuck at 'processing' and refusing to budge. She gave me a brief but reasonably helpful description of the fault and went out on some errand or another, and I set to work. I went through the obvious steps like resetting both printer and computer and running a registry cleaner, then located the printer software's own troubleshooter and plodded my way through it until about half-way through, when I came upon the following suggestion.

    "Uninstall the port to which the printer is connected, ie LPT1. When you reboot, it will be automatically detected and reinstalled."

    Yeah, right; we all know Windows is just awesome at auto-detecting hardware, don't we, and did I mention that this was a USB printer? Admittedly Windows has come a long way since the bad old days, but I still shudder at the mere thought of how badly that could backfire, and I'm a qualified repair guy who's been using computers on a daily basis since I was at school. This troubleshooter, however, seemed to be aimed at a complete novice.

    Great thinking, Hewlett-Packard. I'm sure several hundred people inadvertently shutting down all the USB ports forever whilst acting on the advice of your troubleshooter won't affect your repeat business at all.



  • @Jake Grey said:

    we all know Windows is just awesome at auto-detecting hardware, don't we,
     

    I don't get it. Is that sarcasm?  Because I think Windows does a very fine job of auto-detecting hardware.  Maybe I've just been really lucky over the years, but it sure seems to work fine for me, especially when plugging in USB devices.  

    However, I will say I don't think I've ever had windows update find a driver for me when connecting a device. I don't think that's ever worked...



  • @Jake Grey said:

    "Uninstall the port to which the printer is connected, ie LPT1. When you reboot, it will be automatically detected and reinstalled."

    There were detailed instructions, by Windows version, on how a novice would accomplish such a task, right?



  • Are you trying to suggest that once you remove USB ports under windows they don't get detected again, ever?

    bzzt Wrong, but thank's for playing.



  • @wybl said:

    Are you trying to suggest that once you remove USB ports under windows they don't get detected again, ever?

    bzzt Wrong, but thank's for playing.

    If you remove the USB port, it will have to re-detect the port itself. To get Windows to detect the device itself, you should rather "uninstall" the device itself, which usually appears as "Unknown Device" or something like that.



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    If you remove the USB port, it will have to re-detect the port itself. To get Windows to detect the device itself, you should rather "uninstall" the device itself, which usually appears as "Unknown Device" or something like that.
    Yes... and how is that related to the discussion? Jake Grey is talking about a port itself uninstallation itself backfiring itself, unless I'm missing something myself.



  • @wybl said:

    @danixdefcon5 said:

    If you remove the USB port, it will have to re-detect the port itself. To get Windows to detect the device itself, you should rather "uninstall" the device itself, which usually appears as "Unknown Device" or something like that.
    Yes... and how is that related to the discussion? Jake Grey is talking about a port itself uninstallation itself backfiring itself, unless I'm missing something myself.

    Given a sufficiently stupid user, I assume it could be that someone understood it like physically uninstalling the port ... but then, that would require some technical prowess, way beyond the user. But it could happen!



  • @Jeff S said:

    @Jake Grey said:

    we all know Windows is just awesome at auto-detecting hardware, don't we,
     

    I don't get it. Is that sarcasm?  Because I think Windows does a very fine job of auto-detecting hardware.

    Jake Grey is an internet time traveler.  He's posting from 1997, when this was still a valid criticism.



  • 1) Did you seriously use the phrases "registry cleaner" and "qualified repair guy" in the same post?

    2) I've never heard of a USB port (or parallel port) device not getting reinstalled after a removal and reboot.  Ever.

    3) Even if that did happen, it probably wouldn't affect their repeat business.  As you yourself have discovered, the only people who would even think to look at their so-called troubleshooter are the ones who probably don't need it.



  • What about the landlady's printer?  Did you get it to work?  What was it?



  • @Aaron said:

    1) Did you seriously use the phrases "registry cleaner" and "qualified repair guy" in the same post?

    What can I say? They take very little effort to use, seldom if ever mess things up and occasionally even fix something. If nothing else they make it look like you're doing something useful.

    @Aaron said:

    2) I've never heard of a USB port (or parallel port) device not getting reinstalled after a removal and reboot.  Ever.

    I actually figured at the time that I'd probably be okay, but there was still a possibility that it might not work the way it was supposed to, and I had neither the experience nor the liability insurance to weather the consequences if it did.(Note to Jeff S and merreborn: I'm sorry, but Microsoft still have a lot of work to do before they regain my complete confidence.)

    @Aaron said:

    3) Even if that did happen, it probably wouldn't affect their repeat business.  As you yourself have discovered, the only people who would even think to look at their so-called troubleshooter are the ones who probably don't need it.

    True. To be honest, I was only bothering with the troubleshooter at this point because it seemed like marginally less effort than turning the study for the installation disk.

    @th30519 said:

    What about the landlady's printer?  Did you get it to work?  What was it?

    A reinstall fixed it in the end, and I forget the model but it's one of those printer/scanner combos; inkjet, I think.



  • @merreborn said:

    Jake Grey is an internet time traveler.  He's posting from 1997, when this was still a valid criticism.

    Doc! Doc! We have to go Back to the Future!!!

    Heh, they still had issues when Win98 rolled out. I remember my dad having Win95 OSR2 (basically Win98, without the "Win98" logo; it had most of win98's features, sans bugs) and buying an Intel webcam. Thing is, this webcam required installing a PCI card, where you would plug in the webcam. Simple instructions; turn off PC, install PCI card, reboot, install drivers.

    Trouble was that Win95 OSR2 included drivers for something called "Hauppauge WinTV", which for some reason would identify the Intel card as a "Hauppauge WinTV" instead of an "Unknown Device". Needless to say, Windows crashed right after "detecting" the new hardware.

    We tried everything, even installing the damn software/drivers before installing (which is standard practice now beginning with win2k) and every single frickin' time, the Hauppauge thing appeared. I gave up after the 2nd day.

    So we go to CompUSA to return the damn thing ... and guess what I find standing in one of those "piles o' hardware"?? A nice pyramid of stacked-over "Hauppauge! WinTV" boxes. Only infinite patience stopped me from smashing the entire pile!

    Windows is no longer so prone of mis-identifying components, but it still happens every now and then. Its horrible.



  •  "Yeah, right; we all know Windows is just awesome at auto-detecting hardware, don't we, and did I mention that this was a USB printer?"

    The USB printer thing does make the suggestion a WTF.  However, Windows is very good at detecting hardware.  A bit overzealous about getting hardware installed sometimes, but still, I have never had a device go undetected unless there was something wrong with it.



  • @Jake Grey said:

    Yeah, right; we all know Windows is just awesome at auto-detecting hardware, don't we, and did I mention that this was a USB printer?
    If it's an USB device, unplug it, then plug it to another USB socket (one that's not part of the same pair of sockets). That should get Windows to reinstall the driver (unless the device was plugged to that socket previously).
    Also, when there's a job stuck in the print queue, first try deleting it - that should release the rest of the jobs. If the job doesn't get deleted in about 2 minutes, stop the spooler, delete files in system32\spool\printers, restart the spooler.



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    I remember my dad having Win95 OSR2 (basically Win98, without the "Win98" logo; it had most of win98's features, sans bugs) and buying an Intel webcam.
     

    Let's see... [b]Intel[/b] screwed up their driver or device so that it was misidentified as a [b]Hauppage[/b] WinTV card, and this means that [b]Microsoft's[/b] OS has a problem.

    Riiight. 



  • @KenW said:

    @danixdefcon5 said:

    I remember my dad having Win95 OSR2 (basically Win98, without the "Win98" logo; it had most of win98's features, sans bugs) and buying an Intel webcam.
     

    Let's see... Intel screwed up their driver or device so that it was misidentified as a Hauppage WinTV card, and this means that Microsoft's OS has a problem.

    Riiight. 

     

    Exactly.  If the story had ended with the big pile of returned items being a large variety of items,all designated to work with windows, that all failed and all had various problems, then perhaps you could logically find fault in the OS. In this case, it clearly is an issue that specific piece of hardware.



  • @KenW said:

    Let's see... Intel screwed up their driver or device so that it was misidentified as a Hauppage WinTV card, and this means that Microsoft's OS has a problem.

    Riiight.

    Sounds right to me. Windows crashed, therefore Windows has a problem. The fact that it was misidentifying a webcam at the time is neither here nor there.



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    Let's see... Intel screwed up their driver or device so that it was misidentified as a Hauppage WinTV card, and this means that Microsoft's OS has a problem.

    Still a way off living up to the extravagant promises their marketing people made at the time, though, and there really is no excuse for a company with Microsoft's kind of resources not testing just about every product on the market.



  • @_moz said:


    Sounds right to me. Windows crashed, therefore Windows has a problem. The fact that it was misidentifying a webcam at the time is neither here nor there.
    Sounds right to me. A car crashed, therefore the car has a problem. The fact that I was driving it while drunk and blindfolded is neither here nor there.



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    Trouble was that Win95 OSR2 included drivers for something called "Hauppauge WinTV", which for some reason would identify the Intel card as a "Hauppauge WinTV" instead of an "Unknown Device". Needless to say, Windows crashed right after "detecting" the new hardware.

    That card was most likely based on the same chip as Hauppage, and Windows contained a generic driver for that chip (based on PCI vendor and product ID). Looks like the card was somewhat different in some regard, and the generic driver was not good.

     



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    Trouble was that Win95 OSR2 included drivers for something called "Hauppauge WinTV", which for some reason would identify the Intel card as a "Hauppauge WinTV" instead of an "Unknown Device". Needless to say, Windows crashed right after "detecting" the new hardware.

    cd \

    cd windows\inf

    find "Hauppauge" *.inf | more

    del  xxxx.inf

     


     


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