When you install a device driver on a Windows XP machine,
the operating system loads that driver each time the computer boots regardless
of whether the device is present—unless you specifically uninstall the driver.
This means that drivers from devices that you have long since removed from your
system may be wasting valuable system resources.

Follow these steps to view and remove these unnecessary
device drivers:

  1. Press
    [Windows]+[Break] to bring up the System
    Properties dialog box.
  2. Select
    the Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button.
  3. Click
    the New button below the System Variables panel.
  4. In the
    New System Variable dialog box, type devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices
    in the Variable Name text box and 1 in the Variable Value text box.
  5. Click
    OK to return to the System Properties dialog box and then click OK again.
  6. Select
    the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button.
  7. In
    Device Manager, go to View | Show Hidden Devices.
  8. Expand
    the various branches in the device tree and look for the washed out icons,
    which indicate unused device drivers.
  9. To
    remove an unused device driver, right-click the icon and select Uninstall.

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