Troubleshooting drivers with XP's hidden Driver Verifier Manager

The next time you need to identify the cause of a driver problem, turn to Windows XP's little-known troubleshooting tool called the Driver Verifier Manager. By going through a few short steps, you'll be able to determine whether the drivers you choose to diagnose are causing the problem.

Microsoft provided Windows XP with several high-profile tools for troubleshooting potential problems with drivers, namely File Signature Verification and Device Manager. However, Windows XP also includes the tool called the Driver Verifier Manager, which is mainly designed for developers but it can provide you with useful information during a troubleshooting operation.

Here's how to use it to troubleshoot a driver problem:

  1. Access the Run dialog box by pressing the [Windows]-R keyboard shortcut.
  2. In the Open text box, type the command Verifier.
  3. On the Select A Task page, leave the default Create Standard Settings as-is.
  4. On the next page, choose the Select Driver Name From A List.
  5. Select the check boxes next to the driver files that you want to verify.
  6. Click Finish and then reboot the system.

If the driver(s) that you selected are causing a problem, the system will halt and display a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) along with an error message. If the selected drivers aren't the cause of the problem, the system will start up normally.

Keep in mind that once you enable the Driver Verifier Manager it stays active until you disable it. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Access the Run dialog box by pressing the [Windows]-R keyboard shortcut.
  2. In the Open text box, type the command Verifier /reset.

Note: For more detailed information about using the Driver Verifier Manager, read the Knowledge Base article Q244617.

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About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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